November 2021 – It’s time for fall weather: cooler days and leaves on trees changing colors. The signs of fall season are recognized almost everywhere, well, except in some areas of Florida, where I live. Here it still feels like summer, the weather is starting to cool off in the mornings and evenings. But we still get hot days, and barely a few trees change colors.
This year, 2021, we finally received the amazing news we were all waiting for! In 2019, there was an announcement that a new movie was going to start production and filming, but the pandemic caused by COVID-19 put a halt to it. The new movie was filmed with the title: The Vows We Have Made. While I was writing this post, the movie premiered on the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries TV station (in the USA) on Sunday, October 17th, 2021. It was an amazing story, bringing our POstables team together again, and adding a few new characters.
Also, we’ve been wishing and waiting for a fans’ convention where we can meet our favorite actors in person and meet other fans. Well, RomaDrama is giving us a “POstables” experience! They managed to get our favorite actors to come together for this one, scheduled for January 7-9 of 2022, in Palm Beach, Florida. Only a couple of hours away for me! Eric Mabius, Kristin Booth, Crystal Lowe, and Gregory Harrison have confirmed their participation. And I just found out that Geoff Gustaffson and Zak Santiago will join them. I cannot wait for this event!
I have so much I want to tell and share with all the readers and fans about the next movie in the series Signed, Sealed, Delivered. Believe me, I’ve been asking myself how am I supposed to summarize this movie? Be warned, as much as I try, there might be a few spoilers to the story. Actually, there are a lot of spoilers. As in other posts I’ve written, I quote the script. Martha Williamson has done a wonderful job creating these characters and their stories.
And, as always, I like to remind all readers that, even though I love the movies, I’m only a fan of the Hallmark network. I have no rights or access to any production or merchandise. None. But if you’re interested, you may visit their website Hallmarkchannel.com. I check the Hallmark Channel page every day. I do. I like to check the schedule and what new movies are coming soon. All images/posters used for this post are from Hallmark Channel/Crown Media Holdings.
From The Heart premiered on February 21, 2016- just a week after Valentine’s Day, February 14th. This is the fourth movie after the series, and is another one full of drama and surprises, of course. Valentine’s Day is a special date for me, since it’s the birthday of my late mother Raquel.
Our team of POstables detectives is busy as always; the rush of Valentine cards keeps the building buzzing, and they have us fans wondering what will happen with our favorite couples (fans on social media have come up with the perfect names for these couples: “ShOliver” and “NoRita”). Rita and Norman are now a couple of boyfriend and girlfriend. Oliver is recently divorced, and we are waiting for him to step up and ask Shane out on a date. We know Shane is waiting for some signal from Oliver that he is ready to ask her out.
The movie starts with a scene from Valentine’s Day in 1835. A lady is writing a letter to a gentleman, mentioning she hopes this will be his first Valentine card. Then, we see Oliver cutting out a heart from red colored paper. Is he making a Valentine’s card for Shane? That’s so romantic! He is an old-fashioned guy, so sending a handmade card makes it more special.
Oliver arrives at the office, stamps an envelope (the Valentine’s card!, addressed to Shane!). He approaches Hazel (Jill Morrison), the mail carrier that goes by Shane’s house. He asks her to deliver the card for him, and when she sees who the envelope is addressed to, she tries to argue (why don’t you give it to her in person!). But he won’t let her finish her sentence. Shane has walked in, so he sends Hazel off on her way.
Oliver greets Shane “ready for the Valentine’s rush?” She responds “no”, and hands him an envelope in a plastic bag. Seems that Oliver somehow recognizes the envelope. While Shane was still talking, she didn’t notice him leaving. He went to a diner by himself and opened the envelope. The scene takes us to 15 years earlier, where we see a young guy put a letter in a street mailbox and walk over to a police patrol car. There is no one in, so he sits on the sidewalk. This must be a serious issue. What could possibly bring a young kid to look so in despair? Is this young Oliver? Bravo to actor Nick Purcha, playing young Ryan.
