"Mary, Be Mine?" he carefully writes on the card, "From, Charlie". He has just learned cursive and carefully he draws each letter, all the while thinking of his sweetheart. At school the next day he slips the card onto Mary's desk and blushes while she reads it. Maybe she cherishes the clumsy little valentine, saves it forever to remember her first admirer or maybe, years later, she and Charlie are married and she saves the card as a token of their love. Either way, decades later, Charlie's valentine has ended up in an antique store and was bought up by me.
Vintage valentines are some of my favorite pieces of ephemera. Many I have found have been written on, intended for some long gone sweetheart, while some are perfect and to appear to have never been used. All of them are adorable, adorned with kitschy sayings like "I'm flirtin' 'cause I'm certain you'll be mine" or "valentine, I think you're aces!". Each year I send out a few of these old cards to my family. My little cousins, my grandparents and a few friends in far away places find a vintage valentine from me in the mail. I can never bring myself to write on these old cards or to remove the words of the original sender, that's what gives these vintage valentine's their charm.