Between my mother and father, Valentine Day fell on the 9th of February–and March, and June, and July, and August, and every other month. Here they are a few years before they met in 1933.
Here’s a letter my father wrote to me in 1945. He had a job that kept him “on the road” most of the time, and faithfully wrote letters home. Mother and I and my baby brother were living in Killbuck, Ohio at the home of my grandmother. I think of this letter explaining their unique Valentine Day as a love letter to my mother–disguised as a letter to their nearly six-year-old daughter.
A Few Notes:
- There are a couple more paragraphs about the snow, and telling me to be a good girl and play with my brother, and saying when he will be home.
- Mother explained that the drama club was one of the ways the young people of Killbuck found to entertain themselves during the Great Depression when they could not afford to pay for entertainment.
- “Bobby” is my cousin Robert J. Anderson, son of William J. Anderson whose letter from the Pacific we saw earlier. In one of my Grandmother Vera’s letters, she had mentioned Bobby putting on a show for the family, mimicking Hitler, so he was quite the performer.
- “…like she helped you learn your speeches to say at church.” I don’t recall speeches plural, although I know that kids had to memorize Bible verses and sometimes recite them in church. But the one I do remember is learning “Now I am Six” from A.A. Milne’s series of Pooh Bear books. Mother did a good job. Sixty-plus years after reciting that poem for the Lady’s Aid Society at the church, I can still recite it.
- “…go off in a corner of the basketball floor”. The school in Kilbuck had a small multi-purpose auditorium with only room for a basketball court. For basketball games, seating was in a balcony on one side of the court. On the other side of the court, there was a stage, raised about four feet above the main floor. For basketball games, people would sit on bleachers on the stage. When plays were performed on the stage, folding chairs were set up on the basketball floor (I can see basketball coaches everywhere shrinking back in horror!) as well as the seating in the balcony. The school was built in the twenties, and when I went to high school there in the fifties, performing in class plays, the set up was still the same.
- “get nerve enough”. Not only was she an authority figure–a teacher, and he was working at odd jobs, but she was two and a half years older than he was.
- The mustache. Not only did Daddy never sport a mustache again–I have found no photos of him with a mustache. Mother REALLY didn’t like mustaches!
The Ninth of the month continued to be a Valentine day they marked the rest of their lives. And we celebrated their 50th anniversary in June 1989.