Love in the Time of Ice Cream Sundaes, Part 2On August 12, 2020 by Elyse
Spoiler alert! Don’t ruin the ending: Read Part 1 first.
When we last saw our heroes in October of 1910, Beatrice Sanders and La Vere Tallman were shivering in a cave in the Catskill Mountains and slowly realizing that sometimes love just ain’t enough.
Six weeks after the start of their romantic escape into the wilderness, they made the most sensible decision of their young lives and used the last of their money to buy one-way train tickets to get lost in Yonkers. Once there, they pawned the rifle and shotgun, and found cheap lodgings that must’ve been a far cry from “the snuggest, coziest cave in the universe.”
Their troubles were far from over. Despite his best efforts, La Vere was unable to find steady work.
A Yonkers butcher. . . gave the boy a job driving his delivery wagon, but after the wagon had run away with him twice he “got the grand bounce.”– The Newark Evening Star, December 2, 1910
He should’ve stuck to slinging sodas. The couple ran out of money less than a month later. Let that be a lesson to you, kids: Stay in school and pass Home Economics class. When Beatrice and La Vere could no longer afford coal to heat their tiny home, they kept warm by hanging out at the mall—er, train station. Maybe they weren’t so different from the teenagers of today after all.
However, unlike the lenient mall cops who inhabit ‘80s teen movies, when a police officer spotted them munching on a bag of buns in the station, he arrested them on charges of vagrancy. It turns out love is, in fact, a crime.
Rather than lock them up and throw away the key, Police Captain William Lent did something even worse: He called their parents. Shortly thereafter, the Yonkers City Court was the scene of a touching family reunion.
. . . And by “touching family reunion,” I mean an episode of Maury.
There were declarations of love and loyalty:
When [La Vere] started to say that he was to blame for it all the girl broke in and exclaimed: “That isn’t so. We love each other and that is all there is to it.” Then she held her head higher than ever until her plump little nose was pointing to the ceiling.– The Evening World, December 1, 1910
There were dramatic expressions of parental disapproval:
The girl’s father was so angry at the couple that he couldn’t speak, and he simply scowled at them during the brief court proceedings.– The Evening World, December 1, 1910
And then, there was a dispute that makes any conflict you’ve ever had with your in-laws look downright pleasant.
“If they are not married,” said Mrs. Sanders, as she left the court, “I will have them married as soon as I get them home. If they did get married somewhere I am going to have them married over again in my presence.”– The Evening World, December 1, 1910
La Vere’s mother takes another view of the matter and indicates that she will prosecute the little girl for abduction of her son. Mrs. Tallman alleges that the girl is eighteen years old, while the boy is still a minor.
“I am mighty glad that I have preserved the letters Miss Sanders sent La Vere,” she said this afternoon, “for they show plainly that she lured him from his home and induced him to elope with her. I do not intend to let the matter rest.”– The Evening World, December 1, 1910
Mrs. Tallman was already giving Jane Fonda a run for her money as monster-in-law. No surprise, she had a financial incentive to object to her son’s matrimonial arrangements.
My son was a good boy before he got acquainted with the Sanders girl, but he no doubt fell in love with her and she with him and she took him away from me. . . When he went away with that girl my only support practically left me. Since then I have had to throw myself upon the neighbors more than once and have been almost crazy over the affair besides.– The Newark Evening Star, December 1, 1910
In addition to her vested interest, poor Mrs. Tallman must’ve felt history was repeating itself. It turns out that back in 1901, after 20 years of marriage, her husband:
. . . fell in love with his bookkeeper, Marion Croasdale, and eloped with her. He succeeded in gaining possession of one of the sons, Raymond, who subsequently married the Croasdale girl. La Vere remained with his mother, who has since gained a precarious livelihood by giving music lessons.– The Newark Evening Star, December 1, 1910
I would love to be a fly on the wall at this family’s Thanksgiving dinner.
Notwithstanding her charges of kidnapping, true love and/or teenage hormones carried the day, and wedding bells rang out:
Beatrice and La Vere were released into the custody of their parents and promptly returned to Newark, where they were soon officially married. Shortly thereafter, a reporter paid a visit to the newlyweds, who were residing at the home of the elder Mrs. Tallman. Perhaps that was Beatrice’s punishment for kidnapping La Vere.
Tallman, anxious to show his mother that he had become something of a culinary expert through his sojourn in the woods, was tossing flapjacks with all the skill of a dairy lunch window acrobat. The scene was one of perfect domestic bliss and the girl-wife concurred in the statement that all hands are supremely happy. . .
Far from regretting their escapade, Tallman and his bride are immensely proud of each other and are in ecstasies of bliss over the happy ending of their courtship and flight.– The Newark Evening Star, December 2, 1910
The couple also indicated they would be cashing in on their 15 minutes of fame and writing a book about their unconventional romance. That book later skyrocketed to the top of The New York Times’ Best Seller list and was made into one of Hollywood’s first talkies. The babes in the wood lived happily ever after.
. . . Just kidding. You know me better than that.
The first signs of trouble emerged barely a month later when La Vere had another run-in with the law. This time, he was charged with crimes more serious than vagrancy.
La Vere Tallman, the boy hero, and Beatrice, his child bride, the forest lovers, cave dwellers and explorers of the wild, were separated last night for the first time since their parents spanked them and took them to a minister and had them wed. . . As Mr. Shakespeare once said, that true love thing always did have trouble with the steering gear.
. . . young Tallman has been seeing things in the dark for several days. He has imagined that kidnappers were after Beatrice, among other things. Beatrice’s tearful assurances that, even should the brigands get her, she will burst her chains, saw through the prison bars and swim the Hackensack to get back to him have not comforted her husband.
“I’m going to teach somebody a lesson if I can ever get at ‘em,” he announced bravely. Last night he “got” one of ‘em.– The Evening World, January 10, 1911
After spotting a mysterious stranger lurking on their street corner, La Vere grabbed his shotgun and confronted the man.
“What are you doing around here and why?” were the boy bridegroom’s words. “Hereafter you follow me at your peril.”
“I’m waiting for a car,” said the stranger in a hoarse, menacing voice. “I got off the other one too soon. Point that gun the other way, son; it might be loaded.”
“It always is loaded,” replied our hero. “And it shall remain pointed at you until you leave the vicinity of my bride.”– The Evening World, January 10, 1911
An altercation ensued, and they “ran into the arms of a policeman, who arrested them both.”
With her trademark sangfroid, Beatrice remained unperturbed.
“Ah, well. . . we both felt it was about time that another adventure happened to us.”– Beatrice Tallman, quoted in the Evening World, January 10, 1911
I’m beginning to wonder: Are Beatrice and La Vere witless teenagers or cunning proto-Kardashians with media savvy far beyond their years?
Still, charges of “assault and battery with the intent to kill” couldn’t have been the kind of adventure they were looking for. However, luck was with the couple again, and La Vere was let off with a warning about “the inadvisability of being too handy with loaded weapons.”
As best I can tell, Beatrice and La Vere managed to keep a low profile—or were unsuccessful at getting back onto the front page—for the next two decades. The 1920 federal census found them living in New York with their two sons, La Vere, Jr. and Harold.
A few years later, their marriage ended in much the same way it began—in the newspapers.
La Vere pops up in the 1930 census living with his sons and again in the 1940 census with a new wife.
Did Beatrice find love at another soda fountain? Did La Vere’s paranoia drive her away? Did his mother eventually file those kidnapping charges? We may never know. Beatrice vanishes from the historical record, just like another plucky Second Glance History heroine.
Beatrice and La Vere’s love was as sweet and fleeting as ice cream on a hot summer day. Since that’s exactly what today is, I recommend a visit to your local ice cream parlor in their honor. You never know who you’ll find behind the counter.
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Disclaimer: The modern era is far from the first to grapple with rampant “fake news.” As I am neither a historian nor journalist, I make no claims about the accuracy or lack thereof of the above sources. I assert only that they make for a good story.
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