Friday, February 15, 2008

Tale of Two Towns

But first - a message from the teeny tiny twins. They are growing like little weeds - Kate is up to 5 lbs. 4 ounces, and Emma is at 4 pounds 8 ounces. They will be 6 weeks old on Monday.
Proud Great Grandma

Feisty is really sick today, so I kept the babies while Kristen took her to the doctor. It turned into a "sleepover" to protect the little ones from catching anything. That would be disastrous. We decided to take them with us on our Friday night "date." Were we ever the center of attention at the restaurant!
Grandpa finally gets to hold one (Emma) - and feed her.

It took them quite a while to settle down - both of them! They're sleeping now, but I don't see myself getting a very good night's rest. But hopefully Kristen will.

Now to the story of the day.

When I was in the middle of 5th through the 8th grade, we lived in International Falls, Minnesota. This town is situated in the northernmost point of Minnesota - just across the bridge from Fort Francis, Ontario. It is a very COLD place. In fact, International Falls long promoted itself as the "Icebox of the Nation".

I can't imagine being so desperate for fame that you would want this distinction, but the trademark for the slogan has been challenged on several occasions by the small town of Fraser, Colorado. Officials from Fraser claimed usage since 1956, International Fall since 1948. The two towns came to an agreement in 1986, when International Falls paid Fraser $2,000 to relinquish its "official" claim. However, in 1996, International Falls inadvertently failed to renew its federal trademark, although it had kept its state trademark up to date. Fraser then filed to gain the federal trademark.

I read in the paper just this week that after several years of legal battles, the United States Patent and Trademark Office officially registered the slogan with International Falls on January 29, 2008, Registration Number 3375139. Only a few days after announcing its success in the trademark battle, International Falls had a record low temperature of −40°F, beating a previous record of −37°F in 1967.

My dad drove a school bus to supplement his very minimal salary as pastor of a small church. We had to walk 6 blocks to school in this frigid winter weather. Dad's route took him right by us, but he could not pick us up because we did not live far enough from school to merit a bus ride. He felt so bad. We literally did walk to school in -40 weather. Thank goodness this was before the days of figuring "wind chill index." I don't think we could have stood the psychological impact of knowing that number.

For the last two Valentine's Days I have wanted to tell this story about the town where I have lived for 36 years (hard to believe, since prior to that, the longest I lived anywhere was 5 years). I was reluctant to reveal exactly where I live. But I have decided it's such an interesting tale that I will leave my anonymity to this extent.

Two years before International Falls took on the claim of "Icebox of the Nation," way back in 1946 (well before the Internet, but slightly after the Pony Express) an idea came to Postmaster Elmer Ivers, Chamber of Commerce President Ted W. Thompson and his wife Mabel. They had a vision - a vision to share the romantic name of our town of Loveland with the whole world.

So it came to pass, in the February of 1947 the Loveland Valentine Remailing Program was born. Since 1947, literally millions of valentines have touched the heart strings of loved ones with Cupid's message hand stamped and remailed from Loveland, Colorado.

Since 1962 a high school senior girl has been chosen to represent the program and the city as "Miss Loveland Valentine". Personal appearances representing the City of Loveland take this ambassador around the state of Colorado. An appearance at the Colorado State Legislature and a personal visit with the Governor are just two of the highlights in her busy schedule.

In 1964, a specially designed Valentine card was produced to offset some of the expenses of this costly program, and the Official Loveland Valentine's Cards continue to touch the hearts of people around throughout the world. Loveland Valentines can be purchased through the Chamber of Commerce , from their Official Loveland Valentine web site, or through any of the participating Chamber merchants. Every year there is a contest for the card's design. Here is this year's winner:

Loveland's "Valentine Sweethearts", Ted and Mabel Thompson have now passed away. The Loveland community feels their absence. To commemorate their vision and love of Loveland, their memory lives on through the annual Valentine Re-Mailing program. A bronze relief of the Thompsons is featured in Thompson Park on 4th Street in Loveland. (copied from the Loveland Daily Report Herald).
An average of 200,000 letters are stamped each year. I read that Oprah even sent her cards here one year for the Valentine cachet. People from 110 countries send their cards here for remailing. This is what the 65 volunteers stamped on the 200,000 letters this year.
C--Users-dawn-AppData-Local-Microsoft-Windows-Temporary Internet Files-Low-Content.IE5-MGW8177A-January_20_Page_1[1].pdf - Adobe Reader

There has been quite a bit of commotion over the fact that this year Cupid is wearing jeans and a cowboy hat. Before this year, he has been unclothed. Someday I'll share some other stories with you that might have led to this controversy with Cupid. We have an interesting town!

