About teas, Emily Post has said, "The major difference between a reception and a tea is one of atmosphere, like the difference in furnishing twin houses. A reception always takes itself seriously. A tea, no matter how formal it pretends to be, is friendly and inviting. We do not go to be impressed or instructed, but to enjoy seeing our friends and to be seen by them."
And Suzanne Marx wanted to see her friends. She's been on the Los Angeles County Grand Jury this year, riding in patrol cars, observing PCP drug raids, sometimes absent from the social scene.
"I decided that the best way to see all my friends, was to have a tea and invite everyone." Thus, out went the pretty Crane invitations with the big red drum and the message, " 'Tis the season to be jolly, Christmas trees, bells and holly!," and 250 lady friends joined her for Holiday Tea at the Bistro Garden.
One thinks of Haviland teacups, white Madeira linens, gleaming silver teapots and gadroon-bordered trays and powdered sugar rum balls as The Tea--in a crowded dining room with chintz curtains and quiet chatter.
This was a different kind of tea--one definitely with the effervescent Suzanne touch, and the very first tea for the Bistro Garden Pavillion. About 17 waiters circulated with trays, serving California vintage Domaine Chandon champagne, dry sherry and Perrier. The tea itself also was served by waiters, offering jasmine, orange, herb and cinnamon varieties in tea bags with hot water from china teapots.
David Jones glamorized the tables with flowers, and the traditions were there on the sweets table: the buche de Noel, the fresh raspberry roll, the raspberry, strawberry and kiwi tarts, the raspberry cheese cake, the apple strudel cake.
Across the way, the finger sandwiches included the traditional watercress and cucumber and the curried egg salad favorites with a salmon mousse and pumpernickel competing with the scones the hostess had called for with Devonshire cream and imported jellies. More than several of the city's slimmest indulged.
"I just love my friends," Mrs. Joseph Marx said. "It means a lot for me to see them," and they were in abundance--Wallis Annenberg, Joan Hotchkis, Maria Hummer McCambridge, Liz Familian, Eleanore Phillips, Bobbie Galpin, Marcia Hobbs, Katherine Price, Robin Parsky, Peggy Parker, Barbro Taper, Patricia Nettleship, Bonnie Green, Gloria Holden, Fran Cey, Judy Carroll, Nancy Livingston, Kay Conrad, Joan Burns, Susie Niven (off to Sun Valley for skiing), Joanne Kozberg, Margaret Carr, Carolyn Caputo, Alyce Williamson, Lois Erburu and Olive Varga.
Ginny Ueberroth, exuding warmth and telling of their family plans for the Caribbean for New Year's, brought along "my new friend." She was Sara Brown, wife of Dr. Bobby Brown of Ft. Worth, president of the American League. Later they were driving back to La Jolla, where Brown and Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth were meeting. Nearby, a trio of Diane Miller, Lynn Evans and Susan Shumway compared Christmas plans, and at another table Caryl Carothers and Mary Ann Mobley Collins, ditto.
In the Big Room, the crunch was heavy. There, Doris Dana and Geri Schabarum, wives of Los Angeles County supervisors, joined Nancy Petersen, Dorie Pinola, Joan Quinn, Judy Ruderman, Margaret Baird, Louise Danielian, Valerie Rigby, Loreen Arbus, Marge Fasman, Regina McConahay-Orr, Lennie Greenberg, Bea Lavery, Mary Jones, Frances Franklin, Ruth Berliner, Ginny Cushman, Barbara Schneider, Joan Seidel, Joan Selwyn, Judi Davidson, Joy Fein, Mary Ann Heidt, Suzy Henney, Lee Howard, Carlotta Keely, Joan Luther, Carolyn Minchin, Terri Childs, Barbara Marcussen, Maggie Russell, Diana Bollero, Pam Clyne, Beverly Job.
Gossip is out at teas, but news is fine. Lady Dodge, who did the nice thing guests do at teas--bring the hostess a present--was exuberant about her appointment to the Statue of Liberty Ellis Island Centennial Commission. Forty-seven will serve: Another is Suzanne Marx (and, more, Ginie Braun and Peter Ueberroth, Jeane Kirkpatrick and Pat Buckley).
When it was time to leave, the hostess had instructed Santa Claus to give each guest a big bag of popcorn.
Few give more teas than college presidents' wives. Last week, Mildred Goldberger, wife of Caltech's president, who tosses her holiday greetings in the most marvelous Imari bowl in her hallway, joined with Dotty Hayman, wife of Caltech Associates president Richard Hayman, to host a tea for Associates women and Caltech faculty women with the help of Joanna Muir, vice president of the Associates.
As expected, it had the academic touch. Mildred could tell you the botanical names for most of the horticultural specimens on the dining room table, and even whisked guests out to the service porch to see the English seeds she was sprouting.