Annie Fasanella has had a 30-year obsession with heart-shaped things and kind acts.
She is so enamored of the heart shape that she uses it to dot the "i" when she signs her name. And it's why her home in neighboring Westport has vases, muffin pans, lamps, candlesticks, pillows -- even ice trays -- that honor the shape. Newspapers have dubbed her the Queen of Hearts.
She has never married, she has said, because "the right one never came along."
The retired nurse said she has tried to do kind things every day. "To me, Valentine's Day is every day," Fasanella said.
So as the single day that most others observe the holiday approaches, the Fairfield Citizen sat down with her for a Q&A interview.
Q: Why do you say every day is Valentine's Day?
A: It's about gifts of love You know, love can't be bought with flowers and candy. Love must be given away -- through kindness every day of our lives.
Q: What is the best valentine present you ever received?
A: A solid gold heart as a pendant from my mother when I was a toddler. My mother gave me my first heart, the one that I was born with. It was the gift of life.
Q: You've said the best valentines don't cost a cent and can be given every day in different ways. Explain, please.
A: "Here are three examples of free valentines that can be given any day of the year:
1. The gift of teaching: help someone to enrich life.
2. The gift of time: helping to straighten a messy abode.
3. The gift of a smile costs nothing yet is priceless.
Q: What's the quirkiest thing you've done on a Valentine's Day past?
A: Spent the day in a Wave Gallery window on Chapel Street in New Haven near the Yale Co-op. I did that on two Valentine days.
Q: What happened?
A: I stopped traffic. I had on a red leotard, and over that oversized boxer shorts imprinted with huge hearts. I was in the window from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Q: How did nursing dovetail with your fondness for hearts and kind acts?
A: I've seen heart operations that saved lives, and I've been at bedsides when hearts stopped beating. Such experiences stir the soul. Nursing, in the operating room or at the bedside, calls for caring, kindness.
Q: What does the word "heart" suggest to you?
A: The heart is a treasure chest full of souvenirs. It is meant to keep the memories we gather through years.
Q: What is one thing you've heard about hearts that you can't get out of your mind?
A: In the 17th century, a French woman once said, "A heart never gets wrinkles."