Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

An Annie Mary Twente valentine mystery February 17, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 11:09 AM

VALENTINE’S DAY came and went this year without a single valentine for me. Well, I suppose I should count the small bag of peanut M & Ms my husband handed me on Sunday and the caramel rolls and apple-walnut cinnamon bread he bought for me at The Brick Oven in Northfield on Saturday. Thank you, Randy. All are delicious.

But, I never got a valentine card, from anyone. That is, until yesterday.

Two cards arrived in the mail, one postmarked “St. Cloud, MN.” and the other postmarked “Vesta, MN.” However, they bore similar return addresses, if you could call these addresses: “AM, Morgan.” and “A.M. 56292.” It appears to me as though A.M. is attempting to conceal her true identity and whereabouts.

I, of course, suspect immediately that this mail has come from the ghost of Annie Mary Twente, a 6-year-old who fell into a coma and was buried alive near Hanska in 1886. She has taunted me for decades by sending an annual Halloween card. However, just recently, her haunting has become more frequent. At Christmas, I received a gift from Annie. And now the two valentines with handwriting and postmarks that clearly indicate two senders.

Let me explain. In one valentine, A.M. writes this message, “I still miss you!” with her signature in capital letters, “ANNIE MARY.”

In the other, she simply signs, “Love, Annie Mary.” But, she also drew a quick sketch of an old-fashioned wooden swing hung from a tree. That freaks me a bit because of a tale I heard once of Annie’s ghost swaying in just such a swing.

Valentine greetings from the ghost of Annie Mary Twente. Which is authentic?

And then, to taunt me even more, the valentine features a mouse on the cover. Little Annie sent me a plastic mouse at Christmas. I presume that somehow she uncovered information about my extreme dislike of rodents.

She also includes stickers that plead: “Be Mine!” As if I’m going to be the valentine of a little ghost girl.

Obviously, I have a Nancy Drew style mystery on my hands. Annie doesn’t know this, but I love mysteries, always have. I’m comparing the handwriting and messages in past cards to these valentines. I think I have solved the mystery.

One of these “Annie Marys” is certainly an impostor. And I think I know which one. But I’ll hold my accusations for now and hope for a confession.

In the meantime, I need to warn my Aunt Marilyn, who lives in Vesta, that Annie Mary has been in my hometown. Likewise, I’ll warn my cousin Dawn, who lives in Morgan, that Annie Mary has also been in her community.

I’ll get to the bottom of this mystery. And if I need to call in a handwriting expert to prove my case, I will.

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

(Be sure to read my previous posts about Annie Mary Twente, published on November 4, 2009, and December 23, 2009.)