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Woman's Nearly 80-Year-Old Valentine To Classmate Found By Grandniece At Antiques Store

MANKATO, Minn. (WCCO) -- Getting a Valentine's Day card is always fun. How about when one of your cards from the past is discovered in an antique store, and it was written nearly eight decades ago?

That's what happened to Arlene Brekke of Madelia. What makes it even more special is who found it.

When it comes to Pond Road Market in Mankato, Claire Julian is a regular. She enjoys making new discoveries among old merchandise.

"There's a little bit of everything. Antiques, new home décor," she said.

But nothing prepared her for what she found a couple weeks ago.

"Someone said, 'There is a box of old vintage Valentines. We should go down and look at them,'" she said.

The card on the very top of the pile stopped Julian in her tracks.

"And I turned it over and I got goosebumps. I can't believe this. 'This is my great aunt Arlene's Valentine,'" she said. "This is what it said: 'I'm brushing up for you Valentine.' And it had her handwriting on the back."

Arlene Brekke wrote that card to a classmate nearly 80 years ago, while attending a two-room schoolhouse near Vernon Center.

"It's kind of ironic isn't it? In school we'd make our little boxes and your classmates would put Valentines in the boxes," Brekke said.

It's hard to comprehend the journey that little card had to take over 80 years. Exactly how it ended up going from an old country school near Vernon Center to a store in Mankato is a mystery. The fact that Julian is the one who found it may have been fate. The two have a special bond.

"The day of my wedding was actually the day of her husband's funeral. Which was really, really sad and I didn't expect to see her," Julian said.

But Brekke made it for the reception.

"It was a moment I don't really have words for but it meant everything to me," Julian said.

Now they can share a Valentine's Day made not with candy and flowers but with a little card and a little more nostalgia.

"I always believe in angels, and somehow there must have been an angel taking care of the Valentine to end up with Claire," Brekke said.

The friend that Brekke originally gave that card to is now 93-years-old and lives near Mankato.

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