A Venerable Party
It so happened, but not accidentally; that a rare assemblage of venerable ladies met on the 2d inst. [this month], by special in- (sic) of Mrs. Weston, the honored mother of Professor J.B., at the hospitable home of Mrs. Maria G. Bell, situated on the banks of the beautiful Miami, overlooking as fertile and picturesque a valley as can be found in all the gentle meanderings of that lovely stream. What was peculiar, and very unusual in the unique and venerable gathering, was the fact that not one of the number hesitated to give their exact age, and while three of the eight persons present averaged over 81 years, the whole consolidated as to time had passed their 75th year.
It was a jolly, good meeting and all enjoyed it for its singularity and richness of associations of the long time time (sic) ago. But only two of the masculine gender were invited, Professor Weston and the writer, as it seemed necessary and fitting that some young men should be on hand to do the honors of the table, and render any other needful assistance when called upon. And to every outside observer, who should happen to look upon the bountiful repast, so invitingly set before us, it would not seem out of place, that two at least had been provided, to appropriately distribute the requisite allotment of the rich viands [a very choice or delicious dish] so temptingly luscious to each in due season. Well now, if any of you think that because this was an old folks party, there were no lively times, fun and frolic, let me say, you will count without your host; for the treasured memories of those who had attained their three score and ten years and upward, having passed through a long period of life’s checkered scenes, were well supplied with thrilling stories and with anecdotes; and frequently startling the more quiet and sedate by their quick and telling repartees, thus rendering their society both interesting and instructive, and at the same time very amusing. After full justice had been done to the feast of good things so liberally provided by the generous hostess, there was naturally a condition of self-satisfaction and a flow of soul, such as these worthy dames knew well how to indulge. As yet, their names have been withheld, but perhaps for future reference as well as to gratify present curiosity they will now be given. Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Weston, Mrs. Kershner, Miss Sexton, Mrs. Hyde, Mrs. Hume, Mrs. Goldbury, and Mrs. Oaks. It happened very opportunely that Mr. and Miss Casey, his sister, an accomplished pianist, came upon the scene just in time, and it was suggested that the company should be entertained by both vocal and instrumental music. Then to the great gratification and pleasure of all present there stepped forward several of the octogenarians and some of their pioneer sisters of more than three score and ten, and with a zest and earnestness accompanied by the sweet and inspiring strains of the skilled performers, they made the house resound with such old time songs as Coronation, Old Hundred and St. Martin’s, that reminded us of the days of our boyhood and made us feel that the spirit and joyousness of life’s freshness need not necessarily die out while the bodily is still with us. Here the property of calling in Professor Weston and the writer as helpmates for the occasion was manifest, for the former is never more in his element than when as chorister he unites in songs of praise, and the latter when quietly enjoying the music and the rare scene before him, cogitating how best to present them in printed form for the distant reader. It may as well be stated that there were some younger dames among the number who did not give in their ages, but added much to the general interest of the festivity and were useful in their kind attentions to their elder sisters. These were Mrs. William Anderson, Mrs. Gilmore, Mrs. W. Mills, Mrs. Hyde, jr., and Mrs Burns, sister of the Professor. It must not be omitted that Mr. David Bell, brother of Mrs. M. G. Bell, acted the gallant in escorting several of the ladies to and from this long to be remembered birthday fete. After singing the Doxology in a spirited manner, we all thanked the kind hearted hostess for this rare and delightful entertainment, wishing that her days may be long in her elegant home, and that she may celebrate her centennial anniversary as the mistress of “Bell” Mede.
Yellow Springs, April 5, 1879