My valentine collection is displayed all around my house this week. The big Raggedy Andy doll who sits on a red chair by my front door is holding a much-decorated pink heart made of construction paper and lettered in crayon, “To Papa from Brett. Happy Valentine’s Day 1997.” Brett is my oldest granddaughter; she was seven when she made that valentine for my husband. Other handmade valentines from grandchildren are also treasured, including a terrific poem that Eric wrote for me two years ago.
My oldest valentines are two that my husband’s mother made for her parents when she was fourteen, in 1928. They are decorated with paper doilies. Each contains a poem that she wrote. Today’s teens would find her words syrupy and sentimental, which only adds to their charm.
Other valentines were bought one at a time at various antique shops or thrift stores. Some are dated on the back with the year and place they were purchased. Most have either animal or musical themes and the illustrations are definitely old-fashioned. A dog with a bass drum says, “I want your heart to go Boom! Boom!” Three kittens play instruments (one is an accordian) on a card that says simply, “A Valentine Song.”
One favorite has a small carrot-shaped button attached. It says, “I don’t ‘carrot’ all for the rest of the bunch, but I’m growing fond of you.” Given my last name, that one is perfect for me!
Valentine’s Day is about love. Carl, the love of my life, is no longer here but the wonderful feelings remain, as do the happy memories. Yesterday I had lunch with my good friend, Marilyn. After we ate we browsed in an antique mall, and I spent fifty cents for a sweet old valentine. I’m being treated to dinner tonight by Anne and Kevin, my daughter and son-in-law. This week my mail box contained many valentines, mostly funny, and I had two e-cards in my Inbox today. I am surrounded by love. I hope you are, too.
Happy Valentine’s Day!