Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

Each week Albany Herald researcher Mary Braswell looks for interesting events, places and people from the past. You can contact her at (229) 888-9371 or mary.braswell@albanyherald.com.

Valentine's Day is traditionally a day when people express their love to one another by presenting gifts, cards, candy, flowers or perhaps dinner and a movie. Here is a look at things associated with love ... and more.

The big day...

* More than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold for Valentine's Day.

* A majority of men (53 percent) admit that they lean on friends and family to find the perfect present for their sweetheart, while 11 percent look to co-workers and 10 percent ask the cashier or sales person.

* When it comes to present time, women prefer a gift after a nice dinner, while most men prefer gifts first thing in the morning.

* Women purchase 85 percent of all Valentine' Day cards.

* About 3 percent of pet owners will give Valentine's Day gifts to their pets.

* Approximately 110 million roses, the majority red, will be sold and delivered within a three-day period just before and including Valentine's Day.

Conversation Hearts

* The present day Sweethearts Conversation Heart dates back to 1902. Back then, besides hearts, they also produced various shapes such as postcards, baseballs, horseshoes and watches.

* About 8 billion hearts are produced annually; that's enough candy to stretch from Rome, Italy, to Valentine, Ariz., 20 times and back again.

* The peak selling season for conversation hearts last only six weeks, but confectioners produce the candy for nearly 11 months of the year.

* At least 10 new conversation heart sayings are introduced each year.

* Each year the television game show "Jeopardy!" includes a Sweethearts Conversation Hearts on its Valentine's Day show.

Love superstitions

* Sure-fire ways to ensure you will soon fall in love: Wear your nightgown inside out, rub your headboard with lemon peel before turning out the light or count nine stars each night for nine consecutive nights.

* Soup that is overly salty means that the one who cooked it is in love.

* If you drop a pair of scissors, it is a sign that your lover may be unfaithful.

* A swan's feather, sewed into your husband's pillow, will ensure fidelity.

* You shouldn't knit a pair of socks for a lover ... unless you want them to walk away from you.

* If you see a robin on Valentine's Day, you will marry a crimefighter.

Love, weddings and marriage

* Couples usually wait until six to eight dates before they are willing to enter into an exclusive relationship. It takes, on average, 12 to 14 dates before couples will trade house keys.

* Thirty-three percent of online daters form a relationship, 33 percent do not and 33 percent give up.

* Studies show that before a man speaks his first word, the way he stands counts for over 80 percent of a woman's first impression. Only about 7 percent of that first impression can be attributed to what the man actually says.

* On average, a person will fall in love seven times before marriage.

* Unlike the days of old, only 4 percent of men ask the parents of his true love for permission to marry their daughter.

* There is no law in the United States that requires a bride to take the last name of the groom.

* Marital quarrels hit their peak in July, but so do riots, criminal violence and hasty legislation.

* When someone looks at a new love, the neural circuits that are usually associated with social judgment are suppressed.

* It was common to see engraved maple leaves on the headboards of early American settlers. As a symbol of love, the leaves promoted peaceful sleep.

* In America, a TV soap opera wedding typically attracts more viewers than a presidential address.

* Studies show that husbands who regularly kiss their wives good-bye in the morning live longer than those who do not.

They said it...

"If love is the answer, could you rephrase the question? " -- Lily Tomlin

"All marriages are happy. It's trying to live together afterwards that causes all the problems." -- Shelley Winters

"If you want to sacrifice the admiration of many men for the criticism of one, go ahead, get married." -- Katharine Hepburn

"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That's relativity." -- Albert Einstein

"An archeologist is the best husband any woman can have; the older she gets, the more interested he is in her. " -- Agatha Christie

"The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about nothing -- and then marry him." -- Cher

"I believe that love cannot be bought except with love." -- John Steinbeck

"Marriage has no guarantees. If that's what you're looking for, go live with a car battery." -- Erma Bombeck

"One good husband is worth two good wives; for the scarcer things are, the more they are valued." -- Benjamin Franklin

"One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can't utter." -- James Earl Jones

"Bachelors should be heavily taxed. It is not fair that some men should be happier than others." -- Oscar Wilde

"Marriage is a fine institution -- but I'm not ready for an institution." -- Mae West

"A happy home is one in which each spouse grants the possibility that the other may be right, though neither believes it." -- Don Fraser

"I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love." -- Mother Teresa

"The best proof of love is trust." -- Dr. Joyce Brothers

And now, the real question...

When I get older, losing my hair many years from now,

Will you still be sending me a Valentine, birthday greetings, bottle of wine?

If I'd been out till quarter to three would you lock the door?

Will you still need me, will you still feed me,

When I'm sixty-four?

-- John Lennon & Paul McCartney