It's June 22, 1895. The front page of The Batavian — a newspaper of the times — tells the simple story of a high school graduation, titled: "Sweet Girl Graduates."
"Radiant as the rosy morn was the graduating maiden of the Batavia Academy Thursday night. In ravishing costume and with brightened eye and blooming cheek she stepped on the rostrum of the opera house and with all the glamour that surrounds the pomp and panoply of war pulsing in her heart she gazed into the proud eyes of parents and friends and an immense concourse of people, and in the midst of showers of beautiful flowers was thrown into a dreamy ecstasy of delight."
It's no surprise the author has eyes only for such maidens. Batavia Academy's graduating class in 1895 consisted of 13 girls and a meager four boys. Where were all the young Batavian men at the turn of the century? Were they too good — or no good — for study? Ravaged by war? Bound by the ox to the farm?
No matter. This article's author had no need for them. Full of that very same poetic excess, he describes a few of the young ladies who especially caught his eye. Such as:
"Miss Flora Van de Venter is a piquant, fair-haired girl, with expressive eyes and a complexion that suggests peaches and cream. Her essay was captioned 'Fun and Philosophy of Mother Goose,' but there was nothing frivolous about it, though nicely spiced with humor."
And let us not forget "Miss Florence Quirk, a tangle-tressed maiden in white, (who) gave a learned essay, which evinced deep research."
Or in an article on the same front page (under "Town Topics: Seen and Heard in the Daily Current of Batavia Life").
"The summer girl is with us again. Arrayed in delicate tissue gown and jaunty straw hat, she rides through the streets in all her glory these pleasant evenings. With fan or parasol in hand she graces the piazza or the streets as she makes her periodical visits to the soda fountain. What would the druggist do without the summer girl? But it befits us all to be duly and honestly grateful for the blessing. For the summer girl is a blessing."
It must have been a long, lonely winter.