Childhood chums have exchanged same Valentine's card since 1937
Valentine's Day tradition was started by Bob Trentham, 89, and Don Borwick, 88
What started as an inside joke between two Alberta school friends has grown into a Valentine's Day tradition spanning eight decades.
Childhood chums Don Borwick, now 88, and Bob Trentham, now 89, have been exchanging the same Valentine's Day card since 1937, when they were Grade 3 classmates at a one-room schoolhouse in Orkney, just north of Drumheller, Alta.
"He sent it to me at a Valentine's party in the school. And the next year, I just thought, instead of sending a new one, I'd send the old one back as a joke," Trentham told the Calgary Eyeopener on Tuesday.
"The next year he sent it back to me again, so that's how we started doing it, and that's kept us in touch with one another over the years."
Despite not always living in the same city — and sometimes not even the same province — the two have remained close, still meeting for lunch every few months.
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"I was his best man, he was my best man," said Trentham. "We had a very close relationship. We played together all the time, we played hockey together and ball and rode our bicycles all over the place as kids growing up. We had a wonderful relationship and our wives knew each other and whatnot."
This year, it was Borwick's turn to receive the small cardboard card, which arrived in the mail at his Calgary home on Friday.
"It's just something we've kept up and maintained our friendship," he said.
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The card — which features a bear wearing eyeglasses on the cover and the words, 'I can't "see" anyone but you' — hasn't changed hands every year over the last eight decades.
"Throughout the years, he's kept it for a while and sent it back, and I return it to him, so over the 80 years it's still around," said Trentham.
"On the back we usually note the year we send it back to each other, so there's quite a few."
Made out of "sort of a Corn-Flakes-box paper," the card has held up well, said Trentham, who now lives in Red Deer.
"It's in reasonably good shape," he said.
And the pair plan to continue the tradition.
"If we're in good health, it will come back next year, I'm sure," said Trentham.
With files from Danielle Nerman and the Calgary Eyeopener