Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Vintage Valentines, and an Early Roadtrip

I was four months old when my first Valentine's Day arrived. My parents had just traveled across the entire country in a little car with me in a bassinet on the seat between them. That must seem very dangerous to those of you who have never known cars without seat belts and air bags!

It was a huge adventure for a young couple--leaving behind everything and everyone they knew in Maine, New Brunswick, and Massachusetts and traveling with an infant (and our dog, Pete) to California. Mind you, they were driving on what we would call "back roads," in those days before there was any kind of a highway system. Getting from one point to another was a matter of careful planning and following big paper maps, as there wouldn't have been the kind of signage that we are used to now. I'm sure they had plenty of flat tires, because that's how cars behaved in those days. And it goes without saying that there were no cell phones or emergency numbers. I doubt that they would have been able to afford a membership to the American Automobile Association, so emergency repairs would have been up to my dad, while my mother looked after me and walked the dog.

When they arrived in San Francisco, one of their suitcases was stolen out of the car. I can just imagine how terrible that would have been for them. There they were, alone in a strange place full of strangers, these young people who were so used to being surrounded by family! They didn't have much money to replace necessities, of course. I don't suppose many people had much money in the 1940s. 

I sometimes wonder what might have been in that suitcase. After all, with limited space, they probably brought along family pictures to remind them of those who had been left behind. Who knows what they lost?

When Valentine's Day arrived, I'm sure I had other things on my mind. But how their hearts must have warmed when these Valentine cards arrived, sent by my mother's loving sisters from "back East." My mom carefully pasted my first Valentines into my baby book.  

I love that I still have these little cards to remind me of my family in those early days. We have always made the most of holidays, moving them around at will so that we could celebrate whenever we could get together. In that tradition, in the next post I will be sharing some special romantic memories from my mother and father even though Valentine's Day will have passed by the time the post is published.

Happy Valentine's Day to you all! 


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  2. From my half-sister, Joan:
    Happy !!happy ! happy Valentines day !!! You are really lucky you have those nice reminders of the day --thanks Elva !!!

    I didn't know about the suitcase thing but I do remember the little grey coupe with everything packed in and a beautiful little baby amidst all !! You and your Mom and Dad made a visit with us before you started across country --such a long time ago --can't say you remember that tho !!! Really nice memories.

  3. From my sister, Jean:
    I guess that makes us vintage too!


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