Time TravelingTime Traveling
Over the past few years I’ve become somewhat of a genealogy nut. I guess it’s my love of history and the fact that I have a relatively small family that has sent me on the quest for curious names and places.
I recently acquired two volumes of newspaper abstracts, dating 1879-1883, from my great grandfather’s hometown in Northwestern Tennessee. When I read accounts from a century ago, it never ceases to amaze me how much our world has changed and, yet in some ways remains the same. Since Valentine’s Day has recently passed, I chose selections, which dealt with romantic topics, well sort of.
Here’s a sample from the personals section of the local 1880 paper.
Tom Ellison is at present visiting Cerulean Springs, near Hopkinsville, Ky,, for his health. Poor Tom; his health has been feeble for some weeks—in fact, since a certain young lady completed her visit friends in Paris, and left for her home near Hopkinsville. We hope Tom will return much improved. He has heart disease.
Today, we have People Magazine. I’m thinking Brad Pitt might like to commiserate with ol' Tom on the lack of privacy in his personal life.
I detected the same sly voice of Poor Tom’s reporter in another excerpt. Either the reporter takes delight in poking fun at certain individuals, or is a matchmaker trying to give Dolly Levi a run for her money.
Our friend, D.B. Howard, has a pet hen setting on a few eggs in his backyard. He goes out occasionally and frightens the poor hen off the nest. His reason for this, is that he fears the hen will starve to death, or die of paralysis on for want of exercise. Howard knows what he is about when handling boots and shoes, but he has very little hen sense. Our friend needs a wife to take care of that hen.
Now tell me ladies, how can you refuse save the poor hen from Mr. Howard? Actually, I’m thinking this poor hen needs a burly rooster to set Mr. Howard straight. Mr. Howard has issues most of us heroine-type of women would prefer not to deal with, yes?
The last account I have for you was lengthy, but interesting so I’ll summarize. This ought to have you sitting on the edge of your seat. FIFTY YEARS ENGAGED, was the title. Not a catchy title for a romance, but certainly intriguing, nonetheless. Fifty years in 1878 was a heck of a long time. Well, it seems a Mr. George G., known as “Wash” became entangled in the affections of Miss Annie W. (I’m wondering why he was called Wash, aren’t you?) Well, I have it on good authority that Annie was “a rural lass of no groveling presence.” (Annie has potential for 21st century heroine. “No groveling presence.” We would like to take lessons from Annie.)
They were wont to congregate under the shrubbery of old man W’s, and exchange those soul inspiring words and glances, which only juvenile tillers of the soil can enjoy.
I guess since cars hadn’t been invented, the bushes were it. Well, it seems that things got a little heavy for old “Wash” and he bolted West, warmed up his cold feet, and got himself a wife and 11 children! (At this point I’m thinking Annie had a lucky break Eleven! Holy smokes!)
Many years later, as a widower he returned to Poor Annie, who had been “enjoying the isolated lot of an old maid.” Right. He wanted to know if she was still angry. She admitted to being a little miffed, but said she had partly gotten over it and took him back. (Annie, honey, we need to have a talk.)
Annie and “Wash” were married. She was sixty-nine and he was seventy-three. All I can say is I wish Annie every happiness under the sun. And I hope Wash got his name from his desire for cleanliness and his ability to do the laundry. Annie deserves that much, don’t you think?