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It's like bad noir

Monday, January 3, 2011

All of these ads are from the same day...I wasn't going to write about all of them but they all were so interesting that I couldn't pick.  So I figured, eh, I'll write about 'em all.  I always think how much fun it must have been to have read these every day.  What would people at the time have thought when they saw these?


A.B.C. - Say nothing.  Keep your own counsel until our next interview.  1, 2, 3.

G -- E -- I have important news, you gratify her by your rash act.  Will convince you.  Address Veritas, 302 Herald Uptown.

Greenville, 6:00 P.M. train Friday - Be at the same place Tuesday.  Would like to meet again.  Two Friends.

Serpent - Cannot avoid mourning.  But love sustains.  Wearing charm.  Anxious to hear.  S--K--.

"Would-Be Friend" may marry, but better call for confidential advice.  P.
So much sadness!  So much mystery!  So much intrigue!  Drama, drama, drama!  Doesn't the first one sound like a movie?  I can't even believe it was real.  Maybe it wasn't real - I mean, who talks like that?  A.B.C. and 1, 2, 3, really?  I bet anything that even if this was a real correspondence the authors were reading pulp fiction novels and saw themselves as the heroes/heroines of some exciting affair.  So, code names and mysterious missives.  Ha!  Love it.

The second is kind of along the same lines, I think. "You gratify her by your rash act."  Hmm.  Sounds like, girl accuses boy of, I don't know, infidelity or something.  He flies off the handle and breaks off their courtship.  She's like, "See?  I knew I was right."  But where does Veritas fit in?  And it seems a bit more involved than that.  Veritas makes it sounds like "she" is the villain here.  A spider in her web, maybe?  I don't know.  But it has an equal spice of noir that is almost too good to be true.  These are the ads that make me think that it's possible newspaper editors were filling in empty space to grab their readers.  Why not?  It'd be a clever ploy.

The Greenville ad...there's nothing particularly special about that but I noticed it more because of the ad I put last, from the "Would-Be Friend."  Two friends, would-be-friends, who are all these friends?  The last one is kind of funny.  I don't even know what it means.  Is the "Would-Be Friend" the person being addressed, and "P." is going to get married?  Or is the Would-Be Friend the person getting married, and P. is suggesting that he/she take P.'s advice about it first?  I think the latter.  Is P. going to share some dirt on Would-Be Friend's future spouse?  Like the advice is going to be not to marry that person at all?  And if Would-Be Friend is getting married, who is the third party being addressed here?  Too many questions.

Then there's "Serpent."  That's an interesting pseudonym.  Serpents are supposed to be sly and cunning and tricky.  I don't know that everyone would necessarily associate serpents with the Garden of Eden, but it would be more likely back then, I suppose.  This one seems a little sneaky for sure.  Sounds like S--K-- has to pretend to be in mourning for her spouse, who just died, but wants to assure Serpent that she really loves him.  (I've decided that S--K-- is a woman because she's wearing his charm, which makes me think of a charm bracelet.  But I guess it could as easily be a man with a rabbit's foot in his pocket.)  Sounds like they're both serpents in this scenario.  I mean, wearing your lover's gift to your husband's funeral?  That's low.  But maybe there's another interpretation -- sure hope so!

©2011 Pam Epstein

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