Posted in holidays, photography, Valentine's Day

Vintage valentines

It’s possible a Valentine greeting may come your way this week.

Even though Papa and I don’t really celebrate this holiday called Valentine’s Day, I do pull out a couple of simple decorations to add a bit of color to this drab winter month. By now, I start growing a tad weary of wintery and snowman decorations and am ready to relegate them back to their storage bin.

After purchasing Valentine greetings to send to our three grandchildren, I began thinking about how that tradition of sending cards began so I researched the subject. Because I have four vintage Valentines that are little treasures to me, I wondered when sending valentines became “a thing.”  

Two of my vintage valentines appear to have been attached to the front of another card, which is missing, probably destroyed in some way. The other two are still intact and considering the ages of all four, they are surprisingly in good shape.

In the late 1700s, Valentine greetings were handwritten expressions of love and mysteriously signed, “Your Valentine.” But in Europe and the United States by the mid-19th century, especially around the year 1850, pre-made Valentine greetings began to be marketed and become quite popular.

From a couple of articles I read, the themes and styles of those cards were particular to a certain time frame or era. For example, valentine greetings from the early Victorian times of 1850-1880 included single-sided cards made from die-cut paper lace or fabric lace. Often pieces of ribbon or silk were fashioned on the cards or flowers and leaves made of silk or paper were used. Some greetings were hand-painted designs, and some had flaps on them that could be lifted.

From the 1880’s into 1900, Valentine greeting cards were mass produced and printed by means of color lithography. (Merriam-Webster definition: a method of printing from a flat surface (such as a smooth stone or a metal plate) that has been prepared so that the ink will only stick to the design that will be printed.)

Valentines made during this era included postcards, cards that opened, fan-shaped cards, and pop-up type of cards using honeycomb paper. Often those cards’ motifs were hearts, birds, flowers, and cherubs and valentines became more popular to purchase and send.

By the onset of the 20th century, more modern themed valentine cards were printed in different shapes and more detail. Some even depicted pictures of movie stars on them. Using word play with clever puns also became popular.  

After perusing this information, I surmised that the four vintage cards I have are probably from the time frame of the late 1890’s, the early 1900’s, and 1920’s.

The first two cards pictured below are remnants from larger cards as each bears a glue mark on the backside.  This one has a color lithograph of flowers and a woman’s hand upon which a dove is perched. That piece is cut out and glued onto a scalloped rectangular-shaped piece of punched cardboard. It bears this message: “Only happy hours.

This next card remnant is a tiny pale pink paper envelope with a glossy, color lithograph of a man’s hand extending a spray of flowers and a painted scene declaring the words “To my friend” glued onto the scalloped flap of the envelope. The envelope itself is glued onto a scalloped rectangular embossed paper. And that piece must have been on the front of a larger card.

Valentine number three is a scalloped card that actually opens up. On the outside, a paper lace overlay covers the front of the card. A young child peeks out through a “window” in the lace and in addition to the “portrait,” the gold printed card has white hearts on it, pink roses, and in one corner colorful butterflies and in the opposing corner, more pink roses. The inside sentiment reads: “Oh this would be a happy day, If you would but be mine. And if you’d very kindly say, You’d be my Valentine.” On the back is printed Whitney Made Worcester Mass. Made in USA.

My last little treasure is a cut-out stand-up card with the greeting “With Love To My Valentine.” It is more intricate and detailed and again features a young child surrounded by hearts and flowers. On the fold-out bottom which acts as a stand for the card it reads “To my Sweetheart.” On the back, Made in Germany is printed.

I’m certain my little Valentine treasures aren’t worth much, but I like them and keep them encased in a sealed plastic baggie to protect them. If I were clever, I’d figure out a way to display them that wouldn’t harm them in any way, but I’m not that crafty. If you have any suggestions for me, please let me know in the comment section below.

And in the meantime, may your Valentine’s Day remind you that you are loved, whether you receive a greeting card or maybe even a little bit of chocolate or not.

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” ~ Charles M. Schulz

© 2021

Posted in Love, Valentine's Day

Word of the day: Love

blogDSCN8698It’s Valentine’s Day.  The day we celebrate love.

Love, love, love.  It’s everywhere today.  Hearts and flowers.  Big red heart-shaped candy boxes. 

Yes, there will be gifts galore.   Jewelry, chocolates, red roses, stuffed animals, heart-laden cards, and fancy dinners.

 Who doesn’t love love and all it brings?  Who doesn’t love Valentine’s Day?

I’ll tell you who.  Those who feel unloved, that’s who.  Those who are lonely on this day and every day.  Those who have lost their loved ones.  Those who are burdened.

Valentine’s Day always brings romantic love to mind, but really it should be a day that we demonstrate love.  Period.  Love to everyone.  Kind of like that old 60’s song, “Put A Little Love in Your Heart.”

“Think of your fellow man; lend him a helping hand,

Put a little love in your heart.

You see it’s getting late;  oh, please don’t hesitate

Put a little love in your heart.

And the world will be a better place; and the world will be a better place

For you and me.  You just wait and see.”

I recall how my daughters disliked Valentine’s Day before they met their beloved ones.  Their friends with boyfriends reveled in valentine wishes, balloons, and gifts and my girls couldn’t wait for the day to end.  They certainly weren’t unloved because we loved them dearly, but romantic love seemed to rule the day, and it still does.

My beloved, my husband of 35 years, and I ceased bestowing valentines on each other years ago.  Neither one of us requires a gift to prove love for each other.  To us, the gift of spending time together means much more.

So there won’t be hearts and flowers or even chocolate candy dispensed at our house…well, there might be some chocolates pulled out of the kitchen pantry to share.  But love means much more than candy.

I read a newspaper article (yes, I’m a dinosaur who still reads my news in print form) this week about reaching out, especially on this day, to the unloved, the lonely, and those who’ve lost their beloved ones.  It made me think.  What if we did put a little love in our hearts by serving others?  You know, take that love and spread it around to our fellow humans….put a little love in someone else’s heart?

There’s an old saying that love isn’t love until you give it away.

So what if instead of spending ridiculous amounts of money on Valentine’s Day cards and gifts, we shared our love by donating money to a worthy cause in our loved one’s name? What if we called that friend who’s feeling lost, lonely, or unloved today and told her/him how much we care?

We can hand over gifts or donate to charity, but if we do so without love, it means nothing. We really have to have love in our hearts!

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 says,  “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

Verses 4-8 tells us, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.   Love never fails.”

When I teach young people about relationships, I tell them that love is an action word.  And the best way to test whether you practice love for another is to insert your name in place of the word ‘love’ in that passage of scripture.

So if I truly have love in my heart, I should be able to say, “Cindy [my name, but you can insert yours] is patient, Cindy [your name] is kind.  Cindy does not envy, Cindy does not boast, Cindy is not proud.  Cindy does not dishonor others, Cindy is not self-seeking, Cindy is not easily angered, Cindy keeps no record of wrongs.  Cindy does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  Cindy always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

And when I do all of that, put love in my heart and spur it into action,  I can truly say “Love never fails.”

It’s Valentine’s Day.  The day of love.  I’m writing it on my heart that today is the best day of the year because I love and am loved, but even more than that, I can put a little love in the heart of someone else.

May you love and be loved this day and be encouraged to put love into action.