Marion business hosts Victorian tea party

MARION — The fragrance of pink rhododendrons blooming round the door greeted guests Saturday afternoon as they arrived for the highly anticipated third annual Back in Thyme Tea Party hosted by Sally Zoyiopoulos at Out Of The Past, her charming antique store near Marion.

Inside, striking arrangements of deep fuchsia impatiens added to the spring garden setting for tea tables adorned with embroidered linen cloths and napkins, bone china cups with dainty floral patterns and sparkling glass luncheon plates.

More than 20 women from Marion, Evart, Barryton, Sears and neighboring towns gathered for an afternoon celebration of spring, fun and fellowship with friends and relatives, flavorful teas, teatime delicacies and a guest speaker.

It was a family affair for Ruth Ann Stevens from Evart who attended with daughter Renee Marlett also from Evart, sister-in-law Peggy Walters from Sears and family friend Judy Moriarty from Barryton.

Dressed in spring finery, many of the ladies completed their outfits with elegant hats from a bygone era. Retrieved from dusty hat boxes in the dark corners of closets and attics, they were resurrected to proudly display extravagant plumes, flowers and ribbons, if only for an afternoon.

The luncheon featured oolong, green and hibiscus teas, fresh strawberries garnished with cream cheese and yogurt topping, warm fruit compote and freshly baked scones.

Three young ladies served the tea and the luncheon. The servers, all from Marion, were eighth grader Alison Brady, seventh grader Alexus Johnson and eighth grader Lillian Swiler.

Guests also enjoyed a presentation by Betty Wilson from Big Rapids.

Following her program, Wilson fielded an intriguing assortment of questions about personal relationships, family situations, health and wellness, pets, travel, employment issues — even ghosts and other unearthly presences.

Wilson is a practicing intuitive medium. She revealed to the group that she has had her gift for many years and her goal is to use it to help others.

“I believe I have had the gift since birth,” she said, “but have just begun to use it publicly over the last four years.”

Wilson frequently holds sessions called “gatherings,” which are get-togethers in private homes. People ask questions, and she provides information that might help them in the future or give them peace of mind about troubling situations.

She is also available for one-on-one consultations with individuals and presentations at club meetings or other events.

“This is what I’m meant to be doing,” she said, “telling people something that will help them or comfort them.” “There are answers all around us and I can help communicate them.”

“I think all of us were really wondering what a medium would be talking about,” said Peggy Hoard from Marion. “Betty wasn’t your typical kind of speaker you have at most meetings and it was really interesting to hear about her gifts and all the different kinds of questions the ladies asked and how she answered them. It gave us all a lot to think about.”

“This is the second one of Sally’s teas I’ve been to,” said Phyllis Crowe from Marion. “I’ve known Sally a long time and look forward to the teas. They are fun and a great way to kick off the spring season.”

“Tea helps our head and our heart” was the theme of this year’s spring tea and Zoyiopoulos hopes to do it all again next year.

“I’m so happy that the ladies like the teas and want me to continue them,” she said. “I’m really grateful for all the people who help me. It was great to have the girls from Marion here to be the servers and a big thank you to Christie Prielipp, owner of Christie’s Potting Shed and Florist in Marion, for providing the gorgeous floral arrangements.”

For more information about special programs at Out Of The Past and next year’s tea, call Zoyiopoulos at (231) 743-2257. She will be glad to place your name on a mailing list to receive announcements of upcoming events.

Out Of The Past is at 16155 M-115, Marion. The store, which is closed during the winter, reopens on June 1. Business hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays during summer and fall months.