Library question service reveals the DI’s ‘soap opera’ lovers

Editor’s Note: The Question Board is an anonymous question and answer service of the Undergraduate Library. The QB answers several pressing or random questions, using library and other University resources.

Question: In 1976-1977, there was a Daily Illini “soap opera” running in the classified section of the newspaper. Each day, there was a posting from a guy and girl who were playing out their love life in the classifieds. What were their names?

Dear Retro Romantic,

Your question makes QB want to get down from the wall and boogie around the lower level stacks singing Wild Cherry’s 1976 hit “Play that Funky Music.” Why, you ask? Three reasons: campus trivia, archival materials and college romance. Even though QB was a mere 4-year-old when this saga was published, QB knows the answer, but it is best to double-check.

QB knows that the library has back issues of the DI — but doesn’t quite know where. After conducting a quick search in the library catalog, QB learned that the History, Philosophy and Newspaper Library has the DI on microfilm going back to 1874, three years after the first issue of the newspaper was published. From there, it was just a matter a grabbing a cartridge off the shelf and loading it into one of their many microfilm readers.

A few scans through DI personals revealed the unfolding of John and Marsha. Here’s a quick preview:

Sept. 29, 1976: “Marsha. Please call me. The damn carrier hasn’t delivered my D.I. in two days. John.”

Sept. 30, 1976: “John. We’ll have to use the D.I. personals. I can’t stand your yelling on the phone. Marsha.”

Oct. 1, 1976: “Marsha. How about getting together for dinner at our favorite restaurant? John.”

Oct. 2, 1976: “John. The same place you took Claudia? Marsha.”

And so on, and so forth. QB will have to take your word that this 1970s B-movie banter continues on through 1977. The farthest QB was able to get through before rushing back to the UGL’s lower level before being discovered was Dec. 4, 1976, when QB read this startling line: “John – I’m sorry. It’s too late! Marsha’s been released. It’s out of my hands. Good luck. She’s had a hard time. She’ll need you. The aide at Mercy.” Why was Marsha admitted to Mercy Hospital? You’ll have to find out yourself.

Hanging on the edge of the wall,

QB