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For 71 years, 2 sisters sent the same 1941 Valentine’s card back and forth. This year, a tradition endures.

For 71 years, 2 sisters sent the same 1941 Valentine’s card back and forth. This year, a tradition endures.


Sisters Jean Coppins and Bobbie Snider sent the same Valentine’s Day card back and forth to each other for 71 years.

Early Newspaper

Arizona Republic

PHOENIX – Bobbie Gorsline was searching for Valentine’s Day greeting cards, sorting via the small alternative, searching for unbiased the apt one.

She picked up a heart-shaped card printed with flowers and two bluebirds, adorned with a real crimson feather, that said, “Valentine Greetings to My Sister.”

It was a rare salvage in 1941, a time sooner than expansive greeting card companies, which today assemble cards for sisters, sisters-in-law, stepsisters, half-sisters, expansive sisters, little sisters, and pals who appear like sisters.

The verse within perfectly described Bobbie, who was 21 at the time, and her sister, Jean Coppins, 23, who lived in what was then East Detroit, Michigan. They’d always been shut.

Bobbie had never seen a card like this one. She sold it and on Valentine’s Day, she gave it to Jean.

Jean was so glad that she saved it. It was the perfect card, so perfect that the subsequent year, on Valentine’s Day, she gave it back to Bobbie.

Bobbie hung onto the card. The year after, she sent it to Jean.

It was the starting up of a tradition that would suffer for 71 years.

And it wouldn’t end there.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Jean was the second of seven kids. Bobbie was the third. They grew up in a diminutive home without a electricity or plumbing. Their brother, Chuck, the most efficient boy, hauled water from a neighbor’s properly at the far end of the road.

The ladies called their mother an angel. Their father was anything however. He was a taxi driver who spent a lot of time in the neighborhood bar. At home, he barked orders from his recliner. 

The adolescents looked out for one another, all seven of them, however Bobbie and Jean have been especially shut.

Jean married James Coppins in 1939. Three years later, Bobbie married Everett Snider.

While Everett was away in the Army, she lived with Jean  and James. 

When Bobbie had her first little one, a lady, she named her Jean. Sandy came subsequent, adopted by Gary and Dale.

Jean had six kids: Jimmy, John, Judy, Janet, Jerry and Joyce.

Their kids grew up together.

Jean’s daughter, Judy, remembers going to Bobbie’s home one day, her parents bringing a half-gallon of ice cream frozen so stable that their spoons crooked when they tried to dish it up. Her dad carve it into slices with a hacksaw.

In 1953, Bobbie and her family moved to Phoenix. The sisters visited regularly and kept in contact by cellular phone and letters. Years later, when Jean and then Bobbie have been widowed, their visits generally stretched to a month at a time.

Sandy and Judy have been 6 when they have been break up up. After Judy graduated from highschool, she and a unbiased appropriate friend took a Greyhound bus to Phoenix to search the advice of with Sandy. The cousins kept in contact, identical to their mothers, getting together for weddings and other family events and visiting when they may.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Over all these years, Bobbie and Jean sent the Valentine card back and forth, never missing a year.

The verse within said, “Remember when we two have been adolescents — 

And all the scraps we had?

Remember all the correct instances, too,

That extinct to make us glad?

Here’s something else that I recall —

I believed a lot of you!

Don’t you neglect that, either,

‘cause, doggone it, I quiet carry out!”

The sisters generally made notations within the card. Other instances, they wrote on notepaper and enclosed it in the envelope.

In the backside left corner, Jean did the math one year: 2004 minus 1941 equals 63. She wrote, “Calm going stable. It’s seen a lot of miles however when it will get to you, I understand it can explain smiles.”

On a sheet of notepaper printed with a ladybug and watering can dated Feb. 10, 2006, Jean wrote, “Admire you more rather more each year. I never saw a greater Valentine.”

“2008! Definite got our cash out of this card and it is quiet great!” Jean wrote in the upper left corner.

Near the top of the card, Bobbie wrote, “70 years and I quiet savor you more.”

In 2011, Bobbie wrote on the back of a flowered sheet of notepaper, “Here’s going to fall apart one of these years!” Underneath that, the subsequent year, Jean wrote, “I like you easiest of anybody!”

♦ ♦ ♦ 

On her backyard patio in Phoenix, Bobbie’s daughter, Sandy Mettille, flipped via the pages of an album, pointing out photographs of her mother and aunt.

Although they have been shut, Jean and Bobbie weren’t all that powerful alike. 

“Everyone called Aunt Jean a saint because she never, never got mad,” Sandy said. Her mother, Bobbie, had a mood.

Bobbie detached angels. Jean detached clowns.

Jean favored the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers. Bobbie wasn’t powerful desirous about sports activities, though she’d pay attention when the Red Wings played the Arizona Coyotes. She’d tease Jean if the Coyotes beat the Red Wings.

They both favored to play cards and crochet, making afghans, sweaters and bonnets for their adolescents, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

They have been correct mothers, devoted to their kids and each other’s.

