People began arriving about 7:00PM. Wagons and buckboards were the main conveyance of the students and their families. Mr. and Mrs. Throckmorton and their son, Wilfred, walked from their home in town.
Hattie and I were busy taking pies and cakes and arranging them on the food tables. I couldn’t believe all the food that was accumulated. We had apple pies, cherry pies, pumpkin pies, and angel food cake – all kinds of cookies and a few peach cobblers. Hattie was handing out punch, and the Sage Brothers were very helpful in taking coats and putting them on the clothes pegs along the school wall.
Almost all the students and their parents, plus guests, had arrived by 7:15. So, we began the music and dancing. I lost the use of Jonah Sage when Peggy Newcomer arrived. He hovered around her like a bee to a flower and was at her beck and call.
The notable exception to the attendees was the Douglas’s and Daphne. I was beginning to get worried, until they finally arrived at 7:30.
Daphne entered the room with her cousin, Mrs. Douglas and her son William, who we all called Willie. Upon her entrance, the whole room got suddenly quiet. I actually heard some people gasp. I was one of them.
Daphne had on a dark green dress that was sleeveless, but her shoulders were covered demurely with a white shawl. Her raven black hair was combed out straight and hung down to the middle of her back with a small ringlet of hair that fell to her check on each side of her face.
My Heavens! She was the epitome of the Southern Belle, and she put the actress that played Scarlett O’Hara to shame.
I broke the spell by advancing and saying, “Ms. Newcomer, we are certainly glad that you were able to accompany Mrs. Douglas and Willie to our celebration tonight.”
She proffered her hand and replied with a twinkle in her eye, “I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”
I took her hand bowed over it and bowed to Mrs. Douglas. Both inclined their head to me. Then I asked, “May I get you some refreshments?” Both ladies said yes.
As the saying goes, this broke the ice and everyone began eating and dancing again. Some of the ladies began to gather in little groups, no doubt, to discuss what Daphne was wearing.
Then Mrs. Douglas said, “I brought some refreshments, too. Where would you like them?”
A black male servant entered the room with a large crock of liquid, and two female black servants each brought in a large three layer chocolate cake. This brought another gasp from the assembly.
What ensued took me by surprise. Everyone began clapping. Apparently Chocolate Cake is a great delicacy in this day and time.