Miriam at the Ancestories2: Stories about Me for my Descendants blog has a prompt for St. Valentine's Day memories. I want to address only one of them here -
"What is the nicest card or gift you have ever received for Valentine's Day? Who sent it to you?"
Oh boy, this is easy! Flash back to 14 February 1970 - it's a Saturday night. I've been dating Linda seriously for about 6 months and we know that we are "in love." We've had a lot of fun, met each other's families, talked about the future, what we want from a marriage, and know each other pretty well.
We were invited to a Valentine's Day party at Linda's cousin's house in Ocean Beach. I've met them before, and Sue's husband, Bill, is a funny and raunchy guy - as I thought I was. We go, and meet many of their friends, and I'm introduced as "Linda's good friend, Randy." One of the ladies (Sue's age then - maybe 40ish) corners me and says "How good a friend are you?" giving me a wink and raised eyebrow.
Without a blink, I blurt out "well, I'm proposing to her tonight, but don't tell anybody!" She says "Don't worry, I'll keep your secret" and gave me knowing glances the rest of the night. After we leave the party, she went to Sue and said "Guess what Randy told me" and tells Sue the secret (there's a lesson learned here, eh?).
We don't go directly home, as I still have to fortify my courage a bit more. We stopped at our favorite bar, King Luis Inn, for a drink and some bar singing (we loved doing this while dating). None of the regulars were there, so I can't blurt out the secret to them. I had talked to my Catholic priest friend, Father Jack, who was visiting SD, and had suggested that we meet at the bar, so he is there when we get there. When Linda goes to the ladies room, I tell Father Jack my secret.
Now well fortified and well committed, I carefully drive us to Linda's apartment and we have an appropriate amorous interlude. It's time to exchange Valentine's Day cards and gifts, and I only have a card. She opens my card and inside I've written "Will you be my Valentine ... forever?" She looks at me, now down on my knees, and says "does this mean your proposing to me" and I said "Will you marry me?"
Now - to answer Miriam's prompt - the absolute BEST gift I ever received on Valentine's Day was Linda's answer - "YES!!!!!"
Of course, another appropriate amorous interlude occurred, and I went to my apartment an hour later. We went to church on Sunday and talked to the pastor, and asked him if he would marry us on 21 March 1970. He said he would, and we set off on the whirlwind five weeks of preparation and planning, that culminated in a 7-day honeymoon in Acapulco, but that's another story.
Wasn't that a great gift? Of course, Sue called Linda that Sunday and said coyly "Did you two have a good time last night?"
Isn't she beautiful? After 38 years, we're a bit older, grayer and heavier, but this is my Valentine girl forever.
Now I need to go to the store and get some flowers and a card, and present them to her today. I tried to think of an appropriate gift for her from her genealogy addicted hubby - what do you think I should give her?
* A picture collage of me as I've aged?
* A 25 page genealogy report of the descendants of Torger Olsen (her 3rd great-grandfather from Norway)
* A large framed 10 generation pedigree chart done in calligraphy suitable for hanging on the wall opposite my pedigree chart?
* A visit from her daughter and two grandsons for the weekend!
Hey, I'm the Romantic Engineer and Family Historian.
As you might guess, she's getting the last one. It's Logan's 2nd birthday tomorrow and we're going to have some fun (and excitement, confusion, and not much sleep).
As a bonus - here are three of my favorite love songs --
* "I Love How You Love Me" by the Paris Sisters (1961)
* "Unchained Melody" by The Righteous Brothers (1965)
* "All I Have to Do Is Dream" by the Everly Brothers (1958)