Remember When …



The “Supremes” always sang about love. What great memories by 1960s they hit the top of the charts with many songs, but they were first known as the Primettes – two teenagers Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson, out of Detroit, Michigan.

The sad news is the lead singer, Mary Wilson, passed away at 76 this week. They had some of the top love songs of all times like: Baby Love, Stop! In the Name of Love, You Light Up My Life, Melody of Love, Silly Love Songs”, “We Only Just Begin or Endless Love to name some of my favorites.

What are your favorite love songs? Maybe even a Christmas song? Currently in America, 35 million heart shaped boxes of chocolate are sold each year. Sixty-two percent celebrate Valentine Day in America with candy, love songs, flowers and card.

The ultimate romantic jester is getting engaged on this day each year, about 6 million couples. Not all countries celebrate this day I found out only about 10 since the 1700s. You could even make your loved one a meal or go for a walk together. Do you know that the X on a card means a kiss? Well in this symbol was also used to sign documents and if they couldn’t sign it (they kiss the X) lots papers were sealed with a kiss. Have you heard of the letters to Juliet in Italy? This is still happening in Verona where Shakespeare wrote “Romeo and Juliet”.

In ancient Roman times the God of Love was called Cupid he had a gold arrow for love. The Valentine holiday of love and romance started for Christians as a way to get away from the pagan tradition.

St. Valentine was a Catholic priest, but he was put in jail for secretly marrying a couple. He was put into prison, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and sent her the first note, singing it, “Your Valentine.”

By 1500 we started to celebrated Valentine’s Day as a romantic holiday with symbols of love around the world. Chocolate and other Valentines gifts started in Europe 1700s, it was expensive so only the rich could get chocolate to drink or eat. By 1868 the Cadbury brothers made chocolate and put it in heart shaped boxes. They were one of the first chocolate makers to promote this holiday. Now 58 million pounds of chocolate is sold each year, for sharing love around the world.

In 1840, Valentine Day expanded thanks to Esther Howland by mass producing cards and the United States postal service by making their first one cent stamp. Now cards could finally be sent to more people in our country. Greeting notes started as only New Year greeting, in ancient China and Egypt and was written on Papyrus paper scrolls for centuries. I have seen all types of artwork and creativity by making homemade notes, stamps or cards put on: scrolls, wood (by 1400), stones, lace clothe and cutout paper hearts.

Now according to surveys 1 billion cards of love go out year in America, even more then Mother’s Day, but second to Christmas Day. Shown here is one of the oldest notes found by Charles, Duke of Orleans, while he was being held prisoner in the Tower of London 1415. The conversion heart shaped candy we enjoy with saying on it like: I love you or be mine, started in 1902.

Thankfully the restaurants are open again for a night out. One flower or a bunch is always nice too. Make new family traditions this year, homemade or bought and share your love. I am making red chocolate chip cookies for my neighbors.

Remember When is a weekly column in the Burton View featuring historical stories about the community from the Burton Area Historical Society. If you have some Burton history to share, email