Valentine's Day

Instead of greeting cards and chocolates this Valentine's Day, poet Kwame Alexander has packaged up for you a poem inspired by kids' definitions of love.

Last month, NPR asked elementary and high school teachers to give the following prompt to their students: "Love is ... " Students then filled in the blank with a line or, in some cases, a whole poem. Teachers from around the country submitted what their students wrote; NPR received more than 2,000 entries.

Alexander read through them and created one big love poem.

Stacy Nick / KUNC

More than 100,000 cards will go through the Loveland Post Office this month to get a special postmark from the “Sweetheart City” as part of the Valentine ReMailing Program.

“People from all over the country and world have their Valentine’s Day cards stamped here so it has that something extra special,” said Gov. Jared Polis, who helped kick off the program’s 73rd year by serving as a guest volunteer stamper, along with Miss Loveland Valentine Kat Pfeiffer.

Courtesy of Nicole Yost

The Loveland Chamber of Commerce has unveiled the 2019 stamp design for its valentine re-mailing program.

For 73 years, people from around the world have sent their valentines to the city to receive the special postmark, called a cachet. A group of 50 volunteers hand-stamps the cachet and postmark on each of the more than 100,000 valentines mailed through Loveland.

courtesy of the Loveland Chamber of Commerce

Almost everyone who lives in Northern Colorado has probably heard of Loveland's Valentine remailing program. The U.S. Postal Service says the program, which turns 70 in 2016, is the largest of its kind in the country, handling between 150,000 and 200,000 pieces of mail each year.

Beginning as early as December, cards and letters start pouring in from all over the world. For about two weeks before Valentine’s Day, the sound of stamping fills the Loveland Chamber of Commerce.

David Rupert / U.S. Postal Service

Since 1947, more than 12 million cards and letters have been sent to Loveland, Colorado's post office to be hand-stamped and mailed to the lucky recipient. In 2014, they received more than 150,000.

"That's from all around the world – in fact, 110 countries, 50 states," said U.S. Postal Service spokesman David Rupert. "It's amazing how this is a worldwide phenomenon.”

While Loveland is the biggest, it certainly isn't the only place with a romantic name and a remailing program. There's also Loveland, Ohio, Valentine, Nebraska, and Cupid, Maryland.

New York City firefighters Sophy Medina and Thomas Olsen don't work together very often, but their first Valentine's Day as a couple was an exception. They worked the same fire that night — and then ended up at the same hospital with minor injuries.

"There really wasn't much romantic about the night it was," Tommy tells Sophy, now his fiancee, on a visit to StoryCorps. "I kept coming over. I sat in your bed and was talking to you."

If you're looking to buy chocolate in San Francisco this Valentine's Day, just follow your nose down Valencia Street. "A lot of people walk in [and say], 'Oh, my gosh, the smell!" says Cameron Ring, co-owner of Dandelion Chocolate.

For Valentine's Day, Morning Edition commentator Sandip Roy shares a family love story from 70 years ago.

I always knew that my mother's aunt Debika was the most beautiful of all the great-aunts. I didn't know that when she was young, she jumped off a moving train for love.

She is now 90. Bent with age, she shuffles with a walker. But she's still radiant, her hair perfectly dyed.

Last year, Payam Rajabi got a new job and had to leave Toronto and his girlfriend, Clare, and move to San Francisco. All that left him feeling a little down — until he came up with his upsy, downsy valentine idea.