Valentine’s Day is a day of love for everyone, especially our Moms.
We are barely a couple of days into the new year and already stores are stocking their shelves with Valentine candies and gifts. Love will soon be in the air all over the world in a few weeks.
Everyone has fond memories of Valentine’s past. My first memories of Valentine’s Day date back to 1960, when I was in the first grade at St. Michael’s School. The day before Valentine’s Day, Mom took me to the “Kress Chiquita” downtown at the corner of Flores and West Commerce to purchase a 29¢ red cellophane covered cardboard box full of Valentine’s Day cards for my classmates. I carefully inspected the variety of boxes and chose mine. Mom also treated me to a 10¢ bag of hot popcorn!
I enjoyed my popcorn and treasured box of Valentine cards as we rode the Nolan bus home. Once home, I quickly opened it and laid out the cards on the bed. Colorful little cards galore with cute caricatures of children, cowboys, cowgirls animals and envelopes. There was one card that was bigger and it was for my first grade teacher, Sister Mary Laura, CDP. In my best penmanship I quickly began to print names on the envelopes and messages on the cards for my classmates. I thoroughly sealed them.
The next day at school after the 8am Mass we exchanged envelopes in class. We would all shuffle around and leave envelopes on each other’s desk. We’d then go one by one, rank and file and present Sister Mary Laura her Valentine card.
Sister Laura then took out a box of oatmeal & pecan cookies that my Mom had made the day before and gave a cookie to everyone along with a bottle of chocolate milk and paper straw. The paper straw wrappers began flying across the classroom.
Mom was a room mother and whatever Sister Laura requested, Mom always came thru for her. I liked that Mom was a room mother, that meant that I got to enjoy extra goodies that she made for the class!
After school at home I’d read the Valentine’s cards I had received over and over, especially the ones from my pretty classmates!
I was 8 years old when I received my first piece of official United States mail. The envelope was addressed to me and postmarked from Valentine, Texas. I opened it and found a beautiful Valentine card of a young cowgirl lassoing a cowboy and it read “Be my Valentine!” and it was mysteriously signed, “Love, Your Secret Admirer.” I was puzzled, who sent me this card? Immediately everyone became a Valentine suspect. With card & envelope in hand I questioned everyone in the neighborhood but to no success. Just who was my “Secret Admirer” from Valentine, Texas?
As the years went by I kept on receiving these secret Valentine cards. Until one day I uncovered the evidence!
I was 14 years old and my Mom had left on the dining room table, stamped Valentine cards addressed to me and others in a large open envelope that was addressed to the Postmaster, Valentine Texas. I put everything together and made her confess. Mom lovingly pleaded guilty. Mom told me she had read an article in a national magazine some years back and decided to send out her “secret Valentines cards”.
Mom was a kind and gentle woman, always seeing the good in the world and sharing it with me. Not a day went by that she didn’t spread her love and kindness. She once told me, “Why does Valentine’s Day just have to be one day? It should be everyday son!”
My lifelong “Secret Admirer” went to heaven in 2018. Mom passed away peacefully in her home. Mom had Alzheimer’s and I was her caregiver for eight years. Everyday with her was a blessing and a labor of love. Caring for her made me a better human being. Today I share with you Mom’s Valentine spirit.
If you are blessed to have your Mom, this Valentines Day, go see her, hug her, call her, send her flowers. I surely wish I could. Your Mom is your first Valentine.
Affectionately through the years I have kept up this tradition of love.
In 2005, I took Mom to that mythical place called Valentine, Texas. We spent a couple of hours there. The town of Valentine,Texas is humble, the Valentinians are warm and wonderful people. Valentine got its name from a Southern Pacific Railroad construction crew, which reached the site Feb. 14, 1882. Trains first arrived in 1883 and the first post office was established in 1886. It’s the only adobe post office in Texas. This little village has the biggest heart in Texas when it comes to Valentine’s Day.
Now let me tell you how to send your special Valentines cards postmarked from Valentine, Texas!
With technology now, so many Valentine’s messages are sent via email, I call that the lazy way. Why not send an old fashioned snail mail Valentine card! Nothing compares to receiving a card addressed to your loved ones with a personal handwritten message.
Here’s all you need to do:
Love is in the air all year in Valentine, TX. And for a few weeks every February, Valentine’s Day greeting cards also fill the air at the Valentine Post Office.
For years, the Valentine Post Office has offered a customized pictorial postmark to add extra thoughtfulness to that special Valentine. A new postmark design is selected every year from a contest held among local Valentine students.
Hopeless romantics have been sending valentines to the Valentine Post Office for decades. Due to the post office’s remote location, most requests are received by mail from all over the country, as well as several requests each year from other countries around the world.
A mail-in request is simple. Address the card to that special person, affix a First-Class Mail postage stamp, like the Love 2022 Forever Stamp, and put it into a larger envelope, also with appropriate postage. Address the larger envelope to:
311 W CALIFORNIA AVE VALENTINE, TX 79854-9998
The Valentine, TX, Postmaster, who is a 2001 winner of the postmark design contest, will hand-cancel every valentine. As many as 12,000 valentines in one year have been received requesting this very special cancellation.
In order to make sure greeting cards receive the special postmark and are delivered in time for Valentine’s Day, requests should be sent to the address above by Feb. 5.
There is no charge to customers for requesting up to 50 Valentine, TX, pictorial postmark cancellations. Customers submitting requests for more than 50 cancellations will be charged five cents for each additional cancellation.
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
You have enough time, now do it!
Happy Valentine’s day!
Share the love!
Rick Melendrez, is a native San Antonian. Melendrez considers himself fortunate to have been born in San Antonio, just 3 blocks from the San Antonio de Valero mission (the Alamo) at the former Nix hospital on the riverwalk and to have attended Catholic grade school on the southside and on the riverwalk.
Catholic education is very close to his heart. Melendrez attended St. Michaels for five years (1960-65) and then attended St. Mary’s School on the riverwalk (1965-68) and onto Cathedral high school in El Paso, Texas.
He is the former publisher of the El Paso Citizen newspaper and former chairman of the El Paso County Democratic Party. He writes a page on Facebook titled “Sister Mary Ruler, Growing Up Catholic In San Antonio”. Everyone is invited to read about the San Antonio of the 1960’s
You may contact Melendrez via email at
or by phone,