Post office puts stamp on Valentine's Day

Sunday, February 13, 2005

VALENTINE, Texas -- Love is getting stamped out in this tiny West Texas town.

Valentine's Day cards and letters have been coming to the town's adobe-style post office for weeks as romantics from around the world send messages to get stamped with the distinctive postmark of Valentine, Texas.

With 7,000 cards already behind them Monday, Postmaster Maria Elena Carrasco and her part-time assistant Leslie Williams were greeted with a dozen brimming baskets of cards and letters left by the daily delivery truck that traveled 150 miles from El Paso.

They stamped each piece by hand, and by nightfall, another truck making the return trip picked up the cards and letters for routing to cities coast to coast, border to border. By Carrasco's count, they've gone to 28 countries, including Saudi Arabia, Ireland and Switzerland.

"It reinforces my belief that there is a lot of love and a lot of people do believe in God because that's what love is," said Carrasco, who has run the post office since 1990.

The holiday postmark tradition grew from the 1980s, when the previous postmaster, Doris Kelley, offered the postmark to some friends and the favor spread by word of mouth.

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