Looking through valentines in a trunk

By Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel

b. 1918, d. 2007


ValentineDogMaybe I am only a sentimental fool. Why would a woman save valentines all these years?

Here is one from 1928, beautiful little girl with apple cheeks holding a big heart for her valentine. The whole idea sets me off remembering children.

Some could buy valentines, some could not.

That little orphan Eddie always looked for a valentine from his real mother, but, of course, it never came.

He longed for her so much, one day he made her a valentine on a piece of cardboard. He used a big, fine feather as a quill and wrote with red cake coloring. His aunt wasn't even around to see him at it. He was just learning to read, and I helped him spell out MAMA, I LOVE YOU. We didn't know he put it in the mailbox until the rural carrier picked it up.

Why on earth do I carry the burden of that child around with me? All I know to do is put him back in this trunk with the past.


About Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel

Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel’s poetry and fiction recount her long, colorful story and those of the times and places she lived, from the Oklahoma Dust Bowl to the California Central Valley. It’s there that her family settled, and she picked produce for the tables of the landed gentry as she gathered the words that became her art. Read more about Elizabeth here.

1919 valentine courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress