Monday, November 16, 2009
The crazy thing about this series of ads is that I'm pretty sure I don't even have them all. But after some serious searching this morning, I finally figured these were enough for now. If I run across another treasure trove, I'll add 'em in.
These ones remind me of Hair Dye and Eyebrows, with Reese River as the "Hair Dye" and Washoe as the "Eyebrows," except that these were about fifteen years earlier.
Washoe - Over three months and the promised likeness not yet received. Reese River.Oh Reese River, I can understand why Washoe hasn't written since March 18! And I can understand why this was, I believe, the last ad in the series.
Washoe - Now, could you doubt me? I cannot forget. Peace can only come from one source. Shall it come? Reese River.
Washoe - Send eight or ten words that you will recognize in print. Reese River.
Washoe - You promised that under no circumstances would you wait longer than May. Come to me. Reese River.
Washoe - Did you not read July 24 and 29 and August 5. Write soon. Reese River.
Washoe - As somebody else has used my usual "words" in Monday's paper, please send me several new words. Did you see my notice last Friday? Reese River.
Washoe - Did you not recognize in Personals, February 10 and March 3, the new words you sent? Tell me, without delay, if you remember my post office box, so that I may move next month. Reese River.
Washoe - I cannot understand why you have not written since March 18. Reese River.
So much stuff to talk about these two. First of all, a modicum of research informed me that the names actually do have some meaning, though I don't know if they are actually relevant to the people involved. The Washo people are a Native American nation mostly located in Nevada and California, and Reese River is located in, guess where, Nevada. Were these two actually Native American or from (or in) Nevada? This I don't know. But these pseudonyms are hardly the most bizarre or odd nicknames we've ever seen. There was, in the late nineteenth-century, a fascination with all things Native American by whites, largely (and sadly) because many whites believed that Indians were all going to die off soon, so they were seen as relics of a lost era. But whether or not that had any bearing on our heroes is impossible to say.
Another interesting thing about these ads is their longevity. This correspondence lasted over a year - which is why I'm pretty sure I'm missing a lot of them. That's very impressive, considering that the Canoes and Eyebrows of the world didn't make it longer than about four months. So despite whatever problems they were having by the end, they definitely managed to make what apparently was a quite complicated relationship work for quite some time.
Now the most intriguing thing that I'm sure you noticed was the "words" that Reese River keeps referring to. Well, there are some ads that appear to match the dates that he/she mentions in at least some of these ads. If you want to see what they are...come back tomorrow!
Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!
©2009 Pam Epstein