Valentine has been sent between mother and so

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 2/10/98.

A beloved Valentine card is starting to show its age, 31 years, a bent corner here and an added break in the seam.

Marie Geppert first gave it to her son, Paul, when he was 13 years old. Paul decided to give it back to his mother the next year and the tradition was established. ďI remember laughing and getting a big kick out of the card as a teenager,Ē Geppert said. ďFollowing the holiday, I threw the card in a drawer to save for the next year, setting in motion a tradition that has lasted 31 years.Ē

The Valentine card has seen a lot of miles over the years, being mailed to several different communities in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Arizona. The card was exchanged by hand until Paul left home in 1972.

In 1967, when Marie purchased the card, it cost only 35 cents. Today that same card would cost anywhere from $2 to $3 dollars. The card depicts an innocent person on the front cover. Then it is opened, unfolded twice to reveal on the full page a mom making faces.

Valentine. . .
it's so difficult to find words to express my feelings for you...
I read love poems, classical novels, and even the dictionary...
but all in vain...
Then I remembered what an ancient Chinese philosopher once said...
One picture is worth 10,000 words...


Paul and Sue Geppert and their family moved to Paynesville in 1975. Today Marie Geppert, 81, lives in Scottsdale, Ariz.

ďAfter 31 years, we both still get a big laugh upon receiving the card,Ē Paul said. ďWhen the card is in my possession, I place it in our safety deposit box after the holiday in case something should happen to the house. Just before Valentineís Day, we retrieve the card and mail it back to mom,Ē he added.

Before Sue had ever met Paulís mother, she had a hard time understanding the card. She thought it a bit unusual for a mother to send such a card to her son. ďBut after I met Marie, the card fit her personality so well and the relationship of an Italian mother and her son,Ē Sue said. ďThe card is loving yet it has its barbs at the end.Ē

The Geppert children are so accustomed to seeing the card every year that it isnít anything out of the ordinary for them. ďThe kids read the message in the card and get a laugh along with the rest of us,Ē Paul said.

Paul hopes that one of his children will carry on the tradition someday, after his mother is gone.

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