“Mommy, what is Valentine’s Day?’ Laurie asked. Susan said yesterday that tomorrow would be Valentine’s Day. Is it like Christmas? Is it a birthday? Mother was busy with her Saturday baking, but she talked as she peeled apples for pies. ‘Well, Laurie, I’ll tell you a bit about Valentine’s Day. You are only a little boy yet, and may not understand it all, but this is why we have a Valentine Day.”

“The Guardian,”

13 February 1954.

“Valentine’s Day is a tiny bit like Christmas, for we send valentines to those we like. It is like a birthday too, for we are remembering someone’s birthday. A long, long time ago, in a country far away from here, lived a very kind priest. Whenever there was a child who was sick, Father Valentine, for that was his name, went to visit the child. He would bring a few flowers, or some little gift, to make the sick child happy. Perhaps he would tell a jolly story. Whenever a child was sick, the child would say, ‘I am sure Father Valentine will come to see me today.’ But the kind old man grew too old to go on long walks to see the sick children. Then he wrote little letters and some boy or girl would carry these to the sick child.”

“Father Valentine has been gone a long, long time, but we still remember his birthday by sending Valentines to those we like.”

“Laurie thought for a little while, ‘Could I send a Valentine to Susan? I like her. And to my Daddy? I love him. Baby Linda must have one too. May I send one to Grammie. But what shall I do? I have no Valentines.”

“His mother smiled at his eager little face, with its shining eyes that now sparkled with the new idea. ‘I have some Valentines for you to send. When I finish my baking, we’ll put them into envelopes, and you can be your own mailman and deliver them. Would you like to help me make a surprise for Daddy?”

“Oh yes, yes!’ Laurie clapped his hands and danced up and down. ‘What is it? Is it a Valentine?”

“Here it is,’ said his mother, as she took a big cake out of the cupboard. It had such lovely pink swirly frosting all over it. Laurie’s eyes got bigger and bigger. ‘Oh-h-h,’ he sighed, ‘May we really and truly eat that cake?”

“Certainly,’ laughed his mother. ‘Here, you put these red candles around that line. It will make a red heart on the cake. I’ll put some silver candles to make an arrow.”

“When they were done, Laurie looked at the cake. ‘We made a good job of it, Mommy,’ he said. ‘Won’t Daddy be surprised. That will be a Valentine for the whole family.”

“And it was!”

“A Valentine”

by Constance Heckbert, 1954.

“I called on a little old lady/Just at twilight time,

And she showed me a box of trinkets rare/Among them, an old Valentine.

“And turning to me with a gentle smile she said/ Jim gave me this pretty Valentine Fifty years ago today.”

“And I looked at that little love token/With its cupids and hearts entwined/And across the top was written/ I love you, won’t you be mine.”

“My little old lady is dreaming now/Dreams of the long ago/When she was young and beautiful/And Jim was her handsome beau.”

“And she tenderly kissed that old Valentine/Then carefully laid it away/And I knew her love was as deep and true/Though the years passed since that Valentine Day.”

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