Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Vintage Valentine Treasures

I love Valentines Day. Could be because my birthday is in February so I consider it "my" holiday, but I think much of it is because it's a day filled with love and a day dedicated to telling others how much we love them. Hopeless Romantic. That's me. Turns out that it's also my grandma.

For as long as I can remember, my grandmother always had fancy candy boxes tucked here and there. She was most defiantly a sugar grandma. She loved her candies. But there was something about these heart shaped boxes decorated with ribbons and trims that even as a young child I knew were special. The candy that they held long gone, she still kept the boxes. They were always there in the bedroom or tucked on a shelf and I can say in all those years, I never asked why she kept them or even bothered to look inside.

Then, a few years back, as my sweet grandmother entered the last years of her long life, we had to go in and clean things out to prepare the house for sale. It was such a sad, hard thing to do for all involved and I couldn't help but think how I would feel if I were the one that wasn't able to care for myself and had no control over people (even if it was family) going through my things. It broke my heart.

When we got around to the pile of candy boxes, something made me look inside. Many were empty, but every one had a note jotted inside in her familiar script telling who gave her the candies and when. Two of the candy boxes held small treasures and as I sifted through the contents I was thrilled to find that she was a hopeless romantic just like me. And very sentimental.

In my mind my grandma was, well, a grandma. Her whole life involved loving on grand-kids, gardening, cleaning and cooking, making sure we all had enough baked goodies to keep us happy. But the day I opened up this Valentine heart......


...I found out that she was also a woman. My grandpa Frank had passed away from cancer in April of 1962, leaving my grandmother alone since both her boys were in the service. I hate to admit that I don't know much about how she and grandpa met or when they married. I do know that after he passed she worked very hard at the local bakery and, as far as I knew, didn't even look at another man until the 1970's when she married Grandpa Mulkey.

But looking though this small collection of treasures, I was thrilled to find that for a period of time in her 50's she was a girl in love. It was a side of my grandma that I had never seen. This heart shaped lace and ribbon trimmed box was filled to the brim with cards, photos of a man I had never seen before and matchbooks with her own little notes...


"Matches he left at the house Dec.18, 1967" and "Left this last night Feb. 25, 1968. He had dinner here...". There were even empty cigarette packages with little slips of paper. My favorite? "I love him so very much. Left this at the house May 22, 1968. We had a wonderful time just talking for hours."

I have several photos of my grandma at all stages at her life, but out of all of them, this is one of my very favorite....


 I found it tucked in the bottom of the box along with a few other photos that she treasured. There she is, as cute as can be in her bakery uniform, a 50 some year old woman so in love that it radiates from her. Around the edge she had written "1967 at 1:45 in the afternoon talking to Bud." Such a beautiful picture of the loving soul that was my grandmother.

I treasure this little box of love and it makes me smile to know how much like her that I am. When I'm gone, my children will find box after box of little love notes that Ken and I have written to each other that I can't bear to throw away. I hope that they sit and read them and feel the love that I had for my sweet husband and marvel at the fact that in my 40's I became a giddy girl in love. The back of this little valentine box of my grandma's sums up the way I feel about the love of my life...


..."how I love that guy, no one will ever know." I've never loved anyone like I love my husband. I like to think that when people see us together they know that we have something very special between us. I'm still amazed that the Universe saw fit to bless me with a man who knows me better than I know myself at times and loves me regardless of my shortcomings.

Wishing you all much love on this Valentines Day. And if you happen to be without a valentine this year, I'm here to let you know without a doubt that it's never to late to find love. My grandma and I are proof positive of that...




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