Valentine’s Day wasn’t always such a commercial focus. Here are samples of hearts and love that show a different side of February 14th.
This 1920s boudoir pillow covering was never completed. From the outline, you can see that it was a kit. I have many aprons, linens and laundry items where the image is dyed and only the outlines need to be embroidered. Her stitches are so tiny and immaculate – this would have been the most enchanting cover. Always I wonder why such a project was abandoned. Perhaps it was for a friend’s bridal shower, and she was a tad envious. Perhaps she put it away, intending to sew it for her own dressing room and forgot about it. Whatever the reason, her heart was not into this project.
1943, with our men at war, we wore our hearts on the home front
This poem from 1943 may seem silly, but she is sending a valentine to her husband, who is fighting in the war.
The most popular boy in his 1949 elementary school with his Valentine haul.
Cookie cutter turns a canned cranberry blob into a dinner love fest.
1950s porcelain heart plate with very risque poetry for the times!
Never, ever too old for romance!!
“I’m trying to recall the last time you nibbled my ear.”
In 1971, I decided that Mr. Right was not riding the subways of New York City. My plan for discovering his whereabouts was to move as far west from NYC as possible, while still remaining in the United States, and begin journeying east. I relocated to Hawaii with my bicycle, a backpack and a lot of hope in my heart.
Within a day of landing, I was job hunting. Riding my bike along the busy streets of Waikiki, I stopped at the International Market Place, a shopping center of sorts.
Interviewing with the center’s management, my background in fashion illustration was interpreted as advertising expertise. Too polite to correct the misunderstanding, I was hired as a graphic artist to create the Market Place’s newspaper ads.
New to the locale and position, I was encouraged to wander the Market for inspiration.
Filled with individual specialty shops, hula demonstrations on the hour, abundant alcohol and vacationing tourists, the atmosphere was of a very happy place. The vibe of excitement and enticement reminded me of Bendel’s, which I attempted to interpret for an ad campaign.
At my dismissal meeting, it was noted that after just two weeks on the job, everyone was sad to see me go, and as a last hurrah, an evening at the famous Don Ho show was in order. No firing was ever so gloriously celebrated.
A year later, I stopped in to say goodbye to my friends in management. As a parting gift, I received a letter of recommendation. In Denver, I used that reference to land a job and by New Year’s Eve, had met Mr. Right.
It’s forty-two years since my quest for true love took me to Hawaii, and with New Year’s Eve on the cusp, champagne is on the brain, which reminds me of Don Ho singing Tiny Bubbles.
Sentimental of those days, I googled the International Market Place, and not a day too soon, for in a blink, the landmark will be no longer. By 8 p.m. on Dec. 31, “…every cart, shop, kiosk, dive bar, hole-in-the-wall eatery and fortune-teller’s booth at the Market Place must clear out and construction of the newest mall will begin.”
The loss of the Market Place is tragic because historic kitsch is irreplaceable. Just look at the efforts to reconstruct the Jersey Boardwalk from the damage of super storm Sandy and a devastating fire. Locally, our town guards against the extinction of a 1920 children’s amusement park because preserving the miniature rides and carousel for future generations to enjoy is paramount to the many municipality issues on the yearly ballot.
At sixty-five, I admit to a growing nostalgia for what once was, and especially this New Year’s Eve, remembering when a fake Polynesian village offered a lifetime of memories.