Offbeat: Romance Puts its Stamp on Love

February 13, 2005--Posted at 10:00 p.m.

ROMANCE, AR--Romance, Arkansas is a town who's name was birthed by love back in the 1800's. Now in the 21st century, love, in the form of a stamp, is keeping Romance going strong.

Everybody brings their valentines cards for the Romance stamp of approval. It's a special Valentines cancellation from the U.S. Postal Service.

"We do a pictorial cancellation from the February 1 through the14th, then we destroy it as a collectors item," said Nancy Schnebelen, the Romance Postmaster. "And everybody comes here to get their Valentines postmarked to send to their sweetheart.

It's a different pictorial postmark every year, this year it's Cupid and the Love Station hand stamp in red or black ink.

Nancy Schnebelen has been the postmaster of romance for the last 7 years. "When I came here I thought it was going to be a piece of cake," said Schnebelen. "Then when I saw all the wedding invitations and I thought, oh my gosh."

Yes, besides the Valentines rush, there's the wedding invites. Somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 wedding invitations get the standard Romance stamp. Then there are the actual Romance weddings, with the post office doubling as an impromptu chapel. It happens about 10 times a year, in fact Nancy is a Love Station bride herself.

"He wanted me to be married here as the first postmaster and he works for the postal service too," said Schnebelen. "So we got married in Romance on Valentine's Day. It's always romantic in Romance. Why would I tell you any different."