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15 Classified Ads We Hope Had Happy Endings

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Today, if we have specific needs or questions, we can usually find a specific forum or website to help us get hooked up with whatever we need. A century ago, there was only the Classifieds section of your town’s newspaper—tiny blocks of print disguising entire lives and stories behind very few words. Here are some of those stories that we hope met with a happy ending. We hope:

1. That Lula was all settled up at Woolworths.

“To Whom It May Concern: Lula Dumont, having left my bed and support, I will not be responsible for any debts contracted by her. - F.E. Dumont” 1920

We hope that Lula’s next partner valued the virtue of an open marriage as deeply as she did. You can’t put chains on love, man.

2. That Exactly This Happened and Nothing Else.

“Is there someone who would raise and have a clean young boy of 12 educated, for a home companion?” 1907

Howdy. I’m Chris Hansen. Why don’t you come along and set a spell over there on the divan?

3. That It Was the Meet-Cute Story They Told Their Great-Grandchildren.

“Will some nice girl take Christmas dinner -at any hotel she chooses- with a decent young man; a stranger and alone in the city” 1907

If there isn’t a Reese Witherspoon movie with this premise one should be made immediately.

4. That Mrs. Verhilla Finds Justice

“GIRLS- Please return purse taken from lavatory of Circle Theater, as you are known. Police have your description and there will be a warrant out if not returned. – Mrs. Verhilla” 1920

May God have mercy on your souls, girls. Because Mrs. Verhilla will not.

5. That the Lady in Question Will Not Remain Unsupported for Long

“Lost- Two unfinished linen brassieres. Kindly leave at Washington hotel. Reward." 1907

From what I’ve seen early brassieres were two handkerchiefs tied together with twine. Good riddance, honey. Stick with the corset for another decade or so.

6. That Room 24 Held All the Delights it Promised

“Ladies, if you want to go to a very select place for your electric treatments and massage, go to room 24 in Marquam House. You will get the best attention” 1907

Hysteria cures weren’t all bad.

7. That a Certain Gentleman Will Realize His Oversight

"Lost: Will the Gentleman who occupied my room Tuesday pm please return jewelry taken? No questions asked.” 1907

Come on Wilbur. We both know you looked ridiculous in that lavaliere.

8. That this is Not Nearly as Depressing as it Sounds

“I have two children, boy and girl, ages 10 and 12, that I would like to leave with a nice family for a year: want good neighborhood and where proper care will be given.” 1897

A parent who spends 5 whole cents to procure the safety of his children can’t be completely negligent.

9. That All These Girls Have Been Thoroughly Briefed on the Mann Act

"Wanted: Girls. Must be pretty, small, and 16 years of age. Apply today at Los Angeles Theatre Box Office” 1911

Nothing suspicious, seedy, or potentially criminal here.

10. That…ehh. Sorry buddy. This isn’t going to end well.

“For Sale- Calf with two legs. Call or write quick: make offer.” 1909

Write quick? It’s not like the poor thing is going anywhere.  

11. That Ray Had a Reason

“Ray- good luck to you in your coming explanation. Dollie.” 1909

Shame on your suspicious mind, Dollie. It just so happens Ray remembered to have a photograph taken of himself next to the Guatemalan children whose school he’s been building for the past two months.

12. That G and B were only dating.

"G- You are, as I thought, a sad mistake. –B”

Jeez Mom. So I didn’t make Varsity. You didn’t need to take out an entire ad. 

13. That the Realization of Love and Family are Not Exclusive to People Over 5 Feet tall.  

“Am 40, 3ft 11 in high, weigh 175 lbs, best health, brown hair, brown eyes and mustache, erect figure, regular features; good business, wish the acquaintance of little woman with common sense. Object: Matrimony.”

An extremely prudent use of a personal ad. In an era where differences were not always celebrated, this gentleman stood to meet more potential willing brides than by any other means available to him.

14. Doesn’t Matter how it Ended. The Joy was in the Journey.

 “Wanted: Ten Monkeys, Talking Parrots, and Canaries.” 1900

That was a weekend no one ever forgot.

15. No Joke. Just Really, Really Wishing for a Happy Ending.

In my research I thought I’d hit a goldmine of peculiar, personal classifieds when I stumbled across a 1906 copy of The San Francisco Call. But what appeared to be a laundry list of strayed husbands and cryptic codes turned into something much more tragic on closer examination of the date.

 “News Wanted of Mrs. R J Pringle by her husband.”

“Sarah Rockel, come to Sullivan’s. Am much worried.”

“Daisy- Bring Mother to Port Richmond.”

These ads and dozens more like them were placed on April 21, 1906, three days after the Great San Francisco Earthquake demolished 80 percent of the city and killed 3000 people. Here’s hoping many more were reunited with their loved ones. 

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Watch Apollo 11 Launch
Vice President Spiro Agnew and former President Lyndon Johnson view the liftoff of Apollo 11
Vice President Spiro Agnew and former President Lyndon Johnson view the liftoff of Apollo 11
NASA, Getty Images

Apollo 11 launched on July 16, 1969, on its way to the moon. In the video below, Mark Gray shows slow-motion footage of the launch (a Saturn V rocket) and explains in glorious detail what's going on from a technical perspective—the launch is very complex, and lots of stuff has to happen just right in order to get a safe launch. The video is mesmerizing, the narration is informative. Prepare to geek out about rockets! (Did you know the hold-down arms actually catch on fire after the rocket lifts off?)

Apollo 11 Saturn V Launch (HD) Camera E-8 from Spacecraft Films on Vimeo.

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Romano D’Agostini, Giorgio Cargnel, Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma
Utility Workers May Have Found One of Rome’s First Churches
Romano D’Agostini, Giorgio Cargnel, Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma
Romano D’Agostini, Giorgio Cargnel, Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma

The remains of what may have been one of Rome’s earliest Christian churches were accidentally discovered along the Tiber River during construction, The Local reports. The four-room structure, which could have been built as early as the 1st century CE, was unearthed by electrical technicians who were laying cables along the Ponte Milvio.

The newly discovered structure next to the river
Romano D’Agostini, Giorgio Cargnel, Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma

No one is sure what to make of this “archaeological enigma shrouded in mystery,” in the words of Rome’s Archaeological Superintendency. Although there’s no definitive theory as of yet, experts have a few ideas.

The use of colorful African marble for the floors and walls has led archaeologists to believe that the building probably served a prestigious—or perhaps holy—function as the villa of a noble family or as a Christian place of worship. Its proximity to an early cemetery spawned the latter theory, since it's common for churches to have mausoleums attached to them. Several tombs were found in that cemetery, including one containing the intact skeleton of a Roman man.

Marble flooring
Romano D’Agostini, Giorgio Cargnel, Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma

A tomb
Romano D’Agostini, Giorgio Cargnel, Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma1

The walls are made of brick, and the red, green, and beige marble had been imported from Sparta (Greece), Egypt, and present-day Tunisia, The Telegraph reports.

As The Local points out, it’s not all that unusual in Rome for archaeological discoveries to be made by unsuspecting people going about their day. Rome’s oldest aqueduct was found by Metro workers, and an ancient bath house and tombs were found during construction on a new church.

[h/t The Local]

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