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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dog Days of Summer Spurred Soap Opera

Postcard messages like this one with the note, “I knew you would miss me when I was gone,” remind me that even our great-grandparents were once young and in love and felt all the things that go along with both.

I always assumed soap operas started in the 1950s with the introduction of television, but that was before I read the drama below between two former lovers that began at a dance in Rock Springs Park in 1900.

Youngstown Vindicator - August 29, 1900

Novel Street Scene

Peculiar Occurrence in Public Between Former Lovers

Quite a novel scene occurred on Fifth Street, Monday morning about 9 o'clock, says the East Liverpool Crisis. A young woman arrived in the city from Youngstown on Saturday and attended the dance at Rock Springs Park on that evening. At the dance she saw her old lover, who has lately taken to himself a wife. She followed the couple home, but did not make any advance to make herself known. On Sunday morning, she was out bright and early, and waited patiently for her old lover to leave the house, which he did shortly after 8 o'clock. The young woman followed him to Fifth Street, where she sought to win back the affection which had been estranged from her. She fell on her knees and exclaimed: "Dear - do you not love me?" But he only replied, "I am married now, and have no further use for you." Still the young woman pleaded, but in vain. When she dropped her hands from her tearful eyes, the man had made good his escape, and was making his way to his home to seek comfort from his lawful wife.

About 200 people witnessed the scene on Fifth Street, and said that the man ran home like a deer.

At first I found this story to be quite humorous, especially the ending, but overall, I was left feeling sorry for the jilted young woman. It must have been embarrassing to raise herself back on her feet and wipe her eyes only to see 200 witnesses staring back or, worse yet, laughing at her. Plus, the guy seems like a “jerk.” Doesn't he? Especially his comment, before running away like a deer, of "I have no further use for you!" That's cold!

Apparently, the modern translation of "She followed the couple home, but did not make any advance to make herself known" is “STALKER!”

Never let it be said that our great-grandparents didn’t do anything crazy in their day. They may have walked twenty miles in the snow to get to school, but in the dog days of summer they were just as nuts as you and I.

"Dog Days" - The name comes from the ancient belief that Sirius, also called the Dog Star, in close proximity to the sun was responsible for the hot weather.

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