“Without Valentine’s Day, February would be … well, January.” — Jim Gaffigan
Welcome, Gentle Readers to the second exhibit of the Museum of Kat. We are going to be using the Way Back Machine today and I also have the BIG flash light just in case because we are going to the furthest depths of the Museum… watch your step and no lagging, please! Stay with the group so you don’t get lost on the way to our Valentine’s Day Exhibit.
You might think it is curious that we are so fixated on being loving for one day a year and if you do, I think your thoughts are on the right track! One thing I have learned in life… one day does not make love. One day does not make the year special. In fact… I think that how you show love on the other 364 days of the year are far more important than any single Valentine’s Day.
But I digress…today we are going to an exhibit on the Love of Extended Family!
So let’s go back in time… Stay together, please, the Way Back Machine can be fussy and leave some of you in an area that has not been curated… scary places, trust me!
We are going back to in time to a very much younger me…. I think I first realized that Valentine’s Day might be something to take note of was in school. Now I went to school long before anyone worried about a child’s self-esteem… suffice it to say, I never, ever brought Valentine cards to school to share with the other students. I was not the only child in this predicament… but we brought nothing, we were not allowed to participate in the “card exchange.” Sad, I know… but we all survived.
If you look at the sum of this exhibit, you might think it is very sparse on material…and you’d be right. However, it is not sparse on content. The content is incredible and despite the fact that I have been dreading this month’s exhibit because of the lack of content (I honestly worried that I’d have to post the Valentine’s Day cards from my ex… oy! lol)
But I persisted! And on a whim I opened a long forgotten box of things and found some treasures.
Rather than talking only about the treasures… I am going to talk about the treasure givers. I was one very blessed child to have not one, but two incredible and amazing Great-Aunts. My gosh, I loved them so much. Now… I looked high and low through so many boxes for a single picture of my Great-Aunt Sylvia (who lived in Kenosha, Wisconsin almost her entire life) but I could not find any pictures with her. What I do have is this fabulous picture from July 1965… My Nana (on the left) My Grandpa (in the back), and my Great-Aunt Marion (on the right). My sister, Susan, is in my Nana’s arms, and I am standing in front. This picture was taken at my grandparent’s house… and I remember this day very well. Aunt Marion and Aunt Sylvia were my grandpa’s sisters. Aunt Sylvia, was the second child of five, my grandpa was the middle and the youngest of two boys, and Aunt Marion was the fourth child… the second of three girls. (Oldest brother Albert, was named after their father, and youngest sister, Kathryn… who I am named after!) Aunt Marion and Aunt Sylvia were maiden aunts for most of their lives, but then came Uncle Fred Bollendorf. His first wife died, and his second marriage was to my Aunt Marion. We all loved Uncle Fred… he was the perfect addition to our family!
Whenever they came to visit my Nana and Grandpa, I always, always spent the night… and I slept downstairs with Aunt Sylvia. It was the best… that picture above… it was the first time I spent the night and Aunt Sylvia was so worried I would wake up and want to go home. But nope! I spent the entire night and in the morning we are all treated to the absolute best pancakes in the world made by my nana. The memories of time spent with these ladies are some of the sweetest ever and I cherish them!
Aunt Marion and Aunt Sylvia were the only people in my childhood who sent Valentine’s Day cards to us (My mom, dad, sister, and me) At least that is how it started.
Now I am a card saver… I think I have every card I ever received… honestly. So I am not sure what happened to any other cards they absolutely sent. All I have are these four, but I am so happy that I have them!
I have no idea what year this card might have been sent. The envelope is long gone… the price of the card though… 50 cents.
Then we have the cards that were just sent to me! Treasures, I promise you!
Again, I have no idea at all of a date on this card… but I believe this predate’s the “group Valentine” since the price is priceless… a whopping 15 cents!
Finally we have a card with some dates! Aunt Marion sent this in 1974 (I guess by age 13, I knew who was sending me this particular Valentine, but I love the “Guess Who”). It included a Love Stamp that in February 1974 was 8 cents. I know… it seems insane to me!
Finally, I have one single solitary card from Aunt Sylvia, which seems unlikely to me because I have dozens and dozens of letters from her. But one card was all I manage to save…
Suffice it to say that flowers for Valentine’s Day are lovely and chocolate is too! But nothing beats these little bits of sunshine that I had all but forgotten from my childhood.
I hope you have some little bits that make you smile on Valentine’s Day too!
Thank you so much for visiting this very nostalgic exhibit. Now, if you all stay together once again the Way Back Machine will get us back to the present day! I so appreciate your taking the time to stop and listen today!
A big thanks to Kym for being the Master Curator for these posts!
Happy Early Valentine’s Day and I will see you all back here on Monday!