A kiss blown to a young man caused mystery, fear, illness and heartache for one family in 1911 Baltimore.
In April 1911, 18-year-old Mary Tamburo was “caught throwing kisses to a young German” and, after she was “scolded” for the act, ran away from home, according to a July 1911 Baltimore Sun article.
Her parents feared she’d committed suicide because of the letter she left on April 29 that read: “‘I am tired of life. So I am going down to the wharf. I prefer a watery grave.’”
They were relieved to receive another letter from their daughter in August of that same year stating that she was safe and well.
“It was a happy family that gathered around the lamp in front of the Tamburo barber shop to read and reread the letter announcing the safety of the girl. Mrs. Tamburo, who has been confined to her bed ever since her daughter’s disappearance, demanded that the letter be read over again and again. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she realized that she would in all probability see the missing girl again. She slept last night with the letter under her pillow,” according to an August 1911 Baltimore Sun article.
The letter was sent from Baltimore, but it appeared that it had been sent to someone else first who mailed it to the family.
Before Mary left, she told her friends she was going to work in a cloak factory in Chicago; they did not hear from her after that.
Mary’s father Salvatore believed that his daughter would come back to Baltimore when she learned that her mother had been ill as a result of her disappearance.
In October 1911, Mary was located “far away in a little town in North Dakota, near the Canadian boundary line, a thousand miles away from home,” reported the Sun. “Mrs. Tamburo … has received a letter from her daughter, and yesterday Marshal Farnan received a telegram from the Chief of Police of Cando, N.D., stating that the young girl will leave for Baltimore today.”
Source: Baltimore Sun, August 19, 1911, October 6, 1911; Evening Sun, July 27, 1911