Tonawanda News —
“I started to think about what would I like to do if I could do anything I wanted,” she said. “I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to have a place where I could sit and paint all day?’ Maybe I could serve some tea. I wanted to have a place with a lot of tea — and two kinds of coffee.”
The lease was signed on Potter’s birthday, and Simply Sue’s Tea Shop opened for business in July 2007 at 44 Main St. The next section of “A Girl Like Me” showcases her experiences as its owner, as well as snippets and snapshots of the shop’s visitors and clients over the next three years, from Dorothy, one of the first passers-by to stick her head in the door before it even opened, to a young girl named Amelia who often came in with her mother.
Others include those who came in to make use of the site’s food pantry — which she dubbed “The Thirty Dollars Too Much Room” after the time she made just a little too much to qualify for food stamps during a time of need— to the many residents of the Tonawanda Towers who dropped by for tea and conversation. There, too, are those she was able to tell about Al-Anon.
“The people I met — I just love them,” she said. “I still have contact with a lot of them.”
After about three years of food and music and art and many stories, Simply Sue’s closed in 2010, after Potter’s arthritis become worse.
For the first time in years, she found herself without something to do. She took a year off, read and wrote and spent time at the beach, then — remembering her fondness for the women from the Towers who frequented the tea shop — began serving as a companion for seniors, something she still does now on a limited basis. In addition, she works part time at the YWCA of the Tonawandas. Part three of the book deals with this period of her life, right up to 2013.