Roanoke, VA

A Valentine's Day love story that endures

Cheryl E Preston
Valentine chocolatesPhoto byJasmine WaheedonUnsplash

A snowy Valentine's Day

On Valentine's Day 1986, my late husband Michael Lynn Preston Sr. and I lived in the Historic Gainsboro area of Roanoke City Virginia and our house was only a few blocks from the downtown area. It was a Friday and Michael worked the night shift. He usually slept until around 7 PM but on Fridays woke up at around 4:30 to go to the bank before they closed at 5 to cash his check. There was no such thing as direct deposit in those days so you had to go in person. At around 3:00 that afternoon it began to snow and it was sticking on the ground but not on the streets.

It was one of those silent snows where the flakes came down softly and gently and by 4:00 there were at least 3 inches so I woke Michael up early. He decided to walk rather than drive to the bank and I walked with him and we held hands as we went on our way. He was 28 and I was 27 and we had been married for 5 years but on this day I felt like a teenager. We went to First National Exchange Bank at 201 South Jefferson Street which over the years changed to Dominion Bank, First Union, Wachovia, and finally Wells Fargo. Now the building is no longer a bank at all.
Single red rosePhoto byVanessa SerpasonUnsplash

Downtown Roanoke South Jefferson Street Past

We crossed the street and went to the Hallmark store where Frankie Rowland's Steakhouse is now located at 104 South Jefferson Street. We purchased each other comical Valentine's underwear and boxes of candy, I got him a card, and he gave me a beautiful single red rose. We went next door on the right to Milan Brothers which is now Milan Tobacconists and is located at 309 South Jefferson Heading home we made a few purchases at a store at 102 South Jefferson Street. I don't recall the name and it was not there long but the last business in the building was a Subway.

We walked home on the slushy snow holding hands and because there was not much traffic the silence in the atmosphere allowed us to hear the snow hitting the ground. South Jefferson Street in Downtown Roanoke remains but not one business that I highlighted is still around. My Valentine's Day memory of Downtown Roanoke close to 4 decades ago will always be my fondest because 9 months later on November 18 at 9:38 AM I gave birth to the daughter my husband told me he wanted on that special night.

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I write, about breaking news, and current events. I wrote a newspaper column from 1997 to 2007 and have written for various online platforms since 2012 including Yahoo Contributor Network, Hubpages, and Vocal Media.

Roanoke, VA

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