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Our Valentine to You

Find it in our new Coloring Corner

Not everybody has been lucky in love. So a lucky other’s love story may not universally engender sighs of contentment. If love has done you wrong, your Bay Weekly pick of the week may not be James Baden and Mackenzie Williams’ Love Story, recounted by staff writer Kathy Knotts.
    Fortunately, that’s not the whole story of Bay Weekly. Every week, it’s our mission to have something for almost everybody.
    This week, we send you a Valentine.
    That genre of love token, I’m convinced, has at one time or another warmed every heart. For two centuries, Valentine cards have been a favorite conveyance of affection, from good will to adoration.
    The holiday is the greeting card industry’s second largest sales day. As many as a billion paper cards are exchanged, from inexpensive boxed valentines favored by school children to limited-edition handmade cards costing hundreds, even thousands of dollars. (Millions of e-Valentines are sent, but paper cards are far ahead.)
    Only a fraction of those cards go between lovers. Children, mothers and wives get 80 percent, according to industry tracking. Sweethearts come fourth. Eighty-five percent of valentine card buyers are women, but children give the most. Teachers get more cards than anybody else.
    That statistic won’t dampen my pleasure as, again this Valentine’s Day, I browse the Valentine collection inherited from country schoolteacher Miss Cora Smith, Bay Weekly benefactor and my first cousin twice removed. Handmade and store-bought … funny, sweet and loving, these cards still speak of the affection in the hearts of the children who gave them as much as a century ago.
    Surely a Valentine has made you happy? Can you recall one?
    Two from long ago stand on my mantle, adding sweet memory to the warmth of the fire below. By serendipity, I excavated them at this Valentine season from my treasure chest of past mementoes.
    Both are handmade.
    One is part of a vigorously colored grid of six card-size images created by my younger son at perhaps eight years old. The only Valentine in the block, it shows a blood-red heart pierced by a detailed arrow and dripping five small hearts. Be My Valentine is lettered in blue against a pink background.
    The other is a heart in outline, elaborately inked on an on oversize sheet of art paper. Inside is a message that makes me imagine the friend would have been a suitor.
    When you turn to Bay Weekly page 10, you’ll find a Chesapeake Valentine challenging you to color it lovingly, drawn especially for you by artist Sophia Openshaw.
    Take it, please, as a token of our affection for you.
    Enjoy it. Color it. Feel free to pass it on.
    Coloring Corner will offer you another challenge next week. Tell us if you like it, and images for you to color will keep coming.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; editor@bayweekly.com