As so many of us have different feelings about the importance of Valentines Day, the fact is it comes rolling around every year in February and some of us have to make important decisions as to how our day is going to turn out! I myself, after being married a few decades, the 14th plays out much differently than it did before we were married or even right after. My wife and I just don’t like cards, and while I know it’s the thought that counts (or so they say), plunking down $5-9 on a card that is going in the trash in a few weeks just seems like money that could be better spent on at least CHOCOLATE!
But not everyone throws those cards away – and one of those people was my beloved late Grandmother. After she passed away we found thousands – yes THOUSANDS – of cards going back of through her lifetime celebrating and commemorating Christmases, birthdays, anniversaries, births, deaths, and VALENTINES! I recently took a closer look at these greeting cards and discovered a massive trove of children’s school cards from the late 1950’s going into the early 1960’s. Most of these cards were given to my father, his brother, and sister during that time. I started scanning them and finished at 223 of these little Valentine’s Day cards!
Sorting though these little pink and red cards brought back memories of my own school time Valentines Day activities decades ago. The teachers REALLY must have gotten off on this holiday or maybe they were just bored between Christmas and Spring Break which hadn’t come yet? But I remember decorating the classroom with construction paper hearts, little hearts with doilies, paper streamers, hanging balloons, door decorations, and most importantly our Valentine’s Day Mailboxes! Yes, we would get really crafty and create little mailboxes for the V-Day card swap out of tissue boxes, small shipping boxes, Quaker Oatmeal cartons, or anything that would hold tiny paper cards that could fit through a slot. We would spend days decorating these things, and I remember being envious of the older kids with more artistic skills than me whose mailboxes looked like they came out of some museum to my eyes! (I’m talking about you RON MULLINS!) That day would finally come when we would swap the little cards in class, take them home and finally open all the tiny white envelopes to see who really wanted to be MINE!
After looking through these vintage mid-century cards in this stash of my Grandma’s, a few things occurred to me. One, many of the cards were simply beautiful and you could tell that some of these artist really loved their work when they painted the originals. As expected space and cowboy themes were very well represented, matching current mid –century TV trends. And the second thing was the lack of licensed characters in the cards. Only one card in this huge lot was licensed art, and it was Dino from Hanna-Barbera’s The Flintstones! This was a great find for me as I absolutely LOVE Hanna-Barbera. But it made me think about when I was giving away these cards in my day and how different it was. Being a kid in the late 70s and early 80s, it was the utmost importance to make sure you had the coolest V-Day cards, so it HAD to be Star Wars, The Super Friends, or some of the Marvel Comic’s best heroes! I remember when my son was doing a school V-Day back in the 2000s how excited we were (ok, maybe really just me) to find a vintage set of unopened Universal Monsters V-day cards for sale on Ebay to use that year! What young school girl wouldn’t be exited to find a Creature from the Black Lagoon or Wolf Man staring back at her?
So finally, if you’ve made it this far in my ramblings about tiny cards being swapped, please enjoy a few selections from this massive lot of cards that I particularly found interesting! ~ Jason