WATSONVILLE — Many years ago, Betsy Ehm Lobay remembers walking down the long pathway leading to the Bockius-Orr House for a Halloween treat.
“If you came down the scary path, they would give you a whole Hershey’s bar,” she said.
Lobay grew up in Watsonville, and now lives in Pacific Grove. The house remains a part of her memories, and it is the cornerstone of the Pajaro Valley Historical Association (PVHA).
On Saturday, the association hosted its annual Old Fashioned Christmas Tea, when ladies and gentlemen dressed in their finery and nosh on petit fours and sip tea, all served on fine china and silver.
“So many people forget what an old-fashioned tea is,” said PVHA Board President Judy Doering-Nielsen. “It’s something you read about in the storybooks, but you never see.”
The event is more than a chance to eat, however. It is also a gathering of PVHA members and the community that support the organization, and a chance to show off the archives, Doering-Nielsen said.
Several vintage dresses were on display, and volunteers spend the days preceding the event decorating the restored house, which was once occupied by Register-Pajaronian editor Frank Orr.
“What a wonderful way to display some of the more fancy Victorian clothing that are in our collection,” she said. “We just want to welcome everyone so they can know what a wonderful place this is and what an asset it is to the community.”
The Borina Archive was also open for the event, giving visitors a peek into the brains of the historical association. It is there that visitors can delve into the history of the Pajaro Valley with the assistance of the knowledgeable volunteers.
Gingi Kinninger said she comes to the event “no matter what.” She spent time speaking with friends, including a friend she has known since the second grade.
“I see people I’ve known for years,” she said.
Grace Lettunich Taylor said she appreciates the historical archive for its records of the Croatian, Chinese, Mexican and other immigrants who have helped shape South County through the years.
“This is our history,” she said. “We have always welcomed immigrants, and we still do.”