Bridging Generations

Ancestors and descendents of Joyce Verla Pratt and Mark Richard Berrett

Just an old fashioned Valentine

My father’s parents, Thomas Francis Berrett and Harriet “Hattie” Lydia Brown were courting in the early 1900s.  Valentine’s Day school dances were among the highlights of the year among their age group, and sweethearts exchanged special valentines, sometimes going to great lengths to get just the right message for their suitors.

Vintage Valentine, circa 1900 credit: Royce Bair, The Stock Solution
Vintage Valentine, circa 1900
credit: Royce Bair, The Stock Solution

One year Hattie and one of her best friends, Elizabeth Berrett, made a trip by horse and cart from their homes in North Ogden to the “big city” of Ogden to buy valentines for their beaus, Tom and Arthur.  They wanted to buy nicer valentines than they thought they could get in North Ogden.  Of course once word got around about their planned excursion, they got instructions from some of the other girls to buy valentines for them as well.

Harriet and Elizabeth started out with a cart and a very gentle, but very slow old horse.  Hattie did the driving and Elizabeth did the touching up with the whip; but even with encouragement from the little whip,  the horse would stop every once in a while and want to turn back towards home.  A cart such as they drove has no real back on the seat, and its two wheels give the riders a continual up and down and forward and back motion, so in the cold February air the trip really would have been a commitment to young love!

The deliberate, slow speed of the horse lengthened their cart ride to about two hours each way, but they laughed and sang the romantic songs of their time and thoroughly enjoyed the trip, most likely oblivious to their less than ideal traveling conditions.  I can imagine them giggling about Tom and Arthur, repeating and swooning over conversations they’d previously had. Among other topics consuming their chatter, no doubt they discussed how and when to present the cards and exactly how to sign their names – would “Love, Hattie” be too forward?

Needless to say, Tom Berrett and those other lucky young men were thrilled by the love filled messages of those sweet cards purchased out of town.  Tom and Hattie were married 7 May 1902.

Today, the distance between North Ogden and Ogden
is officially about three miles, although the division
between them is not noticeable as they have grown together.
I suppose in the 1900s the distance might have been five miles.

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One thought on “Just an old fashioned Valentine

  1. Pingback: Young Hattie Brown | Bridging Generations

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