Dining with Mrs Fox

[blockquote]Story submitted by Kathie Blakeslee[/blockquote]

Interesting story regarding the Fox family. My great aunt, Mae (Hopper) Defibaugh told me about living in Foxburg when she was a child. She was born in 1898 so she would have graduated from 8th grade around 1911.

Mrs. Fox had a tradition of inviting all the 8th grade girls for lunch at the mansion. My aunt was so excited and nervous. As they arrive at the mansion each girl dressed in their Sunday best is presented to Mrs. Fox and escorted into the formal dining room. They sat down and looked at their place settings. Each place setting had a card with their name. There were three plates, a little bowl with water, two glasses and several forks, spoons, and knives. All the girls were horrified and hadn’t a clue what to do with anything, especially that little bowl of water. Was it some kind of soup? Were they supposed to drink from the bowl? What was it for? Mrs. Fox smiled, rang a little bell and the servants began to serve lunch. The first thing Mrs. Fox did was dip her fingers in the bowl and use her napkin to wipe her hands. Ah, it was a bowl of water to clean your hands. The girls were amazed; so that was what you did with the bowls. Not one of the girls guessed the bowls were for washing. As each course was served, Mrs. Fox picked up the correct utensil, raised it high enough for all the girls to see so they knew what to do. Big sigh of relief for all the girls and they had a marvelous afternoon.

Pretty heady stuff for a group of small town/farm girls. My aunt always got a kick telling that story, especially about the finger bowls. According to my aunt the girls were pretty “full” of themselves and thought they were high society for a short time.