Wednesday, February 8, 2012

COLLECTION #160: The Valentine That Chaged the World

Ok, maybe it didn't really change the world. But it certainly tilted the earth on its axis for my family. This sweet little Valentine postcard from 1908, marked the beginnings of a long-distance relationship. From Idaho to Minnesota, this little postcard Valentine traveled, from a man named William Ward, to the lovely Martha Gruetzmacher of Owatonna, Minnesota.

The sweethearts met on a train. Isn't that romantic? It was the summer of 1907, and Martha traveled from Minnesota to Portland, Oregon, to visit a cousin. Somewhere between here and there, either to or fro, she caught sight of a handsome man outside the window of the train, which was standing at a station. He was pacing back and forth, occasionally glancing into the window of the train. Just before it started again, this same man walked down the center aisle, and stopped next to her. "Is this seat taken?" he inquired. Well, it certainly wasn't taken. And neither were any of the other seats in the nearly empty car. Martha was puzzled why he wanted to sit next to her, but in the next few hundred miles, they got acquainted. He asked for her address, and when she returned home, they began a correspondence.  I have no idea how many letters or postcards passed between them between 1907 and their marriage in October 1909. But it doesn't matter, this is the one I have. His written words are rather casual and impersonal. But the printed words on the Valentine surely expressed the feelings of his heart.

You might have guessed by now that these strangers who met on a train, were my own grandparents. My Mom's mother and father, who took a chance on love, and changed our world forever. 

A layout I created about my grandparent's courtship