Lewis Carroll’s birthday was Monday of this week. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, best known by his pen name of Lewis Carroll, was born January 27, 1832. In addition to a writer, he was also a mathematician and a photographer. He wrote over a dozen mathematic books under his real name.
He wrote poems and stories as a child. And in 1856 he gave the editor of The Train magazine a list of pen names for his poem Solitude. From that list the editor chose Lewis Carroll. Chalres Dodgosn came up with the name using Lewis in place of Lutwidge and Carroll in place of Charles.
For his birthday week, I thought I’d pull out the Steampunk Mad Hatter tea party. This is for you Lewis Carroll:the man who brought us the Unbirthday Party.
There was a table set under he pavilion in Houston’s Herman Park and the mad hatter was having tea at it. No sleeping doormouse sat beside him. Plenty of squirrels scurried about the park, which are quite close to mice, but alas he didn’t try to put a squirrel in his teapot.
Along with the mad hatter, I and about forty other Houston area Steampunk enthusiast came to tea.
Including Alice, complete with the white rabbit on her necklace.
We bought teapots and tea cups and, though the Queen of Hearts didn’t make tarts for us, we had yummy cucumber finger sandwiches, luscious blueberry scones, crisp ginger biscuits, grapes, cheese, brownies, and more. We even had a fancy parasol center piece and a Steampunk sign. Though it was a lovely day the pavilion offered nice shade. It was much like standing under a large mushroom.
Though Alice was curious about the March hare’s watch, which didn’t keep time but told the year, here in the 21st century many of us have watches which do both, but we didn’t spread the best butter on ours or dunk them in our tea like Lewis Carroll’s march hare did. Still we had a great time drinking our tea.
The day was gorgeous and every time the little train in the park went by all the riders, parents and children, waved at us.
We smoked the hookah like Lewis Carroll’s large blue caterpillar and we played croquet like the Queen of Hearts court.
There were no cries of off with your head from the Queen but my croquet ball was smacked out by other balls several times. We used regular wire wickets, not soldiers doubled up and standing on their hands and feet to make the arches as they did at the Queen of Hearts’ croquet game. We also didn’t have to try to manage live flamingos for mallets or live hedgehogs for balls.
Which is fortunate, as the chief difficulty of using a flamingo as a mallet is by the time you get its neck straightened out it twist itself round and looks up in your face with a puzzled expression. And the hedgehogs have a habit of unrolling themselves and crawling away.
Of course in Wonderland it is always time for tea since the mad hatter quarreled with Time last March it stays at six o’clock, but our tea party ran until 4 o’clock. Though somewhat sad, it’s good it came to an end so we could take our teapots and teacups home and wash them out rather than moving all the tea-things around as they get used up like the mad hatter, march hare and the doormouse did. After all, they couldn’t find time to wash them when it’s always tea time.
I had such a pleasant day at the Mad Hatter tea party, I half believe I went to Wonderland rather than Herman park. I wish you could have been with us Lewis Carroll…and Happy Birthday.
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Maeve Alpin, who also writes as Cornelia Amiri, is the author of 19 books. She creates stories with kilts, corsets, fantasy and happy endings. Her latest Steampunk/Romance is Conquistadors In Outer Space. She lives in Houston Texas with her son, granddaughter, and her cat, Severus.