100 Year-Old Valentine


My grandmother saved everything! This is actually a good thing for me. She had an amazing, adventurous life, but I never got the opportunity to really get to know her “in person” because she lived far away from us (she lived in metro-D.C., we were in Georgia). Our visits with her were few, and she passed away when I was six. So the only way I have been able to really know about her is through all of the interesting things she saved.

One day, as I was looking through a box of her old report cards from grade school, I found this handmade Valentine she had saved. It was given to her by a friend named “Edith.”  It’s on an old piece of card-stock, written in pencil, so it is very faded. It isn’t dated, but it was with other items dated as early as 1910. She would have been twelve years-old at that time.

The card reads:

To My Valentine
“The red hearts take without return
The green with envy always burns
The blue are cold and small
The gold ask nothing but gives all.”

The hearts are obviously hand-cut and are threaded on a piece of string. Since there is not a gold paper heart, I have always imagined that there was a charm threaded onto the string, perhaps a heart-shaped button. Of course, the charm is something I have concocted in my head and was not necessarily the case, but it warms my heart to think there was a sweet gift that went along with the card.

Whatever the gold heart was, whoever Edith was, this Valentine has been kept safe for a century or more- a sign of enduring friendship, a friendship my grandmother obviously felt was as valuable as gold.

As I have gotten older, I have learned that such friendships are very valuable. I have also realized that I have wasted a lot of years waiting for such friendships to come and find me. Now, I have come to understand that I am to be the gold- the person who asks nothing but gives all. I think it’s quite an honor that “Edith” valued my grandmother as that kind of friend. I hope I can live up to that same standard.


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