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.)

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6 Responses to “An Annie Mary Twente valentine mystery”

  1. Dawn Tietz Says:

    What a lucky girl to receive TWO cards for Halloween!! I didn’t receive any this year! One included stickers? And a drawing? Wow, you are lucky!! And you can’t figure out which one is authentic? How could you even wonder? As far as a confession, do you really think you’ll ever get one? Just feel honored for receiving such lovely greetings.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      You have such a positive attitude, Dawn. Of course I should be happy that I received at least two valentines, even if they were from Annie Mary Twente. And, yes, I’ve solved the mystery. I’ve definitely solved the mystery. I learned a thing or two from reading all those Nancy Drew books decades ago.

  2. Miranda Says:

    Hmmm..sounds kind of suspicious, especially since Annie Mary wrote in all caps in one card and caps and lower case in the other. How nice of her to send the stickers, though.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Exactly, Miranda. The lowercase and uppercase signatures, differing return addresses and differing postmarks quickly clued me in to fact that someone is pretending to be Annie Mary Twente. I have my suspicions. Very strong suspicions.

  3. Dawn Tietz Says:

    It sounds to me like Annie’s ghost is now traveling around the area. You just never know where she will pop up next!! Her grave was moved to northern Minnesota wasn’t it? I suppose I should warn Jeff also that she may be in his vicinity!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Yeah, Dawn, Annie could even pop up in Morgan.

      I was just reading about Annie this morning as a friend is working on a book about the Minnesota River valley. She is including a chapter about Annie Mary Twente. I can’t reveal too much, but I promise that you, and your mom, will appreciate the chapter.


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