The valentine program is so popular that there is a volunteer waiting list of 45 people. I'm thinking maybe I should get my name on that list so I can join in the fun next year when I'm retired! What do you think??
NOTE: I think I slept a total of 1.5-2 hours last night. The girls took turns waking up, eating, sleeping, waking up. At least never both at the same time. I am not getting any sleep, but don't feel too bad. Feisty is still sick. Please pray for her.
NOTE #2: I still had them all day Saturday and all night. But this time I think I managed about 6 hours of sleep. They slept much longer between each feeding. Feisty is improving, but we have had to do a lot of "musical chairs" type organizing to get DC and me to church and choir, get Care Bear to Sunday School, and Kristen and Mike to second service to play and sing in the worship team. DC is now with Feisty at their house and I'm with the babies at ours. Dinner is in the oven. The snow that was coming down hard when we got up has ended and the sun is out. Someone at church told me I look great considering I have had such a week-end. But we have really bonded with the little girlies!

Kristen has finally found a minute while here this morning to do a catch-up post. Go on over and visit her if you have a minute to spare.


Diane J. said...

Hi, Dawn. Sorry Feisty is sick. Hope it runs its course soon and she's better quickly, for her sake and everyone else's.

I knew where you lived from our emails and other clues over the last 2 years, and I knew some of the facts about the postmark for Valentine's Day, but you did a good job with this post.

Hope you get some rest tonight and have a good weekend. ;o)

Love and hugs,


Nadine said...

I hope you get some rest, but how special is it to have those to little beauties all to yourself. I pray that Fiesty gets better soon.

I think you should volunteer. You would be great at it.

Needled Mom said...

I'm sure that you are probably catching up on your sleep today after having the wee ones last night. What a wonderful grandma you are to help out so much -- especially when it is needed so badly.

I loved your stories about International Falls AND Loveland. We have always enjoyed following the battle of the low temps in Minnesota's icebox capital and it is so nice to hear the "whole story."

I can't wait to hear more about Cupid and Loveland. It sounds like such a special day for them when Feb. 14th rolls around each year.

I hope Fiesty's bug was just a quick one.

Laura said...

Awww...what fun, taking the little girls with you on date night! Hope you are catching up on your sleep today! Thanks for sharing the stories of your hometowns!!

Susie said...

Hi Dawn,
I really enjoyed this post and although I knew you were in Colorado, I had no clue you were from such a special town :)
The pictures of the twins are precious. I especially love the one of them with Great Grandma (is that your mom?) She looks just wonderful and happy to have them in her arms.

Linda said...

What a sweet, sweet Grandma you are Dawn. I pray Feisty will be well very soon and that noone else gets sick.
I love your stories and this one is no exception. I think it would be fun to be a volunteer.
Love and prayers to all of you. I hope you get a chance for a nap today:-)

Penless Thoughts said...

What a nice story and history of your town. Now I know!!!! And yes, I think you ought to put your name on that list!!!

You're such a good grandma!!! Be sure and check in with me tomorrow to find out about my grandma day today :o)

Looney Mom said...

Poor Fiesty. Praying she gets better fast!

That pic with you and both the babies is a priceless treasure for sure! Just beautiful.

Glad to hear they're doing well and growing!

PEA said...

I'm so loving these pictures of the twins, you certainly are getting very good at holding both of them at the same time:-) They truly are so precious!! Awww poor Feisty, I do hope she starts to feel better real soon. So many flu viruses going around right now. I'm still not completely over mine yet.

Oh Dawn, I so enjoyed reading the story about your fascinating! No wonder you said your town was so popular on Valentine's Day:-) I think you should volunteer for that...what fun it would be!! xox

Linds said...

You certainly have your hands and arms full, Dawn. I am so thankful you are close by to help though. Of course I will be praying for Feisty.

What a fascinating story about the place you live! I will have to haul out the atlas and see where both places are now. And I wonder if it is a popular place to go to get married as well?

Karen H. said...

Good Morning Dawn,
I'm sorry Fiesty is sick and I do hope she is better today. Our oldest daughter is better and I'm so "THANKFUL" for that. I heard on the news the other night that even tho people had taken the flu shot, they said they flu that's going around now won't help much. The twins are really growing. You look like a very proud Grandma holding them both. When they get a bit bigger, you may not be able to do that. LOL They do grow up fast. Is that your Mother holding the twins? She looks very happy as well. And Grandpa looks happy to be holding Emma and feeding her. Wow, that is a cold temperature there of -40 degrees. I guess it is a good thing they didn't have the windchill factor then. It would have been hard to even go outside. I knew you had told me that you lived in the Valentine City, but I couldn't remember the name of it. LOL. I tend to forget alot of things these days. Part of getting older I guess. LOL. I think that is so neat that people from all over send their Valentine's Cards there to be re-mailed. Maybe you would do a good job in volunteering there next year. I know they are very busy and could use the extra help. You would make a great volunteer. The card for this year is beautiful. I do love what the volunteers stamped on the letters. There must be some great talent there in Loveland. I do hope you got some rest this weekend. Take care my friend and have a great day. May God Bless You and Yours.

Love & Hugs,
Karen H.

Chrissie said...

Hello, Dawn! That is a really special story! Sounds like a fun town to live in! The stamp is so cute - perfect! :)
The blogger wouldn't let me comment last time, but I just wanted to tell you I'm praying for your Son's in-laws and the people in Kenya. Thanks so much for sharing that with us!
God bless your Sunday, dear friend!

Angela (Gran) said...

Good Evening Dawn....I pray that Fiesty is on the mend and that you were able to get a little nap today. It is such a joy to see you holding the twins. Two precious miracles indeed!

Thanks for sharing the story of your town. How exciting it must be every year on Valentine's Day.

I agree with the other, you should volunteer next year. :)I'm looking forward to more of the story.

May you have a restful night and a new and refreshing day tomorrow.


Sherry said...

The girls are growing! Kristen is so lucky to have you there to help out so much.

One quick thing-Janaque and I were getting everything together for the shower and we picked up a couple of picture frames. Would you happen to have any pictures printed off of the twins-either together or separately? The frames are 5X7. You can just bring them on Sat if you want. Thanks.

Chris said...

Get some rest, in no time those twins will be running all over the place. God is good.
My mother is from Clitheral, Minn. They moved to Cal. when she was 7 for jobs and my grandma hated the snow. I have been there once.
I love the Valentine story, it's great. Have a blessed day.

Maine Mom said...

What fun stories to read!

I hope Feisty gets feeling better soon. Kristen is blessed to have you so close to help out. I'm impressed that you took the babies out to eat! I bet that was an adventure. :-)

nannykim said...

love the pic with the great grandmaother. I bet you didn't get much sleep ;-)

Anonymous said...

Sure hope Feisty is feeling better. So wonderful you were able to spend some special time with those precious little girls!

What interesting stories of the towns you lived/live in. I love reading information like this.

I grew up in Harvard, IL. A small farming community. It proudly bore the title of Milk Capital of the World and we had a statue of a cow at the center stop of town. Her name was Harmilda (Harvard Milk Days), which are celebrated early June each year. This little town where everyone knew everyone and on that weekend we had thousands of people come for the celebrations.


Myrna said...

What an interesting story about Loveland and the two "icebox" towns!

Goodness, what a weekend you have had! I can't imagine keeping two tiny babies like that! You are certainly a wonderful mother and grandmother. I'm sure your daughter appreciates having you nearby and able/willing to help out like that.

I hope Feisty is already on the mend!

Be sure you get some rest also.

Becky said...

That pic with great grandma is so wonderful. You look pretty good yourself, juggling two babies at one time. Feeding one and comforting the other. You are pretty good that that grandma.

Jungle Mom said...

LOL1 I bet you all did get looks...

Nancy said...

I am sorry to hear about the illness but I will keep all of you in my prayers. Especially you- I know how you feel... both twins were sick last week so I traveled to their hometown to help out for 3 days. I'm still not back to normal. Thanks for the prayers they are both better.

I love the story about Loveland. I had never heard of it and found it so interesting. Thanks for sharing and for the information for Kenya!

Sharon Lynne said...

How many more days do you think could stay up without dropping? I'm impressed! It must be how God made women---when motherhood calls...or grandmotherhood calls...there is unexplained drive.

I enjoyed your stories. I'll have to get out the map and look a little closer...I want to see how far away you are from my brother's home.