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‘Return to sender ... Address unknown’

Valentine wish comes from around the country, world

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014 1:54 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014 1:58 p.m. CDT
(BCR photo/Goldie Currie)
Throughout the years, Judd Lusher has tracked down romantic-themed post office names, which give out authentic hand stamps on their mail around the Valentine's Day season. He has created a tradition of sending his Valentine to these post offices for the hand stamp, which then forwards the card back to his wife at their Princeton home. His wife has started a collection of hand-stamped Valentines from all over the country and even one from Lover, England.

PRINCETON — Judd Lusher has found a noteworthy way to make his wife’s Valentine’s Day cards just a little more special each year.

Judd has researched names of romantic-themed post offices, which give out authentic hand stamps on cards during the Valentine’s Day season.

Once he finds a location, he sends his card to the post office with the correct price of postage. The postmaster then stamps the card and uses the money sent to forward the card back to their Princeton home in time for the big day.

His beloved tradition started in 1999, when he came across a news article about other romantics delivering their Valentine’s with special hand stamps.

As a self-confessed romantic, Judd has continued his tradition throughout the years.

His first card was sent to the post offices located in Romeo, Mich., and Juliette, Ga., which then forwarded the Valentine — complete with a matching Romeo and Juliet hand stamp — to the Lusher home. A Valentine in the mail from her husband comes as a surprise to Ann each year it’s delivered.

“Most people wake up in the morning and personally give their valentine, but mine comes in the mail,” Ann explained. “It’s unusual to get it from your spouse in the mail. Most people don’t think to mail a Valentine to a spouse.”

But it’s an affectionate tradition, which Ann has looked forward to throughout the years. And the planning and thought that goes into where the cards will be sent is what’s exciting for Judd.

“If you tell the postmasters what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, it makes it kind of interesting,” he said.

Ann’s collection of hand-stamped Valentine’s cards have grown throughout the years. Her collection includes stamps from places like Loveland, Colo.; Loving, N.M.; Romance, Ariz., and even one from as far as Lover, England.

“”It’s really special. Who else goes out and does that kind of stuff?” laughed Ann. “None of my friends have a spouse or boyfriends who does romantic things quite like this.”

Each Valentine has been kept as a special memento. Ann admits in all her 31 years of marriage, she’s never thrown away a card Judd has given or sent her.

“Cards are something we look forward to on those days we celebrate,” she said.

And while she also receives flowers on Valentine’s Day each year, Judd pointed out her flowers never last, but her unique Valentine card collection will last for years to come.

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