Valentine’s Day is the day we all celebrate romance. Most suitors lavish their sweethearts with roses and chocolate along with an appropriate card. Cards became popular in England during the 1800s, and by the early 1900s, were common in the United States as well. As every suitor knows, Valentine’s Day can get expensive, and I sympathize with the farm laborers in rural Cypress in 1909 who, if lucky, had a monthly wage of $25 per month. That is about a dollar a day, so the fact that a store-bought card cost two cents plus another penny to mail was a consideration. At three cents, it was about a half hour of earned labor. Also, young boys who might like to send more than one young lady a card were probably only earning half as much. Pictured are two examples of young men getting creative and using a penny postcard to impress Pollyana.
The prose on card #1 is rather poor and rambles, as does the script that winds its way across the right end of the card and upside down across the top before resuming on the other side.
Card #2 is a bit more coherent. It reads: “But I awoke from love mad dream. Across my heart there was a shade my soul could not suppress a scream to find I was betrayed. Oh cruel fate! That I should be the victim of love constancy!” The cute drawing seems out of character for the prose, but it is typical for a young boy who wants to impress a girl.
I hope you find an equally creative way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your significant other. If you would like to see these unique pieces of folk art and other old valentines, visit Commissioner Steve Radack’s Cypress Top Historic Park at 26026 Old Hempstead. During February, they will be in a special display in the museum buildings, which are open on Tuesdays from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The grounds are open daily from dawn to 7 p.m. To arrange a special tour please contact the park at firstname.lastname@example.org or 281-357-5324.
The park is home to the Cypress Historical Society, housed in the “California Poppy” yellow train depot in the back. Genealogy and historical information for the greater Cypress area is available. Contact them at email@example.com or 281-758-0083. If you have questions or comments about this article, contact Fred Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Historical facts courtesy of Cypress Top Historic Park Collection & Cypress Historical Society: Preserving Cypress History for Posterity.