Wednesday, February 2, 2011




I found this sweet little love story on line and thought I’d share it along with my Valentine’s Day table.

For Lovers Everywhere

1-31-2011 054

John Blanchard stood up from the bench, straightened his Army uniform, and studied the crowd of people making their way through Grand Central Station. He looked for the girl whose heart he knew, but whose face he didn't, the girl with the rose.

1-31-2011 055

His interest in her had begun thirteen months before in a Florida library. Taking a book off the shelf he found himself intrigued, not with the words of the book, but with the notes penciled in the margin.

1-31-2011 056

The soft handwriting reflected a thoughtful soul and insightful mind. In the front of the book, he discovered the previous owner's name, Miss Hollis Maynell.

1-31-2011 057

With time and effort he located her address. She lived in New York City. He wrote her a letter introducing himself and inviting her to correspond. The next day he was shipped overseas for service in World War II.

1-31-2011 060

During the next year and one month the two grew to know each other through the mail. Each letter was a seed falling on a fertile heart.

 1-31-2011 064

A romance was budding. Blanchard requested a photograph, but she refused. She felt that if he really cared, it wouldn't matter what she looked like.

1-31-2011 088             1-31-2011 087

1-31-2011 086             1-31-2011 085

When the day finally came for him to return from Europe, they scheduled their first meeting - 7:00 PM at the Grand Central Station in New York. "You'll recognize me," she wrote, "by the red rose I'll be wearing on my lapel."

1-31-2011 084           1-31-2011 083

So at 7:00 he was in the station looking for a girl whose heart he loved, but whose face he'd never seen. I'll let Mr. Blanchard tell you what happened:

1-31-2011 082           1-31-2011 076

A young woman was coming toward me, her figure long and slim. Her blonde hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears; her eyes were blue as flowers.

1-31-2011 081

Her lips and chin had a gentle firmness, and in her pale green suit she was like springtime come alive. I started toward her, entirely forgetting to notice that she was not wearing a rose.

1-31-2011 072

As I moved, a small provocative smile curved her lips. "Going my way, sailor?" she murmured.

1-31-2011 089

Almost uncontrollably I made one step closer to her, and then I saw Hollis Maynell. She was standing almost directly behind the girl.

1-31-2011 058

A woman well past 40, she had graying hair tucked under a worn hat. She was more than plump, her thick-ankled feet thrust into low-heeled shoes.

1-31-2011 067 

The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away. I felt as though I was split in two, so keen was my desire to follow her, and yet so deep was my longing for the woman whose spirit had truly companioned me and upheld my own.

             1-31-2011 092

And there she stood. Her pale, plump face was gentle and sensible, her gray eyes had a warm and kindly twinkle.

1-31-2011 097

I did not hesitate. My fingers gripped the small worn blue leather copy of the book that was to identify me to her.

1-31-2011 063

This would not be love, but it would be something precious, something perhaps even better than love, a friendship for which I had been and must ever be grateful.

1-31-2011 065

I squared my shoulders and saluted and held out the book to the woman, even though while I spoke I felt choked by the bitterness of my disappointment.

           1-31-2011 062

"I'm Lieutenant John Blanchard, and you must be Miss Maynell. I am so glad you could meet me; may I take you to dinner?"

1-31-2011 071

The woman's face broadened into a tolerant smile. "I don't know what this is about, son," she answered, "but the young lady in the green suit who just went by, she begged me to wear this rose on my coat.

1-31-2011 080

And she said if you were to ask me out to dinner, I should go and tell you that she is waiting for you in the big restaurant across the street. She said it was some kind of test!"

1-31-2011 074

It's not difficult to understand and admire Miss Maynell's wisdom. The true nature of a heart is seen in its response to the unattractive.

1-31-2011 104

"Tell me whom you love," Houssaye wrote, "And I will tell you who you are."

              1-31-2011 111

Happy Valentine's Day!

1-31-2011 100

Thank you for visiting today.  Come back soon!

I’m linking to Tablescape Thursday at  Between Naps on the Porch.  Please stop there too!


                  Special thanks to Kathy Ragsdale for the story.
                                                February 1997


  1. Beautiful table and beautiful story! You really put a lot of thought into that table, it shows!

  2. What a fantastic post, loved it all and got choked up-thanks:@)

  3. Oh i love your table.. it was hard to look at it and move through the story.. it had me spellbound. Your table is so absolutely beautiful.

  4. Beautiful table! It is just stunning! Love all the layering.

  5. Such a pretty, pretty table. You are very well prepared for Valentine's Day! Every time I visit your blog and see that red door, I am shopping at Talbot's within a day or two! I think it's the subliminal messaging working on me! Thanks for helping me to spend money! :-)

  6. What a special post you prepared for us today! Thank you! A beautiful table and story!

  7. Loved the story...wonderful! And your table is lovely too of course,

  8. Your table is as lovely as your sweet Valentine's story. Beautiful.

  9. Great tablescape. Anything with red is wonderful - my favorite color

  10. I love that story. I'd heard it before, but I don't remember when. Thanks for a romantic memory.

  11. What a sweet story! The last line is oh, so true! And your table is lovely to go along with it! The gorgeous cloth, those ruby glasses -- and that stunning lamp overhead!

  12. Your story is so romantic and the table fits is perfectly--even the red roses! Those cream colored dishes with the cutwork are beautiful!! Do you know the maker? I also like the use of the red checkered towels anchoring each place setting! You will enjoy dining at this table. Linda

  13. Alycia~Happy to oblige!

    Linda~the bottom of the cut work dishes say 'Victorian Collection' Fine Porcelain Imported by Coastline Imports-Made in China. I found them at Home Goods.

    Thank you all for the wonderful comments. I will be by to visit you all soon!

  14. A lovely, contemporary variation of "The Patient Griselda." A perfect story for Valentines. I had to go back and review your tablescape a second time...lovely. Thank you for sharing your charming design. Cherry Kay

  15. Sheila, great story! And a beautiful table, too! I love your red glasses, and the layered plates are perfect. :-) Stop by if you get a chance. I just posted my BEST tablescape ever!

  16. What a lovely story I got so in to it I had to go back and look at your beautiful pictures. Love love it

  17. What an amazing story! I've not heard this one before. It is a beautiful addition to your lovely tablescape. Thank you for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment on my blog. Maybe you will learn to love blue and white one day :-)


  18. What a fun story! Love that. I also love the way you layered the plates and the napkin arrangement.

  19. OK, you have quickly become one of my favorite tablescapers. Every single time I come here, I am delighted by the settings and the colors and the eye you have for putting it all together.

    My very favorite thing about this post this week, though, was that wonderful story!

    I love, love, love, the quote at the end. "Tell me whom you love, and I'll tell you who you are."

    Very, very inspiring and wonderful. I've been out of town and am just catching up. I would have hated to miss this.

  20. Beautiful table.
    Just saw that story on the Hallmark channel.

    I love that he passed the test.


  21. Oh Sheila, I haven't had the time to look at your posting in a while. I am at the end of my work day with tears running down my face at this beautiful story. I will come back tomorrow and really explore the beautiful tablescape and more. Forever YOUR friend, ~Sue~