I was in love. My boyfriend was working in his first after-college job as managing editor of a small chain of local newspapers; and I had an idea: When February 29 (Leap Year Day) rolled around, I wrote a poem and sent a telegram to his office. Yep–a telegram, accentuated with the traditional “STOP” at the end of each line. It was all in good fun, and while I can’t remember the whole poem, in a lyric worthy of Burma Shave, I asked him to marry me. I remember this part:
So hurry up and tell me quick–
Your next chance will be in ’76!
It was all in good fun, and the next day I received, delivered to my desk in my office, a telegram typed on yellow paper. Again I can’t remember the whole thing, but it began,
February 29 has gone and past,
And I am feeling safe at last….
What a funny guy. :-/
Anyway, all’s well that ends well. We were married three years later, and he’s still my best friend.
Time magazine has a pretty funny Leap Year story today, about the town of Aurora, Illinois–where all the single men were imprisoned on February 29, 1948. Here’s an excerpt from that story:
If you were an unmarried man in the Chicago suburb of Aurora, Ill., in 1948, you would likely have spent Leap Day in jail. As documented in a LIFE photo essay by George Skadding, on that day the city’s women took their posts as mayor, fire chief, police chief and police officers and imprisoned men for the crime of being single. As the magazine explained:
On Feb. 29, Leap Year day, the administration of Aurora is turned over to the unmarried girls, who promptly fine and jail every bachelor they can hunt down. This year a few men delayed their getaway until daybreak on the 29th. Two made it, one in the men’s room of the train, another under two train seats. The rest…were trapped.
It’s Leap Year, ladies! Don’t miss your chance to call your fella!