Bicentennial High Afternoon Literary Tea at Pocahontas Libraries

As part of the year-long Bicentennial celebration in Pocahontas, there are many events that encourage audience participation.  Two of those events are coming on May 14th and 21st.  On Saturday May 14th, the Green Bank Library will host a High Afternoon Literary Tea from 2 to 4pm.  On May 21st, a similar tea will be hosted by the Hillsboro Library from 2 to 4pm.   Helena Gondry, a Pocahontas writer and performer is the organizer behind the teas.

“The afternoon tea has several themes going through it, it’s sort of like weaving a fine piece of embroidery. What I’m trying to do is pay tribute to the heritage of Pocahontas County by having the stories of the people who have lived here and their ancestors for a very long time, talk a little bit about their pioneering spirit and the legacy they have left behind; whether in terms of talents or skills or actual mementos and artifacts. I’m hoping that people will share their stories so that we don’t forget about our heritage.”

“What it is like to really take that brave step forward into a new life. They may have left behind oppression, they may have left behind their memories of a homeland.  But they looked ahead also to opportunity, perhaps a better life for their family, perhaps just an adventure to somewhere new.”

The tea will also include readings from West Virginia Poet Laureate Louise McNeill Pease. The idea of holding an afternoon tea comes from Gondry’s own background.

“I come from Canada originally, and I picked up the routine or the wonderful change in the rhythm of the day at 4 o’clock when the tea was traditionally served. That was such a delightful time where the day has reached a peak, and we’re going to a different rhythm and taking a time to pause before evening time. We are so busy during the day with a great to-do list and a tea seems to do it. Especially if you put hot buttery biscuits or scones or some other sweet little morsel with it – what could be more delightful than that.”

The Seneca Woodlands Women’s group will assist and help provide refreshments at the Green Bank library event.  The Hillsboro library will be assisted by the Friends of the Hillsboro library group.   Gondry says attendees are welcome to share their family history through poetry, prose or remembrance.

“Some people like to bring a memento of what their grandma or their grandpa made. So you might have a special doily or a family quilt.  So we’ll sort of curate a kind of display of all these cherished artifacts.  There might be some letters that have been saved and they wouldn’t mind sharing that.”

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Gondry will be unable to attend the teas.  She is immensely sad about that, but hopes that residents and visitors to Pocahontas will come out for an enjoyable afternoon of tea, coffee and sweets to share family joys and sorrows.


Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

Current Weather