A Valentine to remember
PICTURE ROCKS – They met at the Hughesville carnival. She was 16 and he was 20. It was 1937. Eunice Fellinger and her friend Ruth Collins went to the carnival to meet two other ‘fellas’ but when she met Merlin ‘Tom’ Stover, she changed her mind about the other two guys. Tom Stover was a 1935 graduate of Muncy High School and played football. They started dating right away, and they couldn’t wait to get married when Eunice graduated from high school two years later. “My mother wasn’t very happy,” Eunice said. “I was just 17.”
The years went by quickly, too quickly, for Tom became gravely ill. Poor circulation required him to have surgery on his legs in 1973. “He did not come out from that well at all,” said Eunice Stover. “Something went terribly wrong with the surgery.” He passed away in 1975 after 37 years of marriage. He was 58 and Eunice was 54.
During the remaining five years of his life, Tom Stover would send his wife the perfect valentine. A 7 by 10 inch card embossed with gold trim, velvet ribbons, glossy pink and red hearts and always with raised lettering stating, “A Loving Valentine for My Wife.” Each are different, with their own special oversized envelope. Tom dated them and signed each of the them on the back “With Love, Tom.” He purchased them at Haag’s Five and Ten in Hughesville according to Eunice who said she likes to get them out every year in February to lovingly look at them. “They bring back fond memories,” she said handling the valentines with care that are kept in a special linen box sized just right for the cherished valentines. Eunice said her husband was very supportive to her needs while they were married, and she never remarried after his death. He sent her the valentines each year from 1970 through 1975.
One of the fondest memories she has was when they took a vacation together, one of the few they ever had, during his last year. “We went to Maine,” she said. The couple, who raised two children in the house where Eunice grew up in Picture Rocks, never took a vacation by themselves, so this was a real joy to Eunice, having time to spend with Tom alone. “It was in 1975,” she said. “I will never forget it.”
After Tom’s death, Eunice Stover had to go to work, so she found a job at Mode Craft where she worked for 21 years. But during the years and to this day, Eunice remembers those 37 years she spent with her husband, and these valentines remind her of the time they first met. Ironically, their son, Tommy Jr. also met his wife at the Hughesville carnival.
Eunice Stover will be 92 this May.
A verse from the last card (Ambassador Cards) sent…
“You are the faith and confidence I need from day to day,
the purpose behind my dreams and all the plans I lay,
the understanding heart when things go wrong and I am blue,
home and comfort when the busy day is through,
the very dearest thing in all my life,
my wonderful companion, my darling wife.