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Silver Threads: Valentine's in-boxes mail then and now

Bettye Anding

Bettye Anding

When I was in grammar school 70 or so years ago, Valentine’s Day was a pretty big deal. At least on one occasion, a teacher supplied us with a cardboard container, cut a slot in the top, helped us cover it with red and white crepe paper and glue on a sprinkling of little construction paper hearts, and we had a beautiful Valentine Box -- eyed with interest for about a week before it was opened.

We bought our Valentines at the dime store, and they mostly came in the kind of books you got your paper dolls in. The cards were punched out of the pages, signed, and inserted into addressed envelopes -- cut on the dotted lines and pasted together -- from the white pages also supplied.

Then we girls handed them out on the day, or just before -- and everybody got some, even the contrary boys who didn’t bother to bring any to school.

I got to thinking about that since it’s only about 48 hours until Valentine’s Day 2014, and I think it’s timely to also tell you that I’m thinking of subscribing to an on-line dating service.

Just kidding! But I do continually get email ads from those purveyors of romance, which debunks the notion that all is known on the Internet: Mr. Wonderful of 55 years short a month is at his computer across the hall from me as I write; how could they not know?

While I was deleting those advertisements from Christian Singles and Senior Singles, a cousin in Texas was forwarding some messages purportedly taken from The Villages, a newspaper in Florida, which is where the liveliest of the elderly reside -- isn’t it?

Herewith some of the “clips” that amused me most and I figure will tickle your funny bones, too:

  • Foxy Lady: Fashion-conscious blue-haired, 80s, slim, 5'4” (used to be 5'6”), forget the other sizes. Searching for sharp-looking, sharp-dressing companion. Matching white shoes and belt a plus.
  • Long-term commitment: Recent widow who has just turned 88, looking for hubby with a long-term commitment. Dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath not a problem.
  • Serenity now: I am into solitude, long walks, sunrises, yoga and meditation. If you are the silent type, let's get together, take our hearing aids out and enjoy quiet times.
  • Winning smile: Active grandmother with original teeth seeking a dedicated flossier to share rare steaks, corn on the cob and caramel candy.
  • Beatles or Stones? I still like to rock, still like to cruise in my Camaro on Saturday nights and still like to play the guitar. If you were a groovy chick, or now a groovy hen, let's get together and listen to my eight-track tapes.
  • Memories: I can usually remember Monday through Thursday. If you can remember Friday, Saturday and Sunday, let's put our two heads together.
  • Mint condition: Male, 1932 model, high mileage, good condition, some hair, many new parts including hip, knee, cornea, valves. Isn't in running condition, but walks well.

These ads are well done, but in none does a senior boast of the capability that I think would guarantee the most interest: “Able to drive after dark.”

Bettye Anding is a former editor of the Living section of The Times Picayune, for which she wrote “Silver Threads” until her retirement. Email comments to her at [email protected]