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Rays of heavenly sunshine

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I want to go back to another ad from my op-ed, the one with the image right on top, from "Vine" and "Trellis." Another one of those interesting pseudonyms I run into all the time. But the ad in the Times was only one out of a whole series. And it was long. There are twenty-one ads in this series, over the course of about a year and a half. And I wouldn't be surprised if there are more that I missed.

But this one is special. This one even rivals Washoe and Reese River Just see for yourself. (If you open the file it gets big enough to read, should you so desire.)

Vine - These disappointments are intolerable and must come to an end; not even a telegram or note; Monday; if impossible, send word early. Trellis.

Vine - With tenderness and love: but honor, darling, must with me ever stand pre-eminent; precious note received, coming like rays of heavenly sunshine; Monday. Trellis.

Vine - Forgive. It was the happiest day of my life. Send note. Your dear letters are a great comfort, furnishing a silvery lining to a dark cloud. Love and honor, darling, bear me on like a mighty river. Thursday. Your own devoted Trellis.

Vine - With confidence and heart love I greet you, darling, this morning; with you I am always happy; without you I am miserable; deep is your loving heart let me rest secure. Trellis.

Vine - Telegram and letter received. So sorry of your illness. Oh, would I could have nursed you myself, darling, with that tenderness and love which is all your own. Come to remain over. Trellis.

Vine - Good morning, darling, heart of my heart, soul of my soul. Miss you awfully. Cannot say goodby when so near. Write to-day if you can call Thursday. New importation. Sunrise. Rabbits. Trellis.

Vine - Received at last. Would not rob you, darling, of one day's pleasure to come earlier; and yet I would give all the world to see you before my departure. Must go soon. Write, old address. I would have you cling to me forever. Corunum, via una. Trellis.

Vine - Call in restaurant. Letter for Mrs. Hannibal. Trellis.

Vine - Please to see me early next Thursday, rain or sunshine. Trellis.

Vine - Note received. No extenuation, darling, for not writing Monday. Waited Wednesday and Thursday. Will you call next Friday, or when? Trellis.

Vine - Your dear letter is as expected. How can I, darling, love you enough? Wednesday. Trellis.

Vine - Your escort, darling, was never so happy; but oh, the return! Do you believe, dear, in the depth of a true, honorable, manly love? Would I could never, never leave you! Monday. Devotedly, Trellis.

Vine - Happy, darling, you are convalescent. You are more than all the world to me! Every incident makes me love you more dearly. Rest. Avoid excitement. Write. Painfully anxious. Devotedly, Trellis.

Vine - Letter received. Sad news, darling, but better than the suspense which has been killing me! Wish I could send you something. I know now how dearly I love you. Devotedly, Trellis.

Vine - Personal last Tuesday. Thank heaven, darling, you are convalescing. If only I could nurse you myself. I knew just where I would see you. We were created for each other. 'Tis now I know how nobly and truly I love you. Write often. Watch personals. Devotedly, Trellis.

Vine - Darling, I'm wretchedly lonely. Miss you awfully. Love you more and more dearly. Your very dear letters and a love at your sweet face keeps me up. Time flies. Write oftener. Watch personals daily. Devotedly, Trellis.

Vine - Received. Supremely happy, our hearts, darling, beat in perfect unison. Tuesday, early. Devotedly, Trellis.

Vine - Darling, thou art my heart-love, my life, my whole existence. Tuesday, early. Devotedly, Trellis.

Vine - Thou art to me, darling, the nearest and dearest one in all the world. I shall always love you right on. Devotedly, Trellis.

Vine - Miss you awfully; this great heart love, darling, is all your own; could not live without you; deeply regret and sympathise. Devotedly, Trellis.

Vine - My whole heart, darling, goes out to you this morning. In the bright future. Devotedly, Trellis.

A year and a half, people. A year and a half!

In any event, is it just me, or does this relationship seem...exhausting? Ardor and love is obviously a very, very good thing, and I certainly wouldn't mind having someone feel this way about me. But it just seems like such an effort to maintain this level of passion. Trellis seems like an emotional wreck half the time. And, like other long-term relationships, this one doesn't seem to end on a happy note. Trellis seems hopeful, but something has happened that has taken Vine away from him - an arranged marriage? It sounds like maybe there was a death in the family, but since this was the last ad, something else is going on. Maybe her parents died and she had to relocate to live with a faraway aunt. I dunno, I just came up with that on the spot.

However, although I think this is a real correspondence, there's just a small sliver of doubt that maybe Trellis and Vine are just using the personals as a cover to run some kind of illegal smuggling operation. Everyone was so used to personals that readers wouldn't think twice about the meaning behind these - what better way to hide what you're doing than under the guise of two lovers? So why do I wonder this? Three things: first, the regular directive of days. Monday, Thursday, etc. Lovers did that all the time, but what is slightly odd is that most of the time, Trellis is not asking Vine when he/she can come, it's more like Trellis is telling Vine when he/she has to be somewhere. Second, "new importation" in the sixth ad. What does that mean? Perhaps some new shipment that's arriving on Thusday? (Plus: rabbits??) Third, in the eighth ad, the letter for Mrs. Hannibal at the restaurant. The tone there is so different and almost businesslike, and doesn't make much sense in a relationship that is apparently illicit. So those things seem a little out of place and give me pause.

But then when I read the rest of the ads and the "rays of heavenly sunshine," "how can I love you enough," "true, honorable, manly love," and "Corunum, via una" (Latin: something like "we have one heart," maybe? Liz?), I can't believe those are contrived. That's a lot of effort, for one thing, and incredibly creative. And I'd rather believe, even if it's a sad ending, that it's real.

Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!

©2010 Pam Epstein


Antoine McGrath February 18, 2010 at 11:28 PM  

I love that you added your own thoughts on the relationship, well placed and dead on I'd say.

Pam February 19, 2010 at 9:00 AM  

Thanks Antoine! Half the fun is imagining what was going on behind the ads.

Unknown March 1, 2010 at 10:10 AM  

Sorry, coming to this late... you know, I am wondering if 'corunum' is a typo - it would make more sense if it was 'cor unum', so the phrase would mean 'a single heart, a single path'. Bunged together into a single word, I'm afraid it's gobbledy-gook.

Pam March 1, 2010 at 11:17 AM  

Liz, how dare you be late for reading my blog? Jeez. Yeah, I looked up the word corunum and it said exactly what you did - that it ought to be two separate words. I'm an idiot, though, for not recognizing "via" as path or road. That's embarrassing.

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