My Punny Valentine

Since for me you were born too soon / And I for you was born too late / God forgives him who has estranged / Me from you for the whole year / I am already sick of love / My very gentle Valentine.

Written from prison in 1415 by Charles, the Duke of Orléans, to his wife
(and considered the very first written Valentine)

Nothing so dramatic is imbued in the modern Valentine’s Day cards below as compared to the Valentine’s poem Charles, the Duke of Oléans, wrote after he was imprisoned during the Battle of Agincourt. Sadly, Charles spent 25 years in prison and his wife died while he was in there. He wrote hundreds of poems and love letters while he spent those decades in prison; much of that writing was compiled into The Poems of Charles of Orléans.

About 550 years after that first Valentine was written, I was a kid, and I used to look forward to Valentine’s Day with great anticipation. I’d bring my bag of Valentines to school, with one signed for each kid in the class. And although the nuns would try to enforce the one-kid-one-card rule, they couldn’t enforce the quality of the cards. Back then, each pack of Valentines (I think there must have been 50 in a pack) had one larger Valentine. If you were sweet on someone, they’d get the bigger card. It was a big deal. Alas, I never got a big Valentine.

Those nostalgic days are gone. But happily, Valentine’s cards aren’t. Here’s a selection of Valentine’s cards from the here and now. And as far as I know, no one sent one from prison. (Although that would be kinda cool.)

By the way, as I was writing this I was thinking about Valentine’s songs. And you know what’s one of the worst songs ever written? It’s Frank Sinatra singing My Funny Valentine. Who in the effing hell thought that was a good song? Or that negging some nice person on Valentine’s Day would be charming? Not me.

A classic from Albert & Magda (I think Maggie wrote it)
Sheryl and I were a lot younger when we met
IndySuz made a very nice handmade Valentine with this Pantone postcard
A nice LouPaper card from Louise. Now I want some of those candy hearts.
Bean sent Bluebirds of Happiness. Did you know the origins of Valentine’s goes back to the observation this is breeding season for birds?
Kirsten & Lucy sent happy cats. Purr.
Nikita sent this a while ago about Rocky Horror Picture Show. But now I say, Happy VD.
When I got this sawtooth Rifle Paper postcard from Tracy in Michigan, I thought I hadn’t seen one like that.
But then, voila! This one came from Melissa in Italy. Double sawtooth Valentine’s Day.
Janet asks, “What is Cupid’s favorite band?” She answers, “KISS. Duh.” Haha.
Heres the spirit of the day from Katrinka at Sugar & Kiki. It’s about connections.
And this lagniappe from Sugar & Kiki is an extra postcard!
This is a special Matthew Kirscht (2022) limited edition of 36 that melds two holidays

Happy Valentine’s Day to you. I hope you find connections every day of the year.

8 comments on My Punny Valentine

  1. When I was 9 I got a teacher card from one of those packs. To this day I remember who gave it to me. I was very tall for my age and nearly as tall as our (shortish) female teacher…also I was super smart and had just skipped a grade so this boy probably figured it was appropriate and he was from a large family that probably had limited valentine packs to send out. I was horribly embarrassed at the time and this is the first time I’ve shared this story. Also, I never got a big card either…skipping a grade makes one hella socially akward.

    1. Frank says:

      Awkward. Basically, whenever I see those things asking if we would chose to go back to those days my answer is always no.

      Those large cards…I guess they were for the teacher? I dunno…

  2. Ana says:

    Oh, what a nice thing it is Valentine’s Day. We are kinda appropriating the thing, but now. I have only heard about it on movies before. I bet I would have cried a lot with the card thing at school. Haha
    Charles was a good writer. I liked that quote very much.
    And look at all those great cards, like you said, you are connected to a lot of beautiful people. It is what the day is about, I like that.

    1. Frank says:

      That Charles quote really struck me. What a history he had — 25 years in prison. And he wrote hundreds and hundreds of letters that still exist.

      That Valentine’s handout was scarring for everyone. Kids can be endlessly cruel…and that’s just one more chance.

      I feel happy for the nice connections out there in the world.

      1. Nikita says:

        I’m not a huge Valentine’s fan- but this post taught me cool new info. I’m from the generation where teachers made kids give every single person an identical Valentine card, like they could have different designs but no giving one kid a fancy ass hallmark card and everyone else gets a cut apart kid Valentine. I think it may have made me too soft or given me unrealistic expectations in life. Haha Somehow I think holidays like this just don’t end up making people feel like winners. HOWEVER Rocky Horror makes everything better.

        1. Frank says:

          RHPS for sure! When I added that link I listened to Lips…then pretty soon I was listening to the entire playlist.

          And screw the trauma of Valetines handouts at school. I think we all ended up scarred from it. Ugh!

  3. Teresa Edmunds says:

    Wonderful postcards! My family couldn’t afford purchased valentines when I was growing up so I made all of mine year after year. They improved as I got older. I don’t think the kids appreciated it then but now handmade cards would be the rage! And I admit, I would’ve spend a little extra time on the cards for the boys I had a crush on.

    1. Frank says:

      So interesting. I’m not sure where my family got the money to buy a box of Valentines now that I think of it. But we also had Paas dyes fro our Easter eggs, too. It was that era. Good memory about making special ones.

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