Everyone knows about Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy and maybe even the Easter Bunny but who here has heard of Mr Valentine? No one, right? Well, when I was a child, Mr Valentine would visit every 14th February and leave my sister and I, a card, some chocolates and one of those £1 goody bags you get from the supermarket, on our door step. It used to be rather exciting as unlike Christmas where Santa delivers presents during the night, we had no clue when Mr Valentine would arrive, only that it was after school and usually just as Dad got home from work (how convenient). We would spend hours after school, monitoring the windows and guarding the door until Mum would tell us to ‘give it a rest’.
This tradition only stopped when my family split during Mum and Dad’s divorce when I was 15. By this age, I knew it was a parent behind the Mr Valentine mask but I still enjoyed the surprise knock on the door. It was around this age that I mentioned it to a friend as a passing comment. I didn’t realize it wasn’t a nation wide thing and I suppose because a goody bag wasn’t a huge deal in comparison to Christmas, I’d never mentioned it before. My Mr Valentine because a running joke for a little while after. Not hard to see why, it sounds ridiculous now but it mean a lot when we were small.
I have asked Mum for a Mr Valentine origin story but apparently it was my Dad’s thing and he isn’t around for me to ask. I have to admit, I hate that man but I can’t deny that sending your daughters a valentines card every year to tell them they are love is a pretty decent thing to do.
I guess I’ll never know the reason’s Mr Valentine existed but I can say it will be a tradition I pass down to my own children and grandchildren.