I’m glad I’m not the only one who is sentimental about old valentines. Here are four sweet samples!
1. Denise Woodyard of La Grange, Texas, prizes the elaborate over-sized valentine her 19-year-old dad, Jack, sent his mother from Fort Knox, Kentucky, in 1944, years before she was born. At the time, he was a U.S. Army private undergoing 17 weeks of tank corps training before leaving for World War II in Europe. Don’t you know Denise’s grandmother, Vallye Darringer, prized this fragile paper link even more after Jack landed at the battlefront in Normandy on D-Day plus one?
2. Gayle Newkirk of Bastrop, Texas, has fond memories of Valentine’s Day observances when she was an elementary student in Corpus Christi. Leading up to February 14, she and her classmates would decorate white boxes with construction paper hearts and doilies and then a slit was cut in the top of each one. Gayle says there was never any thought about leaving a classmate out of the exchange. On Valentine’s Day, she recalls how exciting it was to open her box and read the cards while munching on special treats. For years, Gayle kept her boxes and occasionally revisited all those sweet messages.
3. Back in the days when farmhouse back doors were never locked, Jo Lynn Petras of Mullins Prairie, Texas, came home from high school one February 14th to find a giant heart-shaped box of candy that was so big it practically covered her bed. Her new beau had been audacious enough to enter the Petras home, find her bedroom and lay that box of chocolates on her bed. Thank goodness, Jo Lynn says, she had made her bed that morning! That beau made quite an impression on the pretty high school girl.
4. And then there’s the handcrafted valentine I made for my older sister, Shirley, in 1960. It was long on love with a wide array of crayon colors, but short on correct spelling. What’s ironic is little has changed. Shirley proofreads almost everything I write and finds I’m still often challenged when it comes to spelling.
Valentine’s Day dates back to the 5th century and, at first, had nothing to do with love. It wasn’t until the 18th century that couples began to express their love with mementos such as flowers, candy and handcrafted cards. By the 19th century, valentines were mass-produced and, over time, became a fun symbol of affection and friendship that were shared by children and adults alike.
I’m glad we still celebrate Valentine’s Day. How about you?