Romance rendezvous

By Carol Rolf

Romance, Ark., is once again in the news. The U.S. Post Office in Romance was the site Jan. 12 of the unveiling and release of the U.S. Postal System’s Love 2024 Stamp, just in time for Valentine’s Day. This year’s unveiling also featured a First Day of Issue (FDOI) stamp.

Romance is a small unincorporated community in White County with a population of 1,762 as reported in the 2010 census.

“This is really a big deal,” said John Parham, postmaster at Romance as well as Rose Bud, Mount Vernon and Enola. “This is the second time the Romance post office has been selected for the FDOI stamp; the first was in 1990.

“The U.S. Postal Service selects a different site each year for the unveiling and release of the Love Stamp,” he said. “We didn’t ask for it or make any kind of request. This is really special for us.”

“The AR-OK District loved that Romance was chosen as the office to celebrate the First Day of Issue for the Love 2024 Stamp,” said Chuck Hamilton, post office operations senior manager of Area L, which includes Central Arkansas.

Parham said visitors from several states, as well as the local area, made the recent trip to Romance for the Jan. 12 event. “Bob and Sue Bliven of Somerset, Ky., were here,” he said. “They are both retired rural mail carriers and have been to more than 100 of these ceremonies. My boss, Chuck Hamilton, thought it would be a good idea to ask them to unveil the stamp, which they did. That was really cool.

“Everything went really well,” Parham said, adding that an area was also set up in the fellowship hall of the Romance Church of Christ across the street from the post office. “They offered to do that since we were expecting lots of rain and high winds that day; they have a big parking lot as well. We did not know what kind of crowd we might have. The post office is a small building and people might have had to wait outside in the weather. We really appreciate the church for doing that.”

Parham said the new stamp can be purchased as a single or a book of 20. Postal rates increased Jan. 21, making one stamp 68 cents and a book $13.60. The Love 2024 Stamp is a Forever stamp and will always be equal in value to the current first-class mail 1-ounce price.

Patrons can get the FDOI stamp until May 12. There is no charge for that imprint, but if the envelope is to be mailed, it will require a first-class mail stamp on it.

He said if patrons have a quantity of envelopes, like wedding invitations, that already have first-class stamps on them and they want them stamped with the FDOI stamp, they can bring them to the post office or mail them in a large envelope or box. They can also include postage for the Love 2024 stamps and have those put on the envelopes along with the FDOI imprints. Mail to Romance Post Office, 292 Highway 31, Romance, AR 72136 or call 501.556.5911 for more information.

The USPS began the Love series of stamps in 1973.