Hallmark produced their first Valentine’s Day card in 1913. Apparently expressions of love were being professed annually as far back as the 15th century in Europe. In 18th century England it was becoming a common practice to send cards and letters as expressions of love. 1922, in South Georgia…squat!
Literally several hundred love letters and no mention of Valentine’s Day! Malcolm and Ida, my maternal grandparents, kept several years of letters, written almost daily just before and after their marriage in 1923. (Thanks Grandmother and Granddaddy for the website photo banner). Still quite a few to read, but they are organized for the most part by postmark. Nary a mention of Valentine’s Day in any February, 1922, letters. Both teachers, Malcolm and Ida taught at schools across the state from each other. Their correspondence shows they were able to see each other a couple times a month. They didn’t see each other the weekend before or after Wednesday, February 14, 1922, according to the letters. Nor was there great pining away because they weren’t together on Valentine’s Day.
Ok, let’s just presume that Malcolm and Ida sent each other a Valentine and they just didn’t save it. Poo! Even though there was no official greeting card or mention of the day, these two shared the spirit of Valentine’s Day almost daily via the US Postal Service. In honor of the day, Malcolm and Ida can best do the talking as far as true love goes. Enjoy a small snippet of Malcolm and Ida’s early love…..hopefully one day their whole story will be told.
They met during the 1921-22, school year in Cochran, GA. Engaged in May, 1922. These two letters were written during summer, 1922. Ida was living at home in Pinehurst, GA. Malcolm was still in Cochran searching for a job for the upcoming school year.
Malcolm to Ida
Sweetheart- Sunday 2:30
I know you love me – am I conceited to say that? No. When I got your letter this morning my heart beat with joy and pride for my dear little girl. I want to see you oh so much this afternoon and am sick just because I can’t. Honey I am not feigning love. No. I know you don’t think that. And I want to be the nearest, dearest and truest of anyone you know or chance to know. You have given me the right to love and I love. Every time I think of going to S.C. Well I don’t want to leave you. Yet I have a dear mother I must see and one of the best “daddies” ever and of course sister and bros. That’s all in South Carolina that ties me.
Honey, we know each other so well and we are so close to each other – almost but not quite yet.
Turk has gone to Dallas today. That’s where his girl is from sure enough believe you said so the other day. Did you see this announcement today? Sue’s and Doc’s has gone in. He showed me a “brief” this am at church that Sue had sent in to The Journal. If the river isn’t impassable says we will be by Sat for you. If we don’t come by listen – I’ll be down Saturday on a late train coming back Sunday late. What do you say? Maybe before then. It will be mighty hard to wait that long. I must have a good ole real talk very soon. I do wish I could have seen you this very afternoon. I am lonesome for you dear one. Love Always, Malcolm
Dearest I forgot to tell you. I haven’t heard from Dallas but it has hardly been long enough. I guess Turk will bring back a little news for me. Didn’t get to see him took him to find out but am about sure he will. Guess Mc had lots to tell you. Must write her. There are other things I have to say. I am trying to get this off on 3:30 train. And another person I must write is Smith. She certainly is a fine sweet girl. Be good and remember. K
Ida to Malcolm
My dear, I have just gotten home. Haven’t had a chance to get the mail so I will have to wait until morning for my letter. Wish you were here with me now dearest you will be good to me want you? Something has made me very unhappy tonight. I wish I could tell you about it. It is not about myself so don’t worry – but – well I have had a few mighty hard problems to face and life hasn’t been always so easy – but o’my dear if you were to ever hurt me like that I would want to die. Forgive me dear for talking like this. I know you will always be true and good to me, but I am just full tonight. When someone who is near and dear to me is hurt – we are hurt too. And no way to help. I wish you were here right now. I need you. Don’t let me loose faith. When we marry dear, will we always love each other? Can we hold out – keep close to each other. It makes me afraid again. We musn’t make a mangle and discord. Please write me dearest at once and tell me – help me to see straight again. It’s not that I love you less, I think I love you more tonight than ever in my life. But just seeing what a pitiful thing is left of what was once happiness for some.
I know dear you will think this is juvenile of words with no meaning but I am so worried for some one, I am weak enough to put it on you. Just don’t let it worry you honey, but write me right soon.
Hope you have had a nice day. Wish you could have been with me at Camp Meeting. I had a good time, but am tired and I just need you. I feel better tho by just telling you. Didn’t mean to write tonight but just had to.
Lots of love dear – Ida