Evalene Pulati of Santa Ana, president of the National Valentines Collectors' Assn., says many of the 900 million or so valentines delivered across the country Friday will show that romantic cards are on the rebound, sort of.
"Of course, we see valentines that ask, 'Your House or Mine?,' or, 'Can I Park My Shoes Under Your Bed,' " she said, "but many of the cards being sold this year suggest a move toward romanticism, although this definitely is not a romantic era we're living in."
Pulati said young people are waiting longer before settling down, "so they're going to give lighthearted cards for Valentine's Day, and there's really nothing too romantic about that."
A romanticist herself, Pulati says valentines in past eras "were much more romantic and were downright serious," and some even proposed marriage. "You wouldn't send a valentine unless you were seriously interested in the other person."
In contrast, she said, many of the valentines today are friendship cards. The Santa Ana Main Library has an exhibit of romantic valentines through February, featuring 25 of the cards Pulati has collected since she was a child.
"I started saving valentines when I was a very young girl," she said. Raised on a farm in Iowa, she said she often brought out her valentine collection to pass the time on a cold or rainy day. But today she uses the elaborate lacy designs and heart-shaped cards for trading and for display during lectures she gives as president of the valentine association.
Pulati said she has more than 10,000 valentines, many bought at attic sales and auctions held by her 300-member group. Many are in storage and some are in safe deposit boxes. Although she wouldn't reveal the worth of her collection, she remembers attending an auction where a valentine was bought for $14,000. Pulati is writing a price guidebook on old valentines, culminating 10 years of research. She has written price guidebooks on tin containers and on items sold through Disney enterprises.
Figuring it's worth missing a cup of coffee a day to feed a hungry child, a growing number of San Clemente postal workers are donating 20 cents a work day to World Vision, a famine relief group.
Postman Robert W. Cantu, 31, who had the idea, said 25 co-workers are participating "and that means five children are getting food, clothes and medicine for a month." It costs $20 a month each for those supplies.
"I thought it was too good an idea to pass up," said Cantu. "I'm committed to getting the word out to stem world hunger." The five children assigned to the postal group are in Chile, India, Ethiopia and two from Mexico.
Here's a formula for motivating students from teachers Larry Abbott and Nancy Toguchi: You get your 60 third-graders at Esther Walter Elementary School in Anaheim to get financial sponsors for each lap they run around a track. And when the money is collected, you take the students on a whale watch field trip. Then you send what money is left to the Statue of Liberty restoration fund.
Toguchi said the jog-a-thon makes it possible to take them all on a whale watch boat, and Abbott, who has been talking about the Statue of Liberty in the classroom, said sending money in their name would let them feel they had a part in the restoration. The jog-a-thon netted $1,750 for the fund.
Acknowledgments--Brea resident Joan Membrez, 41, a five-year automotive instructor in the North Orange County Regional Occupational Center in Anaheim, was named state Award of Excellence winner by the American Vocational Assn., partly for placing 72% of her students in jobs following completion of her course.