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Valentine’s Day Cards I Have Written

Finding the right words for the right woman, all my life


The first person I ever gave a Valentine’s Day card to was, unsurprisingly, my mom. I was in kindergarten and it was a primitively cut heart made out of red construction paper. I remember writing something like:

To the best mom,
I love you.
Happy Valentine’s Day. 

I gave her a variation of that card every year afterward until she died of breast cancer in 1984. 

The second person I ever gave a Valentine’s Day card was Constance Walker. We were the two tallest kids in third grade at P.S. 219 in Brooklyn and shared our snacks during recess. The card had a picture of bears or monkeys on it, I’ve forgotten which. I remember writing something like:

Thank you for all the Oreos.
Would you be my Valentine?
Your friend, Larry Carlat

She said yes. I have no idea what became of her.

(MORE: Why Middle Age Is the Best Time to Fall in Love)

The third person I ever gave a Valentine’s Day card was Laura Glass, my first girlfriend. We dated in high school and shared all kinds of fun things (if you get my drift). This card featured two puppies rubbing their noses together. I remember writing something like:

I think about you day and night.
I see your face in all I do.
I don’t know what I’d do without you.

Then she dumped me. Many years later, I’m told, she married a rabbi.

The fourth person I ever gave a Valentine’s Day card was my ex-wife, who, at the time, was not yet my wife. We had just moved into our first apartment together in Queens and shared a romantic candlelight dinner. The card was an old black-and-white photo of two children holding hands. I remember writing something like:

I love you with all my heart, babe.
And I always will.
I’ll never love anyone the way I love you.

We were married soon after that. “My Funny Valentine,” coincidentally, was our wedding song. I gave her a variation of that card every year until we divorced in 2011.

The fifth person I ever gave a Valentine’s Day card has not yet received it. She will this evening. I’m not going to tell you what it looks like or what I wrote inside, other than to say I plan to give her a variation of this card every year until I die.

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