Funny valentine

I came upon it recently while looking for something else. Of the dozen or so keepsakes that I claimed when my five siblings and I divvied up my mother’s possessions after her death, this one was easy to overlook: a small, yellowing rectangle of paper upon which was scribbled: “Each day is Valentines Day.” It was written in my father’s often un-decipherable hand, but a certain amount of care had been taken to make the five brief words legible. If I recall correctly, the message had once been glued to a red paper heart with white doily trimming. A home-made valentine, no doubt concocted in a state of panic on a late afternoon of a February 14th now lost in the mists of time.

My father, though a romantic, was disorganized and slapdash. Self-made, he embraced an improvisational approach to life. My mother, who never stopped longing for the financial security of her childhood, had to make do with her husband’s seesawing fortunes. Surely a part of her yearned for a store-bought card and a box of good chocolates. But this is what she got — and what she kept. Year after year, taking it with her as her world devolved from a ramshackle 32-room mansion and large, chaotic family, to a far-too-early widowhood and the quiet one-bedroom apartment of her final decades. The little fading rectangle was always tucked — like a post-it note reminder — into the mirror of her dresser where she could see it when she woke up every morning. “Each day is Valentines Day.”

My Funny Valentine

My funny valentine
Sweet comic valentine
You make me smile with my heart
Your looks are laughable
Yet you’re my favorite work of art

Is your figure less than greek
Is your mouth a little weak
When you open it to speak
Are you smart?

But don’t change a hair for me
Not if you care for me
Stay little valentine stay
Each day is valentines day

— Lorenz Hart


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22 Responses to Funny valentine

  1. Leslie Gold says:

    And so your Father’s gift became your Mother’s gift…and now the sweetest gift to us all.
    Huge thanks for this dear tenderness, it pierces my heart.

  2. Jackie Wein says:

    I don’t think one is supposed to cry over a Valentine’s card, especially someone else’s. But your touching description of the loving note your mother cherished evoked my own memories of my parents’ gifts to each other in lean years. What a beautiful remembrance.

  3. Beata M Newman Scarpulla says:

    Dear Liza,

    This is so touching and sweet. It really pulls at my heart strings.

    How wonderful that you have such a special family memory that you can see anytime you want.


  4. Anders Gyllenhaal says:

    Oh my.

    You surely captured it all with this post.

  5. Susan Fisher says:

    I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes. What a wonderful remembrance you saved. It must be so precious for you.

  6. Kate Gyllenhaal says:

    Dearest Liza,
    I can perfectly picture that little note on Mom’s dresser mirror.
    It was there for as long as I can remember.
    What a beautiful and bittersweet description of their relationship.
    I always loved that Dad wrote that to Mom.
    I never read the poem, My Funny Valentine.
    Thank you so much for sharing this memory and poem.

    Best love, Kate

  7. Max says:

    Thank you for this Liza. A perfect tribute for Valentines.

  8. Nicie Panetta says:

    Beautiful remembrance, Dear Liza. You offer your words with such care and celebration. Just as you lift up your loved ones. xo

  9. Doris van ostenbridge says:

    We often will never know if we have left an impression on another’s heart, whether it be a spouse, parent, child or friend. Thank you for sharing this precious memory! Happy Valentine’s Day!

  10. annette shear says:

    Dear Liza,

    That’s the way life is.

    Thank you,


  11. Phyllis Azar says:

    You’ve captured a lovely moment, and a lifetime! Thanks for sharing this wonderful memory/memento. =p.

  12. Ken Austin says:

    Loved reading this. Beautiful.

  13. Jenny says:

    Oh, my Liza!
    I knew your folks and love this touching remembrance. The “seesawing fortunes” of a self-made man.
    He used to bring papers over to Aunt Bea so she could sort out and type up the proposal du jour. I asked her what business he was in. She said he was a consultant.
    I now believe he and your mom were in the business of manufacturing magical people.
    Thanks for sharing this.
    Lots of love,

    • Liza says:

      So nice to hear from you, Jenny. My dad was a Management Consultant who created programs for corporations based on the theory of human dynamics — essentially that people work better together in groups. Our family was sort of his test laboratory. Yes, a crazy but magical upbringing! Love, Liza

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