Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

An overdue valentine February 14, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:08 AM
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A vintage pop-up valentine belonging to my mom.

A vintage pop-up valentine belonging to my mom.

MY FONDEST VALENTINE’S DAY memories are of shoeboxes with slit covers, jars of thick white paste, construction paper hearts, glitter-edged valentines punched from oversized books, gum (preferably Juicy Fruit), and even those chalky conversation hearts (except, please, not a lovey dovey message from the boy I do not like).

Ah, Valentine’s Day as a grade schooler…

Now fast forward decades, when the valentines I give and receive are plucked from store displays. Gone are the creativity, the thought, the time, the effort invested in making homemade valentines.

Until this year. I decided to make valentines for the children of some friends. So I pulled out the red and pink paper, the markers and scissors and tape (no thick paste in gallon jars) to craft individualized valentines. Instead of gum or conversation hearts, I taped foil wrapped chocolate hearts onto the paper hearts. The kids were pleased.

But…at least one dad was not. Seems Jesse felt cheated/neglected/shunned by me. He even emailed to tell me he was bummed about not getting a valentine, but “may get over it by Friday.” Well, then, since he opened that door… Not wanting to permanently damage our friendship, I pulled out the crafting supplies again. I would make a very special valentine for Jesse.

Now, because I did not have this blog post idea until after I completed and mailed the valentine to Jesse, I am relying on memory for the exact wording on the front of the card. But it went something like this:

These heartfelt wishes are long overdue
so I’ve created this valentine just for you

Jesse, you see, is a librarian. I decided to have a little fun following the library theme.

Inside the valentine I taped a print-out designed to look like the print-out I get when checking out books at the local library. Except these aren’t “real” books, although I expect you may find actual volumes with similar titles.

Here’s the mock print-out, which I followed with a “Happy Valentine’s Day, Jesse! Your not-so-secret admirer.”

Checkout Receipt

Faribault Buckham Memorial Library

CALL TO RENEW 334-2089
ON THE WEB: http://www.faribault.org
(click on “Library”)

02/12/13 8:39AM

PATRON: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


The Case of the Missing Valentine 02/14/13
Easy-to-Make Valentines 02/14/13
A Mr. Jess Valentine Mystery: 02/14/13
Book Heist at the Library
A Husband’s Guide: 02/14/13
Best Valentine’s Day Gifts for Your Wife
How to Impress Your Friends with Valentine Poetry


A valentine my son received from his maternal grandparents probably a decade ago.

Jesse has concluded that, because I sent him a valentine, I must like him, just like the sentiments expressed in this valentine from my son’s grade school years.

Apparently my strategy to make amends with Jesse worked. He opened his valentine and then sent this email:

Ah, you like me, you really like me!

Yes, Jesse is a great guy and obviously appreciates my humor. But he also possesses a sense of humor, which you can read about in a previous post. Click here and scroll down to Jesse’s version of Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” painting. Jesse is clever. He is also a dear friend just like his wife, Tammy, for whom I made a sweet valentine lest she, too, feel cheated/neglected/shunned by me.

Dear readers, while I can’t possibly create personalized valentines for each of you, as I did for Jesse and Tammy, my wishes for you on this special day of love and friendship are no less sincere. Have a delightful Valentine’s Day!

And to the special valentine in my life, I direct you to these illustrations from A Husband’s Guide: Best Valentine’s Day Gifts for Your Wife.

Birthday roses from my husband, Randy.

Birthday roses from my husband, Randy.

You can't go wrong with chocolate, like this box from my daughter Miranda on Mother's Day.

You can’t go wrong with chocolate, like this box from my daughter Miranda on Mother’s Day.

Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


26 Responses to “An overdue valentine”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    What a great post~~~ And another thing we have in common——Chris and I have an American Gothic picture that Aaron did for us when we announced our move to Iowa!!!! If I can find it quick I will email it to you!!! Happy Valentine’s Day !!!!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I had so much fun making that valentine for Jesse. He possesses a wonderful sense of humor. Who wouldn’t to have created that “American Gothic” painting. I would love to see that “painting” Aaron created of you and Chris. Perfect for a couple moving to Iowa.

  2. Love the themed valentine! Very heart-felt ;).

  3. Happy Valentine’s Day, Audrey! Your card to Jesse sounds very cute. I am also very impressed by the vintage one.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Happy Valentine’s Day to you also.

      I just love those vintage valentines. I expect, as I write, that my mom has this one and several others displayed in her home.

  4. treadlemusic Says:

    Sometimes it’s just fun to “be a kid again” and haul out the craft making supplies!!! Ahhh, the days when a child could bring special day treats that were home-made rather than the mandatory store-bought/cellophane wrapped variety!! Memories…….good ones and am thankful my/our kids experienced those days!! Hugs……

  5. jhc1218 Says:

    Meghan made some homemade Valentine’s this year for her grandparents, close friends and Jason. I drew the hearts, but she did all the cutting, drawing and gluing. We did resort to store bought cards for her preschool classmates. Happy Valentine’s Day!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Save those homemade ones, because they will be the most precious. I still have a little cut-out paper heart from my classmate Dallas that said “I love you like a little dove.” I should find that. My mom is a saver and I appreciate so much that she saved some of these items from my elementary school days.

      Hugs and Happy Valentine’s Day to you, Jason, Meghan and Kate!

  6. Happy Valentine’s Day, my friend! What a great idea you had for that card!

  7. Carol Allis Says:

    This really struck a chord … had forgotten that my grandmother used to send me hand-made valentines every year until she died. This year I made hand-made valentines for my grandkids — a tradition resurrected.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      So great to read this, that you handcrafted valentines. There’s just something special about a card made with your very own hands.

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