Back at the office, Norman and Rita are talking about their plans for Valentine’s day. Norman has not made a dinner reservation, so Rita offers to cook for him. Seems that Rita’s food is not popular, because he immediately points out to a Valentine’s deal in the newspaper (remember Rita’s cookies from the For Christmas movie?). She then realizes she doesn’t have to go to the Valentine’s party for postal employees who don’t have dates. This year, she has a boyfriend.
Shane walks in, and while they talk about where they should go for Valentine’s, she mentions that she doesn’t have a boyfriend “I’m at the post office delivering other women’s Valentines'”. Poor Shane is taking it hard that she has to work not only on one of the busiest days for the post office, but sorting and processing Valentine’s cards for others. Rita, trying to be discreet, sends Norman out of the office and asks Shane if she has a date for Valentine’s. When she responds that she doesn’t, Rita mentions Oliver, but Shane says there’s nothing going on between Oliver and her. Rita says “you and Oliver have a thing. I can read the chemistry.” Shane responds “chemistry does not a romance make, Rita.” “You’re starting to sound like Oliver”, Rita replies. Shane says that she doubts that he is ready to ask anyone out, since he’s recently “and freshly” divorced, “let alone a co-worker”.
Meanwhile, Oliver starts reading the letter with “Dear Maddie”. The scene goes back to a high school debate club competition. We see the teenage boy taking part in the debate against a team of two young ladies. Okay, when I saw his reaction to the envelope, I thought “did Oliver write this letter?” It seems that it wasn’t Oliver who wrote it, but there’s some mystery on why he reacted the way he did.
Shane walks into the office with a giant plush panda bear “people have no idea how hard it is to postmark a bear”. She finds Rita all flustered and Norman talking on the phone. Well, big news for Rita! She has been named Miss USA Special Delivery. The former winner had quit the post office, after being cast in a Broadway show, first runner up was on tour with her pop band, second runner up was pregnant “very pregnant”, and third runner up was in jail, “something to do with counterfeit Elvis commemorative” Norman points out. She then realizes she won’t spend her first Valentine’s date with Norman, as she will be out of town for an event. Shane suggests they should go for an early Valentine’s lunch. Norman mentions he has to meet his cousin Serge for lunch, so he invites Rita to go with him.
Oliver is still out of the office, reading the letter. The boy mentions he didn’t want to hurt the girl. He says he remembers the first time he met her, on their first debate. After that, he reaches out to the girl (young Maddie, played by Mackenzie Cardwell), trying to be friendly. She puts on her roller skates and leaves. Then, Oliver read something that alarmed him.
Norman and Rita go to the Mailbox Grille to wait for his cousin. As they are getting close to share a kiss, a young lady comes by and takes a picture of herself with them in the background (picture known as “selfie”). They heard the flash clicking sound, and realized she took their picture. It was a coworker from the office, and she says “first Tweet of the new Miss Special Delivery! Congratulations!”
Norman’s cousin, Serge (Chris Gauthier), comes in. He has a box of antique Valentine’s cards that he wants to gift to Norman. He’s pulling up written signs, mentioning that he has taken a vow of silence and is moving to Minnesota. He wants Norman to have the collection. When Serge leaves, Rita is ready to leave too since she has to go pack for her trip. Norman is trying to give her a kiss, but being aware that they’re in a public place, she pulls up an envelope to try to hide their kiss from view. She noticed that what she grabbed is dated from 1835, and is addressed to the Postmaster in New Salem, Illinois.
