Saturday, June 02, 2012

1943, Paddy reads our tea leaves

Paddy was a Welshman and one of the many British sailors that our family entertained in our home in Wellesley Hills, Ma., during the 2nd World War.

Paddy was also a great story teller and he loved to practice that art by telling our fortunes using the age old method of tea leaves.

Let me set the stage for you. We were a family of 5 girls ranging in age from 10 (me) to my oldest sister, aged 18. We lived in a large 3 story Victorian style house and the inner hallway with the stairs was completely enclosed. This was important because it was 1943, we were in a “brown-out” and no lights were allowed to show at night. It’s where we girls, Paddy and whoever else was there at the time would meet after the sun went down.

My mother had a collection of fancy, unmatched cups & saucers and we’d bring these and a large pot of tea to the hall. We would choose our favorite spot on the staircase, fill our teacups (making sure that we got a good share of the leaves) and sit back in anticipation.

Then, one by one as we finished our tea we’d hand the cup to Paddy. He'd make a great show of turning the cup upside down and twirling it around . When he finally looked at the tea leaves he would express astonishment and wonder at what he saw there. More often than not there’d be a handsome lad and gobs of money!

There was a war raging and those boys knew they would be back in the thick of it soon ... but for a short time that was forgotten as Paddy transported us to a magical place with the aid of a bit of blarney and a cupful of tea leaves.


Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Wonderful post of times that while hard still hold good memories.

5:38 PM  
Blogger Bonnie Jacobs said...

A bit of blarney. Ah, and did I forget to tell you that I speak fluent blarney? Got it from me dad, I did.

6:12 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Paddy was a Welshman,
Paddy was a thief;
Paddy came to my house
And stole a piece of beef.

Actually, I think the rhyme usually names him Taffy, but when you started that way, I couldn't help but look it up because it was in one of the books that I used to read to the kids.

The whole Taffy version of the rhyme is here.

6:55 PM  
Blogger Syd said...

A great story,Ginnie. Do you know where some of these fellows ended up? I wonder whether they kept in touch.

6:00 AM  
Blogger NCmountainwoman said...

What a great idea and such a wonderful memory.

1:18 PM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

I was totally unaware we had British troups here in the states.
Paddy sounds like a delightful guest and a great chance for you to learn of a ways from a country so far away.

3:24 AM  
Blogger possum said...

In Turkey, they read coffee grounds left in your cup of thick Turkish coffee. Never any bad predictions!
Fun post!

5:51 AM  
Anonymous schmidleysscribblins, said...

I don't know if I mentioned it, but our family hosted a set of airmen we met at church, during the Korean War, and later Mom boarded two Korean vets in our big old house. They were attending a local college on the GI bill.

How exciting for you to be 10 years old and have such wonderful exoeriences with a fortune-telling sailor from Britain.

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Big John said...

"Paddy"... A Welshman ?

His "blarney" must have been good if you believed that. :-)

6:06 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

He really knew how to entertain a bevy of girls! I suspect he would have been a wonderful father.

7:19 AM  
Blogger Cazzie!!! said...

I just finished reading a book tonight that tells the story of five young Jewish girls who manage to flee war torn Europe for Israel
Set in 1946, it tells of many trials of the day, but it emphasises friendships that last forever.
I love comibg here Ginnie. you bring smiles and tears to my face xoxo

11:43 AM  
Blogger Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

All those charming young soldiers which you and your sister no doubt say as charming brave men. It appears young Paddy has all that showmanship and blarney that any Irish storyteller would have.

Do you ever know if any or all of the men you billeted survived the war?

5:22 AM  
Blogger ellen said...

What a wonderful memory. It makes me smile from ear to ear.

2:47 PM  
Blogger Haddock said...

Had heard about these tea cup readings earlier also. There must be some truth in it.

9:09 PM  

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