St. Valentine's Day is almost here. Maybe you'll tell him "I Love You" in an e-mail. Perhaps you will be sending her flowers or chocolates. Whatever else you do, chances are you'll be mailing a real, live, made-out-of-paper Valentine. The United States Postal Service says you can send it with a very special postmark : one that flashes "bliss" or "romance" or "loving" on the envelope.
There are many communities with romantic-sounding names, but this year a dozen or so offer unique postmarks for Valentine-oriented mail. You can have your pre-addressed and pre-stamped envelope (37 cents) or postcard (23 cents) mailed if you send it in a larger envelope to:
(Town Name) Valentine
City, State, Zip Code
To ensure its delivery by February 14, it should arrive at the re-mailing post office by February 10 (or by February 11 for in-state post offices). It is important to include your return address and zip code on the larger envelope.
All of the post offices listed below have a special postmark, pictorial or script, for periods ranging from February 1 through 14, or the entire month of February. These postmarks can be viewed on the Postal Service website at www.usps.com.
In Bliss, New York the postmaster of the one-person post office will personally hand-cancel an estimated 1,800 to 2,000 mailings with a postmark depicting multiple Cupid hearts. Heart Butte, Montana offers a pictorial heart in red ink with a ribbon postmark. In Loving, New Mexico the Valentine postmark displays two lovebirds sitting on a heart and the inscription, "Valentine Day Station". Loving, a community of 1,400 near Carlsbad Caverns, has its outgoing mail jump from 500 pieces per day to about 4,000 daily during the pre-Valentine's Day period.
Loveland, Colorado has the biggest re-mailing program in the world with an average of 35,000 daily cancellations throughout the year. During the Valentine remailing period the post office will cancel an additional 20,000 cancellations per day. This work is done by senior citizen volunteers hand-stamping the Cupid cachet, love verse and pictorial heart-shaped Loveland postmark.
Romance, Arizona offers a cancellation featuring Cupid and his bow on the left side of " Love Station, Romance, AZ" and an assortment of hearts on the right side. In addition to the Valentine's Day mailings, the mail volume in Romance increases substiantially during April, May and June due to couples wanting "Romance" on their wedding invitations.
As in the past ten years, students from grades 7 through 12 in Valentine, Texas are competing to see whose artwork will be used on the current year's special cancellation stamp. And, finally, a little town in Colorado offers a pictoral postmark with the description, "Sugar City - The sweetest town around."
Post offices offering this special re-mailing service are: