Experiences, observations, opinions, etc.

My Own Delightful Experience of the Day

August 25, 2016

After recently receiving the (May/June) Newsletter published by our local, JASNA Region, I had the pleasure of reading Miss (Donna Elizabeth) Bennett' s Perspective. This is a beautiful rendition of her experience at our Special Event A DAY with JANE AUSTEN and AN EVENING with JANE AUSTEN.  The event was held on February 27th, 2016 at the Glendale Women's Club, an impressive meeting house in Glendale AZ.   Glendale is a charming unique historic city in the Greater Phoenix area.  Glendale's green Town Square is surrounded by historic buildings used as antique shops, charming retail stores, eateries, et.al.  The city is also known for. Cerritos Candy Company, horse and buggy rides and Christmas celebrations.


Miss Bennett’s Perspective has inspired me to share my own delightful experience of the day. For me, the day was much like a kid in a candy store experience.  We were kept busy throughout the day, so that at times our heads were spinning. My writing is not as lyrical as Miss Bennett's, but I would like to impart to anyone interested, a bit more information.


Before I delve into the day’s activities, I would like to say that we are a very fortunate and busy community of Janeites, even though we are only a few years old.  Our general membership and active Board members live throughout the state of Arizona, from the northern and central part of the state as well as the Greater Phoenix area.  Our Region is guided by a very special group of people whose charm, dedication, devotion and creativity have made this and many other activities and events possible as well as successful.


Most of our Officers and Board members are heavily involved in the success of our Region which was formed only a few years ago by Lady Diane Gorham, our Regional Coordinator. 


Every year Lady Sylvia Hom, mentioned earlier by Miss Bennett, hosts our Jane Austen Birthday Tea in her beautiful home.


Lady Paula Heil, also mentioned earlier, is a fireball of energy and works tirelessly as our Special Events Coordinator, which included a Jane Austen Cruise in the last year or two. The saying "if you want to get something done, give it to a busy person" fits Paula like a Glove, but she acknowledges loving it.


I won't list all of the Officers and active Board Members but must acknowledge how important they all are to our organization.  While the success of our group mostly lies in their capable hands, we also have some members who possess special skills and knowledge and have generously shared them with us.


Back to the day…

CRAVAT TYING: I agree with Miss Bennett that the cravat tying activity was a hit!  I would just add that we were each provided with a sample cravat plus a visual guide showing step by step directions to tying our Cravats, while Mr. Hesley faced us and described his steps as he tied his own Cravat;

Over, Under, Around and Through while attempting to properly dress the neck. Some of us stumbled (me) while others were quite successful. 


INVENTING AN ALTERNATIVE JANE,  The Jane Austen Mystery Series.

Guest Speaker/ Author Stephanie Barron. Ms. Barron writes a series of historical mysteries where Jane Austen is an amateur detective. To my complete surprise miss Barron announced that she also writes mysteries under a second pen name:  Francine Matthews. Francine has written over 20 novels.  She mentioned one in particular, which I had read and enjoyed a couple of years ago.  Jack 1939.  In another blogpost, I will write a short synopsis of this book!


TEA with JANE AUSTEN, Author and Speaker Kim Wilson with Morning Tea.

Miss Bennett mentioned how she coveted the book Tea with Jane Austen and then was presented the book as a gift!

Kim Wilson speaks to groups around the country, about a variety of topics, including tea, the history of tea, the history of gardening, and the author Jane Austen.  In Jane's Chawton home she was in charge of the teas.  She held the key to the tea cabinet and prepared teas which were quite expensive at the time. This book contains anecdotes and references to teas taken in the novels. Mrs. Wilson also brought her other books related to Jane Austen and her times, At Home with Jane Austen and In the Garden with Jane Austen.


DRESSING MR. KNIGHTLY, presented by Lady Diane Gorham and featuring Mr. Shawn Gorham as Mr. Knightly.

Mr. Gorham cut quite the fine figure in modeling as Mr. Knightly, as well described in " Miss Bennett’s Perspective."


It is hard to imagine how the ladies and gentlemen of Jane's times could have gotten along without their maids and valets.  I doubt that they could even have started their days.  Our Mr. Knightly and we were very fortunate that Mr. Hesley stepped in as valet.  Together the gentlemen made the dressing of layer after layer of clothing, boots, hat, and coats seem fairly effortless.  We all are very fortunate that Lady Gorham is such an excellent seamstress and Regency fashion expert and designer.  She has made many of the gowns and dresses for our members, not to mention the beautiful bonnets she makes and designs.  She is a woman of many great talents.




