While it is not her birthday, if anyone has a right to claim Valentine’s Day as her own, it’s Harriet Truelove of West Pittston.
When I first heard Harriet Truelove’s name, I thought my newspaper colleague Ed Philbin was pulling my leg. That was in 2004. Valentine’s Day fell on a Saturday that year and I recall waking up at 4 a.m. in a panic thinking I should write something fitting. But what?
Since sleep was out of the question, I put on coffee, grabbed a legal pad and started making a list of everything I could think of with the word “love” in it: song titles, poems, quotations, movies, phrases. Google existed then but it was not part of my world, and as it turned out, it didn’t need to be. Things were popping into my head faster than I could write them down.
When I finished, I grouped them together in a way I thought flowed and headed to the office where I read it to Philbin. The first thing he said was, “You left out the best one.” That’s when he told me about Harriet Truelove. I believe I inserted her name right between Courtney Love and Jennifer Love Hewitt.
I published the column under the headline “Love stinks, hurts and makes the world go ’round,” and it won me a first place Keystone Press Award. For a couple of years thereafter, I dusted it off on Valentine’s Day and ran it with a few edits, the last time close to 10 years ago. This year, I decided to attempt it again.
I say “attempt” because I do not have a copy of the original. I’ve been writing a column for more than 30 years but have never clipped out and saved a single one. So, I had to create this list the way I did the first, and yes, resist the urge to let Google do it for me.
So, on went the coffee and out came the legal pad, but this time I started with a phone call. I felt it appropriate to get Harriet Truelove’s permission to again use her name. “Oh, she’d love it,” her daughter said, pointing out that Harriet, now 92, reads the paper every day and looks forward to it.
So, Harriet, this one’s for you.
I believe I began the original with something like: Love Boat. Love Train. Love Shack. Love Bug. And, sorry, Love Canal.
And I know I included “love handles” in there somewhere.
Here’s what else I can remember and what I’ve come up with. And I must say being a Beatles fan helps.
Love, Love Me Do. Money Can’t Buy Me Love. Love Is All You Need.
Yesterday, love was such an easy game to play.
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah.
From Russia with Love. Somewhere, My Love. Love, American Style.
Love me tender, love me true.
Tell Laura I love her.
How Deep Is Your Love? Sunshine of Your Love. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?
Eddie My Love.
Never My Love.
Hunk a Burnin’ Love.
Love beads. Love bird. Love triangle. Lover boy. Love Potion No. 9.
You’ve lost that lovin’ feeling.
Love will keep us together.
Only love can break a heart; only love can mend it again.
Puppy Love. Tough Love. Radar Love. City of Brotherly Love.
Love and marriage, love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage.
Summer of Love.
Virginia is for Lovers.
Philadelphia Freedom, I lu-uh-uv you, yes, I do.
15-love, 30-love, 40-love, game.
Love is in the air. The look of love is in your eyes. I fell in love down at Palisades Park.
Wouldn’t it be loverly?
I Love Lucy.
I love New York.
I love Brian Piccolo.
We love Al.
Everybody Loves Raymond.
I love the smell of napalm in the morning.
Love means never having to say you’re sorry.
How do I love thee, let me count the ways.
Love one another as I have loved you.
Two things that came to mind this time didn’t exist back then:
Eat, Pray, Love, the book by Elizabeth Gilbert.
And the movie “Paris je t’aime” (Paris, I love you), which I heartily recommend.
I do remember how I ended the original column. At first, I could not think of an ending, so I left my keyboard and went for a little walk. When I got back, I sat right down and typed:
Might as well face it, you’re addicted to love.
Seventeen years later, I’d say we still are. Especially on Valentine’s Day.
Ed Ackerman writes The Optimist every week. Look for his blogs online during the week at pittstonprogress.com.