“They confirmed us unconditional savor,” Sandy said.

From Destin, Florida, Jean’s daughter, Judy Neisch, said the sisters urged each other all the issues. They kept no secrets and ways.

And at any time when they have been together, they would dispute like they have been ladies. It was contagious, Judy said. In restaurants, even diners at other tables would laugh.

“They have been unbiased a hoot,” Judy said, “the two of them together.”

♦ ♦ ♦ 

In 2007, Bobbie was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and by 2012, she had moved into a memory care home.

That year, the card was delivered to Sandy’s home. She took it to her mother. Bobbie didn’t bear in mind all the issues or all individuals, however she identified her kids.

And she remembered the card.

Bobbie remembered her sister, too. When they talked over video calls, Bobbie would reach out and contact Jean’s face on the display conceal.

Sandy took the card home along with her, haunted it may accept misplaced or accidentally thrown out. She had it quiet when Roberta Ann “Bobbie” Snider died on Nov. 21, 2012, at the age of 92.

Sandy and her siblings picked out an urn with an angel wrapped around it. Sandy understanding it was beautiful and texted a describe of it to her cousins.

Earlier than burying her mother at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona along with her father, who had died in 2011, Sandy carve a sliver from the apt aspect of the Valentine’s Day card and slipped it within the urn.

Jean Evelyn Coppins died two months later, on Jan. 16, 2013. She was 94. Her kids found the same urn Bobbie had been buried in, the one with the angel on it, for their mother. Judy understanding she would have cherished that.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

In 2013, with Valentine’s Day approaching, Sandy took the card out of a file folder the place she’d put it for safekeeping. She slid it out of the envelope, last addressed in Jean’s script.

The card was 72 years former and fragile. The white paper had yellowed, however the colours of the flowers and birds hadn’t faded. The crimson feather, fitted into a cut on the entrance, was quiet radiant.

Sandy ran her fingers over it.

It had been so important to the sisters. A connection between them. Even when they have been miles apart.

Sandy picked up the cellular phone and called Judy. She urged her cousin that she was making an attempt at their mothers’ card.

“Why don’t we defend sending it?” Sandy asked.

Judy did no longer hesitate. Obviously, they may quiet.“I was honored to carry out that,” Judy said.

That Valentine’s Day, the card, postmarked in Phoenix, arrived in the mail in Destin, Florida, the place Judy spends winters.

When Judy got the card home to Michigan, she carve a narrow strip from the backside of the card and tucked it within her mother’s urn. Jean was buried in the same grave along with her husband, who died in 1983.

The Valentine’s Day card, a share of it at least, may perhaps be with the sisters always.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

In February, Sandy packed the card carefully in a padded envelope, inserting cardboard to forestall it from bending. She sent it from Phoenix on Feb. 5, paying extra for a tracking quantity so she may display screen its development.

It arrived in Destin, Florida, at 10: 30 a.m. on Feb. 9. Sandy knew it sooner than Judy and called to relate her.

Judy picked it up at the desk of the high upward thrust the place she and her husband, Richard, have stayed for 19 years. She teared up as she opened it.

Sandy estimates the card has traveled more than 130,000 miles, between Arizona and Michigan and Arizona and Florida. She marvels that it has never long gone astray.

Judy usually slaps a couple of stamps on it and places it in the mailbox. 

“Subsequent year, will you please ship it with a tracking label?” Sandy asked when she called. Judy promised she would.

Sandy was relieved. It is so rather more than a card.

It’s a reminder, timely for Valentine’s Day, Sandy said. Younger of us learn to nurture relationships from their families. Individuals can disagree and quiet savor one another.

“Unconditional savor is the most treasured reward we can give or be given, and it’s a connection to always recognize and treasure,” Sandy said. “That’s the reward our moms gave us.”

Their reward to their mothers is to continue that tradition in a lot of ways: Jean’s deviled eggs at Easter, Bobbie’s brown sugar tarts, family gatherings at holidays, saying, “I like you more.” And an former, heart-shaped card.

“Remember when we two have been adolescents —  

And all the scraps we had?

Remember all the correct instances, too,

That extinct to make us glad?”

This year marks 80 years the card has been mailed back and forth.

“Maybe we can make it to 100 if Sandy and I dwell lengthy satisfactory,” Judy said. The cousins are 74.

After that, perhaps their youthful sisters will defend it going or the grandchildren or great-grandchildren.

Sandy thinks the sisters may perhaps be extremely ecstatic to grasp about the card.

“That card was so important to the two of them,” Sandy said.

And a year from now, the card will salvage its way back to Sandy, a tradition that endures for the savor of their mothers.

“Here’s something else that I recall –

I believed a lot of you!

Don’t you neglect that, either,

’cause, doggone it, I quiet carry out!”

Apply reporter Karina Bland on Twitter @KarinaBland

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For 71 years, 2 sisters sent the same 1941 Valentine’s card back and forth. This year, a tradition endures.