Have you ever attended a soiree? This is pronounced "swaray," according to the Webster's dictionary. Yes, I still go to the dictionary to look up words.
This was a fancy, evening party sponsored by the Jefferson County Farm Bureau promotion and education committee at the Zalenski Family Eatery & Pub and called a Rural-Urban Soiree for women from the farm area and city.
It was a dressy affair with ladies in fancy hats, gloves and some even in capes and stoles.
Ruth Deam, Jean Golladay and Sandra Boyd model some of Joann Ramsey’s hats.
Joann Ramsey, left, and Mary Ellen Grafton, soiree chairman, share stories of their hat collections. The one worn by Mary Ellen was worn to her wedding by her grandmother.
Virginia Young models a fur stole and hat that were the rage in the 1940s and 1950s. She came to the soiree wearing a black hat from 1938 that was the oldest at the party.
Jeanne Roberts holds up the hoop skirt that went under the Victorian dress of the 1890s.
Molly Snider, left, of the Tappan Lake area and Joy Clements of Wintersville wore hats inherited by Joy’s mother, Mary Ellen Grafton.
Joann Ramsey had some of her hats on display and even allowed those who did not come with a chapeau to borrow one for the evening.
Mary Ellen Grafton, promotion and education coordinator, wore a hat belonging to her grandmother and brought some other hats from the past. Some were purchased at Kaufmann's in Pittsburgh and were still in the fancy boxes.
Mary Ellen had her daughters, Ellen Swickard, Emily Wood and Joy Clements, at the soiree. Molly Snider of the Tappan Lake area was with Joy, and each daughter wore a hat belonging to Mary Ellen.
Ruth Deam, mother of Michele Specht, Farm Bureau director for Jefferson, Harrison, Tuscarawas and Carroll counties, was with her daughter and was selected to model the bridal dress of the early 1900s brought by the speaker Shirley Griffin, who showed fashions from the late 1800s up to the 1980s.
Janene Smith, who is usually wearing two or three hats in her position as the farm bureau administration secretary, was not wearing a hat. She received a gift of appreciation from the committee for Secretary's Day. Jeanne Roberts and Joy Clements were helping Griffin, the speaker on "Clothing from the Past," remove the lovely old clothing from the three models.
Griffin showed a night cap, a bedtime staple of the 1890s due to women only bathing and washing their hair twice a year - before and after winter. To keep their hair in style, they would add lard and flour, and this was a big attraction to mice who wanted to nest there, hence the use of the cap.
She took the women from Victorian times through the 1980s in fashions.
I modeled the maroon velvet, black-lace-trim dress. The outfit started with pantaloons, a lacy camisole, crenoline, hoop skirt that stood out about 2 feet and the dress. Included was an antique cameo on a velvet ribbon, a pair of black gloves and a string purse containing another pair of black gloves, in the event those became soiled. You never extended your hand to be introduced with a soiled glove, she noted.
She dressed Ruth Deam in a white lace trimmed bridal gown of the early 1900s, along with a veil. Tiny Amy Hajny became a flapper with turned down hose, a chiffon shift dress and a long string of pearls used for twirling. She even showed young Amy the steps to the Charleston.
Virginia "Ginni" Young showed off Griffin's fur stole and matching hat. This is something every stylish lady of the 1940s and 1950s would wear to dinner and plays. Ginni came to the soiree wearing a black hat that Griffin determined to be the oldest at the party. She told how Ginni was wearing it perfect for her age, with the veil right above the eyebrows. Those recently widowed would wear the veil further down on the face.
Griffin read a poem to close her program about "100 years from now," asking what it would matter if you owned 200 acres of farm land or just a broken down plow and clothes that were patched? Or lived in a mansion or a tiny cottage at one time?
Marian Houser wore one of Ruby Grime's hats, a black picture hat trimmed in pink roses. Suzy Crawford wore a Victorian bridal hat, trimmed in pink roses with a long veil in the back. Liz Matthews and Sherri Matthews looked adorable in bright red hats, with Liz wearing matching elbow-length red gloves and Sherri decked out in a hot pink blouse and matching elbow-length hot pink gloves.
Jacqui Haynes wore an original Jackie Kennedy pill box hat, explaining that it was also called a toque. She was renewing acquaintances with Ann Bray and talking to Irene Sabo, someone she thought she knew but found out she only knew people who Irene knew or was related to.
Irene had the largest family present. There was her daughter, Lisa Cline; granddaughter Kaylee Sabo; sister-in-law Connie Hajny; niece, Amy Hajny; and even her grandson, Zachary Cline, who was taking pictures for his mom for the Jefferson County Farm Bureau fair booth.
Marilyn Ford was present, along with Jean Golladay and Sandra Boyd. I met Jean at the Gables Volunteer Recognition Dinner recently. She has dog therapy at the care facility, bringing in a dog for the residents to pet and hug.
Ann Marie Grayzar and Mary Frances Krulcik looked very stylish in their hats, and Jeanne Roberts was wearing a rolled-brim, light blue, straw hat that was her Easter hat as a child.
With the wonderful dinner, informative and stylish program and the fun of the Chinese auction, it was a great soiree, even if some of us can't pronounce it right.
(McCoy, a resident of Smithfield, is a staff columnist and food editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at email@example.com.)