Valentine’s Day: You can be in love and still sorta hate it

14 Feb

I’m not a huge fan of Valentine’s Day, and yet I collect vintage valentines. It’s a weird dichotomy, I know. A few years ago, I inherited a bunch of old scrapbooks from my great aunt. She had amassed some beautiful cards, letters, and valentines throughout her long life and had the foresight to keep them neatly organized in a scrapbook. She didn’t set out to collect vintage things, but she was born in 1898 and it just so happens that the stuff you collect in the early part of your 89 years  eventually becomes “vintage” shortly after you die. Funny how that works. But I love everything about those old valentines. I love their designs and colors, their fonts, even their inscriptions.

So, why do I have this “bad blood” with Valentine’s Day? I mean, I have been married for 13 years, I love my husband, I always get something nice from him every Valentine’s Day. What’s my problem?

1. The holiday is exclusive. One might say, well, Valentine’s Day isn’t just a day to express romantic love. Bullshit. People are throwing it in your face all day long, usually young couples or old ones who feel the need to validate their crumbling relationships through your uncomfortable discussion with them over top of the four dozen roses teetering on the edge of their desk. Yes, I see them. I can barely see YOU, but I see the flowers.

2. It makes your dating (or general relationship) life a living hell. Did you get (or give) wayyy to much stuff…or too little. Is it too early in our relationship to celebrate? What does it mean if we don’t celebrate? I mean, it’s just a mess.

3. I don’t like that there is a day to do what you should be doing all year, every day. Tell people that you love them or like them any day. With or without a conversation heart to help you out.


4. The onslaught of social media photos and broadcasts of gifts and sentiments is unbearable. For the record, I am really happy when people are in solid relationships, I am. In fact, I wish more people were in healthy, stable relationships. I probably even like the fact that you received special things today because I love you and you are my friend! I just feel that posting about all the things you got or how much you love someone is inconsiderate to so many others today. You should enjoy it. You really should. Bask in it, bask the shit out of it. But you should also enjoy it privately. It’s yours. Think of all the people you know that don’t have anyone, or are going through a difficult divorce, or recently lost their husband or wife. Celebrate your love, but think of others who don’t have anyone. You wouldn’t go tap dancing around a wheelchair convention, would you?

My son Paul's favorite part of the holiday is eviscerating a shoe box with a knife to accommodate classmate's cards and treats.

My son Paul’s favorite part of the holiday is eviscerating a shoe box with a knife to accommodate classmates’ cards and treats.

Now there are things about Valentine’s Day I like. I enjoy buying my family little gifts. I like helping my kids prepare treat bags and seeing all the valentines they bring home. I like funny and super awesome Valentine’s Day cards. I even–yes–like to get gifts (gasp). But really, I just like collecting old valentines.

This one just sounds like a threat circa 2013.

This one just sounds like a threat circa 2013.

Some of the valentines I’ve collected are funny, others just beautiful. The following valentine always intrigued me, since it totally alluded to gettin’ it on–olden days style. However, I could never quite figure out what “sterilize” might mean in this context. Who was the “speaker” in this situation? Is the woman or the man initiating the request to “get busy”? What were “sterilization” methods for each gender around this time? Did this “procedure” take place in Salem, Ohio? So weird.

Be My Sterile Valentine

Be My Sterile Valentine

I’m hoping any reproductive rights specialists or just some crazy polymath can shed some light on this little card.

Oh, and Happy February 14th!!! I love you!

11 Responses to “Valentine’s Day: You can be in love and still sorta hate it”

  1. Kristen Albright February 14, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

    Happy VanHalentine’s Day, Al. Great post, as always.

    • motherallie February 14, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

      I laughed out loud! Thanks, have a good Lent, K!

  2. kenn February 15, 2013 at 1:53 am #

    Yeah. That was awesome. I’m glad we’re internet friends:)

    • motherallie February 15, 2013 at 3:44 am #

      WHERE THE F HAVE YOU BEEN!!!!!!!???? I was worried about you, glad to hear from you! Message me when you get a chance!

      • kenn February 17, 2013 at 12:45 am #

        Can you see the email addy I used to comment here? Ill explain everything whrn we connect!!

      • kenn February 17, 2013 at 1:01 am #

        Can you see my email from your end?

      • motherallie February 17, 2013 at 3:21 am #

        Nope. Drop me a line at when you get a chance. Hope everything’s ok.

  3. Lisa February 16, 2013 at 10:26 am #

    your scored a great collection of cards from your aunt. i love those older cards because some of them are just sinister and creepy – which is why i love dirty old forgotten things (sigh!). hope you had a great v-day!

    • motherallie February 16, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

      Yes, I love those things too! It’s kind of funny, because my great aunt never had her own biological children. Well, that’s not funny, but…stick with me here 🙂 She was married twice as an older woman (in her late 50’s and 60’s) and had some step children and grandchildren that she adored, even though I don’t think her sentiments were exactly reciprocated. She was a really interesting and wonderful woman, an early feminist with a sense of adventure and lifelong learning. She had traveled extensively during her life and even attended college in the 20’s, which wasn’t exactly commonplace. After she died and the will was settled (she was awesome enough to include my mother), her step-family pillaged through her house and things and afterwards, told her remaining biological family (me and a few others) that we could “pick” through the rest. Can you believe that I found all of these scrapbooks in a GARBAGE bag on her front porch to be thrown out? Years of travel scrapbooks, college mementos, wedding cards, personal letters, Glenshaw history, like vintage ladies calling cards of ladies whose last names were now on many of the streets and roads in the area (Glenshaw, PA is where both she and I grew up!), pictures, and family history: going into the trash. It was heartbreaking, but luckily it ended well. I really loved her and I am sure she would be happy that I became, in a way, the curator of a life’s collection that those she felt close to were discarding. Kismet, huh? I’ll share more stuff from them later, I think you will like it! Maybe I should’ve added THIS part of the story to this post. 🙂

      • Connie Stover February 19, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

        Hi! I lived in Glenshaw too, and pretty much still do as we still live in the same school district.
        Do you have the book “Images of America GLENSHAW” by Violet F. Rowe? I wonder if your great aunt is in it!?!?!

      • motherallie February 20, 2013 at 1:02 am #

        I have seen that book! It’s a really neat little read, and I especially liked the info about John Shaw. As a young boy in the 30’s, my grandfather used to do yardwork for his descendents (two sisters I believe) at their big old house on Butler Plank. I always heard stories from him that they let him look in their attic at antiques and old civil war relics from family members–pretty cool for a little kid. Makes me think that enjoying looking at cool, old things must be genetic! Unfortunately, Aunt Anne Grau didn’t make the cut in the book 🙂 Her mother was a Sutter and their original homestead is still there on Mt. Royal Boulevard, as you’re getting onto E. Sutter Road. (an old white farmhouse). I’ll have to scan some of the old calling cards she saved (probably her mother’s). You will recognize many of the ladies’ last names. Nice to hear from someone with Glenshaw ties!

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