Monday, November 12, 2018

Tales From The Tea Shop...The Magic of Scent Memory,

Welcome to Tales From The Tea Shop...
I have begun collecting stories from my customers, in the Tea Shop and wanted to share them with you. I believe there is Magic in the tea shop and some of that Magic is what I wish to share with all of you.  Above is a photo I took in the shop on Halloween.  For those of you who may be new to my blog, I work at a Tea Shop called Murchie's and I love it.  I love the atmosphere, the customers and the location. Here is just a bit of why....

In the absence of memory recall, desire and scent memory are stronger than dementia.....

On Monday afternoon at the Tea Shop, I had a lull in customers, I was tidying and straightening the shop, when the automatic button to the front door was pushed, the door chimed signalling the arrival of a new customer. I greeted the lady as she struggled with her walker to come through the door. Over the threshold she came, unsteadily into the shop. She took a deep breath and smiled. I welcomed her and offered her a sip of one of the two teas we had on sample. She lowered the seat on her walker and made herself comfortable as I presented her with the sample cup.

"I don't know if you can help me, but my memory is not kind and I have the beginning stages of dementia. I was just moved to an assisted living facility and I am not sure how much longer I will be able to come out on my own, I nodded gently to her and offered any help I could give her.
" I am desperately searching for a tea I had as a young woman, I don't remember the name of it, but I think it is grown on a high mountain and I would love to find that tea again."
I told her how I loved a challenge and asked her to make herself comfortable while I brought over some of our tea tins. I was determined to find her the tea she was looking for.
I started with our Ceylon Tea, bringing it to her and with shaking hands she reached for the tea tin, inhaled and shook her head, "No that is not it",
I then went for our Keemun tea, presented her the tin and again she accepted it, took a deep breath and shook her head, "Not it either but I think closer some how."

Undeterred I had an idea and grabbed our Murchie's Afternoon Blend, I passed her the tea tin and again she accepted it, took a deep breath and looked at me, "This is not it but I think it is in here!" She smiled then said " Oh is this pointless?" I assured her it was not and picked the fourth and final tin from the shelf confident that had found her tea. I presented her with our Darjeeling Finest Tea Tin, again we repeated our now set routine, She took a deep breath, and then another, this time she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said "That's it!"
She began to tell me her story with a tear escaping from her now sparkling eyes. "My mother took me when I was quite a young girl to a very Fancy Tea Store like this, I was so impressed that they new my mother by name and my mother and I sat and had tea, she ordered me this tea and I felt quite grown up, until I tried to add milk to my cup and my mother corrected me! She was adamant that I have the tea without the milk, she said 'You will lose the flavor of this beautiful tea leaf!' So I have drank my tea black all these years. What is this tea called please?"

I told her it was our Darjeeling Finest Blend Tea and she said "Now I remember, Darjeeling!"
"I would like to buy some of this tea, I don't have a kitchen anymore but I do have a kettle and pot in my room, the tea they have is dreadful."
I went to our tea wall and pulled the sampler pack of 10 down for her and brought it to our counter. She fussed with her purse and then paused, "Oh no, I just realized a tea like this is going to be very expensive! I assured her she had nothing to worry about and that our sampler packages of 10 were $4.75, she was more than thrilled and took out her purse to count out her money. When the purchase was rung through and the deal complete I offered her a bag for her tea and she responded by saying "No dear thank you, I should like to hold this close, in my own hands. She thanked me for my help and as she made her way to the door, she turned, smiled and said, "Thank you, you have made me very happy, I am going to go now and fix myself a proper pot of tea"

She was one of many customers I had that day, but one that stuck out for me as a true gem. There is magic in this tea shop, I watched as the very sent of our Darjeeling tea transformed my aging customer, into a young woman, through the sent of the tea, she was transported back to a happier time, one she could vividly share and remember. This touched me, in a way that will stay with me and I hope you. Her memory might be going but her sent memory is strong, and now with each sip of her tea, it lives again.

Thank you for joining me here for a cup of tea and a tale from the tea shop. I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at