I was unable to attend the Ball, but can guarantee that it was a wonderful success, just as was the entire day.   I have seen the ladies and gentlemen in their finery at former events and I have been to dances called by Lady Hesley, an excellent dance mistress.


We would welcome anyone interested in Jane Austen or the JASNA group to join us.  We enjoy many educational exciting and fun activities and events.  We invite you to check us out or join us.  Members are welcome to participate as much or as little as pleases them.


Check our website for a calendar of events


Thank you for reading!




Miss Bennett’s Perspective - Reissued

August 21, 2016

This article was originally published in our newsletter and has now been moved her for you reading pleasure...

Miss Bennett’s Perspective

Where shall I begin? I hardly know what to write! My dear friends, to say that the Day with Jane Austen was a grand occasion would be a complete underestimation worthy of disapproval from all of my fellows! But, I still have great difficulty finding the words to describe such an event!

Between the accomplished ladies and dashing gentlemen who attended, t...

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Pride & Prejudice and Zombies Review

February 16, 2016
Here's a review of P&P&Zombies, by one of our own, Renate Estrada. Thx, Renate!

As a lover of history, especially the extended Regency era, and classic literature, especially Jane Austen, I had reservations about my excitement for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I attempted to read the novel when it first came out, as I enjoy the zombie genre, but was disappointed by the author’s handling of the original material. The book seemed to me awkwardly disjointed, written by someone unfamiliar wit...

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JASNA Greater PHX and The New Woman's Jane Austen

October 26, 2013

On October 18, 2013, Arizona State University Professor and author Dr. Devoney Looser treated JASNA-Greater Phoenix members, students and alumni with an afternoon lecture, The New Woman’s Jane Austen.  Dr. Looser provided the audience with a wonderful look back at proponent and activist use of Jane Austen and her characters to support progressive political arguments in the late nineteenth-century “New Woman” movement.  Austen’s writings and image were popular on the amateur and prof...

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The Brilliance of an Unclouded Night: Popular Astronomy in the Regency Era

April 19, 2013

Under the brilliancy of an unclouded afternoon, members of all three Arizona JASNA chapters were fortunate to attend a presentation provided by James Ashley, a postdoctoral fellow at the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera Science Operations Center of Arizona State University.  Inside the beautiful Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix, members sipped and nibbled on light refreshments while their minds were blasted into areas beyond their time and reach.

Dr.  Ashley read aloud sections of ...

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"How did Jane Austen enter your life?" (Response to Aug 10th blog post).

September 5, 2012

I can't remember what started my reading of JA's books.  Perhaps it was a high school assignment, or perhaps I came upon them while haunting the local library.  In any case I'm pretty sure I read Pride and Prejudice first, in my early to mid-teens.  Throughout high school and college I absorbed each of her other books, relishing them all for various reasons.


 In the years since, of course, I have reread the books many times, most notably in the quiet dark while breast-feeding my firstbo...

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JASNA Greater PHX Bonnet Workshop

August 20, 2012

August 4, 2012

 ``Look here, I have bought this bonnet. I do not think it is very pretty; but I thought I might as well buy it as not. I shall pull it to pieces as soon as I get home, and see if I can make it up any better.'' ~ Lydia, Pride and Prejudice

Here is proof that our straw hats were made up better indeed!! We had a great time at the Bonnet Workshop, trimming our bonnets and enjoying each others’ company. We’ll be wearing them at the Jane Austen Day November 4th !

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More about Oxford

August 14, 2012


         While studying at Oxford, our class took a day long field trip to Winchester.  This included a stop at the church grounds where Jane Austen’s mother and sister, Cassandra, are buried. Their headstones are in the small burial ground off to the side of the church.  It was a beautiful English country setting in July 2008.  My parents had recently passed away and I felt a connection to these two Austen family members though together, were...

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How did Jane Austen enter your life?

August 10, 2012
How did Jane Austen enter our lives, and how has she affected us?

Each of us has a unique story about how we came to be Jane Austen fans, and why. Her contribution to literature has been far reaching and varied.  She touches each of us differently. Read on to have a glimpse into a JASNA member's journey to becoming a Janeite...


Since becoming interested in Jane Austen and joining JASNA I have met some fascinating and impressive people.  Some have several entire collections of dive...

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Persuasion Film Discussion June 16, 2012

June 18, 2012

Yesterday we had the most delightful time discussing Jane Austen’s last completed novel, Persuasion.

Sixteen Janeites in one room, talking about the beloved author and her most mature love story, how else can it be described but sublime!

Kate Henderson did a marvelous job bringing it all together and enlightening us with some well thought out points. Everyone participated in the discussion and it was quite lively!

Sherry Moore was our tech geek and showed us a great assortment of cli...

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Film discussion pics

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