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Repnow: Tables Envisioned a sight for everyone

By Staff | Jul 18, 2014

Need a boost of courage, a dose of beauty and interest, or just another reason to nourish your fondness for dishes? If so, there is an event you won’t want to miss. It is the Rugby Lions Club’s Tables Envisioned. This year marks the seventh time the Rugby Lions Club has hosted this event and over 200 unique, charming, elegant, interesting and treasured tables have been displayed.

Tables Envisioned came about when I served as our club president. Heart of America Library Board member Wanda Nielsen, asked if the Lions Club could help generate money for the much needed elevator. When one is asked – or even challenged – to come up with a fundraising idea and you want it to be successful, it is best to think of an idea for which you have always had an interest. I crossed off my list the following: basketball and golf tournaments, antique car shows, raffles, turtle races and spark plug changing seminars, not because they were not worthy but rather that my knowledge in these areas was narrow. Remaining on the list was glassware and dish collecting and my admiration of Amelia Earhart.

Many folks identify with collecting glassware, pottery, dinnerware and even china. (Many of them outbid me at auction sales!) I also knew that my endless passion and knowledge of collecting would be greatly needed to encourage others for this first liftoff.

After many phone calls, and even begging, I had gathered enough adventurous souls to display their collections.

Our takeoff was smooth and the Rugby Lions Club has been flying high with this fundraiser thanks to the horsepower of many presenters. Monies raised have been presented to the Heart of America Library aiding them in purchasing a magnified reading machine, contributing to the elevator fund, and purchasing large print books. We have also contributed money to the Lions Eye Bank of North Dakota in Bismarck and works to recover corneas from donors for transplants.

This year marks the first time we have had a table displayed by a centenarian. Bernice Hilzendager will be a delightful and very charming 100 years young. With the help of her daughter, Vicky Harmel, she is displaying her family china and flatware. I had the honor of spending a couple of hours with both of them recently in the attractive dining room of Vicky’s notable home.

Bernice, young in her manner, visits with her lively red nail polish, hip glasses and a flattering young cut white chic jacket. On display was the Tielsch Altwasser china which was made in Poland. Bernice had purchased this china with the encouragement of a friend from Rugby Furniture, and recalls the set was not real expensive. The pattern is one of elegance and has detailed vivid pink roses, smaller blue flowers, and even a hint of violet with polite leaves that could easily be at rest on a backyard trellis. This garden of flowers is displayed on ivory china trimmed in roman gold and presents itself in a warm and inviting manner with attractive cream soup bowls as part of each place setting.

Bernice and her late husband, John, were married in 1934 and celebrated 72 years of marriage. Their cozy Cape Cod style home with brick front and louvered picture window awning was a place of generous entertainment.

Bernice mentioned that most people did not have money to be dining out in restaurants so home entertaining was a must. She recalls that many times John would call in later afternoon and mention that he had invited guests over for supper. Bernice smartly put together a flavorsome meal and nice set an attractive table. Her table was often adorned with a dusky pink textured tablecloth which had been enhanced with a gleaming silver stripe and matching napkins. In addition to this entertaining, Bernice and John enjoyed hosting card parities and family gathering. Vicky recalls, and still today enjoys, when her mother makes delicious roast beef in her special baking pan and then slices it to perfection.

In time, Bernice purchased Westmorland Sterling in the detailed pattern of Milburn Rose. Bernice smiled as she said, “I feel lucky to have purchased this nice sterling and have used it various times. I know that Vicky also is fond of this flatware.”

The pattern is richly ornate and embodies the spirit and flavor of the English Renaissance, the period of the rebirth of beauty and culture. How suitable that this pattern has been displayed countless times in a Rugby Cape Cod home next to china that echoes the rose motif.

This is the beauty of the Rugby Lions Club’s Tables Envisioned. It reveals the stories connected to valued dishes in our community and beyond. This year’s show will be held Wednesday, July 30, through Friday, Aug. 1, at the Heart of America Library during regular hours.

Another added feature to the show this year will be a table presented by Immediate Past 5 NE District Lion Gov. Katherine Tweed, of Fargo. Her table will feature her mother’s china, Suzanne by Syracuse, in the federal shape. Tweed was impressed with this fundraiser when she visited the Rugby Lions Club, and she is on the path to downsizing. She feels this is a thoughtful tribute to these noteworthy family dishes before they depart her cupboard.

Her dishes have a tri-family connection as her mother, Ruth Kraft, and Katherine’s two great aunts, Emma Dillon and Georgia Kraft, all purchased this same pattern. It has a fetching summery chintz pattern that features genteel leafs, three flowers, a pink rosebud, a blue forget-me-not and the very interesting yellow foxglove all on a rich ivory background. It will be up to you to guess which flower each of these ladies cherished.

There will even be a table that Amelia Earhart would appreciate. Come and see the incredible variety! Your attendance will aid the worthy causes the Rugby Lions Club supports.

As many of you know, I am not a fan of chocolate bars making a demanding appearance on reception trays. However, these bars I would allow! I noticed these at 4-H Achievement Days in Rugby. They were made and exhibited by Alissa Volk, and she received a Grand Champion award for them. The recipe came from her grandmother, Kathy (Zimmerman) Voeller, who is an excellent baker and has many delicious bars recipes in her recipe files.



2 sticks butter

1/3 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

cup milk

2 cups finely crushed graham crackers

Boil the first four ingredients for 5 minutes stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add graham crackers. Have crust ready so you can spread over immediately.


Line a 9×13 pan with club crackers.

Pour of caramel mixture over crackers and gently spread.

Add another layer of crackers.

Pour rest of caramel over.

Add another layer of crackers and frost.


cup chocolate chips

cup butter

cup butterscotch chips

cup peanut butter

Melt together in double boiler. Cool slightly. Pour over crackers. Refrigerate till frosting sets.

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