A Pekin woman got more than she hoped for while she attempted to create something nice and meaningful for her husband’s Valentine’s Day gift.
Jessica Stork said she always tries to make homemade Valentine’s Day gifts each year. Jessica and her husband Shane had their first date seven years ago on Feb 13. They have been married for three years. Stork said it is always a special time of year for them.
This year, she wanted to try out an idea she saw on pinterest.com called “love letters from around the world.” Instead of trying to get them from around the world, Stork said she was hoping to get them from all 50 states in the nation.
In a social media post on Jan. 15, she explained she was asking people to write “Shane, Jessica’s love for you is so big it has reached…” on a piece of paper and then fill in the blank with the city and state. She asked for the picture to be taken outside so she could show Shane something from that town as well as the message.
Stork kept people updated on which states she still needed on a daily basis. The more the post was shared, the more people responded.
Stork said that within four days of her original post, it had been shared 400 times, and people from all 50 states had sent her a picture with the love message.
“I wasn’t sure I’d even get all 50 states,” said Stork. “I couldn’t believe it. I got messages from complete strangers. There was a man in New Hampshire who sent a picture. He and his wife had hiked a mountain with the note and took a picture with the note and the mountains in the back. I ended up getting at least 100 pictures from the U.S.”
It did not stop at the U.S. borders. Stork has received posts with the love note from Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Scotland, Canada, Mexico, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Australia, Thailand, Japan, Philippines and China. She got 12 pictures from England alone.
The response was more than she hoped for when she originally planned this present for her husband. As a result, she has enough pictures for an entire scrapbook, which she has put together. In it, there are four pages dedicated to landmarks including the Grand Canyon, the Great Wall of China, the Statue of Liberty and the tomb of Shah-Rukne-Alam in Multan, Pakistan. She also received pictures of famous homes including Bob Dylan’s childhood home in Minnesota, the houses from the television shows “Shameless,” “American Horror Story,” “The Walking Dead” and “Breaking Bad.”
There are pages in the scrapbook from filming sites for movies and television shows like “Vikings,” “Harry Potter” and “The Dark Knight.”
One of her favorites is from Kenya with lions in the background. Hundreds of people, mostly strangers, have helped make his gift.
“It’s reached so many people, and it adds up,” Stork said. “It means so much. I’ve been thanking each of them as the pictures come in every night before I go to bed. I don’t think they realize how much it means to me.”
Keeping this a secret was not too difficult. Shane is rarely on Facebook, but just to be sure he did not see her plans she blocked him from her post. The secret almost came out though when the couple stopped at Casey’s General Store where a woman spotted Stork and asked her if she was “that girl from Facebook who was doing that project.”
“He has no idea this is what I’m doing,” she said. “I think he knows I’m making something because I always do, but I think he thinks it’s a family album.”
Unfortunately, Shane will be out of town for work on Valentine’s Day; however, he will get back on Friday and Stork said they will celebrate then. She cannot wait for him to see this labor of love.