Two Lynners hope to make Mother’s Day High Tea Gala a new city tradition

Marcia Chrysostom, left, and Menervia Akers, are planning a High Tea Gala at the Lynn Museum to recognize and honor mothers in the Lynn community for Mother's Day. (Spenser R. Hasak)

LYNN — We all know that a mother’s hug lasts long after she lets go…forever even. If you haven’t yet made Mother’s Day plans to thank her for all she’s done and meant to you, here’s a unique idea.

Get the family together for a festive High Tea party.

Two Lynners, Marcia Chrysostom and Menervia Akers, will host the first High Tea Gala in the spacious outdoor garden and indoor gallery at Lynn Museum on May 12, the day before the holiday itself, from 2 to 5 p.m.

“I’ve wanted to do this for a long time,” said Akers, a creative soul who tested out her culinary concept at a “welcome home party” when her mom, Mary, moved into Wall Towers.

Chrysostom, a mother of two sons, is retired from Verizon, where she started “back in the days when it was the telephone company.” She moved to Lynn 44 years ago from Trinidad and Tobago. She said she and her husband Marvin Flemming and the Akers family have been friends for all that time.

“When Menervia came to me with this High Tea concept, I thought it was wonderful and fun, and said ‘Yes, let’s do it’ right away,” said Chrysostom, stunning in a light green ensemble and her glittery makeup just-so.

At the High Tea Gala, moms will get a kick from sipping champagne and tea, and indulging in sweet and savory food (shrimp, cheese and crackers, fruit, finger sandwiches, deviled eggs, salad, mini-pastries). Ms. Smith and the Scoops and Julio Bare will provide mood music on cellos and acoustic guitar. Darrell Murkison will be master of ceremonies. A mother of the year award will be presented and a photo/selfie station will be set up.

Akers, looking gorgeous in a black-and-white outfit and festive Derby-worthy fascinator, suggests partygoers wear swell-egent “Sunday best/smart casual. Spring looks for the ladies: floral print sheath dress or pant suit, a wide brim hat or fascinator. To feel extra fancy, dust off your pearls and dig out grandma’s white gloves.”

For the gents—yes, men are invited; children too—Akers recommends a suit and fedora hat. Leave the ballcap at home. A his & her hat parade will be held just before tea and dessert are served.

OK guys, I can hear you already: “I ain’t going to any tea party.” Lighten up. This is a swanky affair, and what’s better than spending an afternoon with your mom and family?

“It will be a fun day,” said Akers, a Classical High grad and former DSS employee. She also earns a living as a milliner, self-taught, under the Menervia brand name. “I’ve always loved fashion, and the hat-making tapped into my creative side, the direct opposite of my difficult job as a social worker.”

There are two prevailing theories on the origin of the British tradition of High Tea. One says it began in the mid- 1700s as a late-afternoon meal for the working man, taken standing up or sitting on tall stools, thus ‘high’ tea, with cakes, scones, even cheese on toast being served.

Another theory says credit for the custom goes to Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford in the early 19th century. The usual habit of serving dinner between 8 and 9 p.m. left the duchess hungry and with a “sinking feeling” by late afternoon. To stave off the hunger, she would order tea, bread and butter, and cakes to be served in her room.

Later on, she would invite friends to join her at her home and the light tea was such a success the habit caught on.

Akers and Chrysostom hope to start a new Lynn tradition of their own on May 12.

“The concept was created to bring more social events to Lynn, a community we love,” said Akers. “Good things are happening in Lynn, especially downtown. There are some excellent restaurants here, and now, with this High Tea Gala, there’s really no need to leave the community to dine.”


High Tea at Lynn Museum, 590 Washington St., May 12, 2 p.m. Please send $25 per person (check or money order, payable to Marcia Chrysostom) to Marcia Chrysostrom, 20 Webster St., Lynn, MA 01901. Deadline is May 6. Tickets will not be available at the door. For additional information, to register, or to nominate your mom for “Mother of the Year”, call 781-593-4232 or contact

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