Family, Recommended Readings
Comments 3

Happy Valentine’s Day

Candice had selected a special book to take with her today to the Takoma school in DC where she tutors young children in reading. When I saw it, I smiled. It was the perfect choice.

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch (1991) by Eileen Spinelli is — to put it simply — the best Valentine’s Day book ever. Mr. Hatch is the loneliest man in town. He would leave his brick house at 6:30 sharp every morning to walk to the shoelace factory, where he worked. At lunchtime he would sit alone in the corner, eating his cheese and mustard sandwich and drinking a cup of coffee. Sometimes he brought a prune for dessert.

Then one Saturday, the postman dropped off a mysterious package. Mr. Hatch didn’t normally receive much mail because he didn’t have any friends. But inside he found a big heart-shaped box tied up with a bow and filled with candy. The note with the package simply said, “Somebody loves you.”

Mr. Hatch had a secret admirer!

Over the course of the next few pages, Mr. Hatch is transformed. He takes the candy to share with his fellow workers at the factory. He helps out the men running the newspaper stand and the meat counter. He bakes brownies for the neighborhood kids. He even pulls out his old harmonica to play for backyard parties.

Suddenly, though, his mood changes. Only one other person knows why. But by book’s end, Mr. Hatch learns who loves him. And it is more wonderful than he ever imagined.

As I do virtually every time I read this story, I cried.

You can listen — and cry if you wish — to the story as told in this beautiful reading by Hector Elizondo.

Here’s wishing you a Valentine’s Day where you discover — and hear from — all those who love you.

Flowers for my Valentine…from a not-so-secret admirer

More to come…


Photo of abstract valentines by Susan Wilkinson on Unsplash

This entry was posted in: Family, Recommended Readings


I am David J. Brown (hence the DJB) and I originally created this personal blog more than ten years ago as a way to capture photos and memories from a family vacation. After the trip was over I simply continued writing. Over the years the blog has changed to have a more definite focus aligned with my interest in places that matter, reading well, roots music, and more. My professional background is as a national nonprofit leader with a four-decade record of growing and strengthening organizations at local, state, and national levels. This work has been driven by my passion for connecting people in thriving, sustainable, and vibrant communities.


  1. My friend Catherine Leonard, the Secretary-General of INTO, commented on LinkedIn from her home in the UK. She wrote,

    “Ah, I just listened to the story. A lovely choice.”

    It reminded me of how children in different countries hear and learn different stories, yet some themes are universal.

  2. Pingback: February observations | More to Come...

  3. Pingback: The books I read in February 2023 | More to Come...

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