Oliver comes into the office and gives the letter to Shane. She reads out loud “I didn’t mean to kill anyone”. Oh no! This teenager wrote a letter to confess to a crime? She wonders what age these kids should be now? They were two debating teams from 15 years ago, in high school, so they were about 16-17 years of age. She mentions that debate competitions moved from school to school, so they could be from anywhere in the tri-state area of Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. She mentions that any good debater spends their time doing research doesn’t have time to kill anyone. “I debated in high school” she says, and Oliver replies “astonishing”. She then says she would start a search online for debate teams from the area. “It should take… forever”. Oliver, surprised, asks “forever?” She replies “a day, probably”.
Shane goes to sit near Oliver, but the giant bear is on the chair. She says “people do crazy things for Valentine’s”. (We are hoping she’d be surprised when she receives Oliver’s card in the mail.) She keeps reading. The girls from Wyoming have won the next round of the debates. Ryan approaches Maddie outside, wearing roller skates himself. They started to spend time together. They even shared a kiss. Shane reads “I keep thinking how everything would be different now, if I hadn’t kissed you that day, but I did. And nothing will ever be the same”. She mentions how Ryan thinks he kissed her, and everything changed. But Oliver states “Everything started to change for a man he killed. That kiss set something into motion and someone died.”
Shane says that she will search for fatalities around the time of the mailbox explosion. To her surprise (and mine), Oliver knows the exact date and time of that incident. “Is there anything you want to tell me, Oliver?” she asks. He goes to the office’s fridge. There are no Yoo-hoo drinks. He says “I doubt I’ll be able to discuss this Yoo-hoo free.” Well, she tells him that she had asked the barista at the Mailbox Grille, to keep a couple of Yoo-hoo stashed there “in case of emergency”. How about that? Our Shane is already thinking and planning ahead for Oliver. He’s pleasantly surprised (I am too!) “Miss McInerney, you never cease to surprise me, and I hope someday to return the favor”. Is that why he sent the card to Shane by mail, to surprise her?
They head to the Mailbox Grille, and as they walk there, Oliver tells Shane his part of the story. He became a mail carrier and that mailbox was on his route. He picked up mail everyday at 4 pm. He confessed to having a crush on a lady police officer, who used to stop by the diner to have coffee in that same corner. He would go and chat with her. The day of the explosion, she was not there, so he got distracted and went to get a coffee before picking up the mail. Then, the explosion happened. All the mail was scattered on the street, some burned, some damaged.
Oliver goes on “I know I wouldn’t rest until I made things right, because none of these letters would’ve been damaged if I had just done my job”. Feeling guilty, he volunteered to recover them, and that’s when he realized he wanted to keep doing that type of job, restoring what was lost, so he applied to the Dead Letter Office. Shane says “look at all you’ve done. Leave the past in the past, where it belongs”. He says “I thought I had”.
They arrive at the Grille, and get their Yoo-hoo drinks. They notice Norman is there, sitting by himself. Shane and Oliver have a funny interesting banter about the meaning of Valentine’s Day, Shane stating that it’s a made up holiday to get people to spend money, and Oliver stating that “it’s an opportunity for two people to recognize their interest for each other and share a meal, even celebrate the meaning of love”. She says “I’m sure Oliver would be happy to take you out on Valentine’s and keep you company”, then adds, after seeing his reaction, “unless you’re already booked?” Oliver only says “well…” Norman replies that he’ll have dinner with Shane. Oliver reacts “No! I mean, she may already have plans. Do you?” he asks, looking at her. Now it’s Shane who stalls “Am…” Norman remembers there’s a lecture the next night he wants to attend. He says “I guess I could do that”. Both Oliver and Shane reply “Yes!”
Oliver cuts off their meeting, telling Shane to take the rest of the day off. She’s confused, since they had come to the Mailbox Grille to keep the conversation going about the letter. He says “Norman and I need some “man-time”. He goes on “why don’t you go home, relax, putter, check your mail”. She leaves and Norman says “must be serious if I need man-time”.
The guys go for a walk over a bridge by a river. I love what Oliver says to Norman “the course of true love, Norman, never did run smoothly. But you and Rita have declared your feelings for each other, you’ve finally put your raft in the river. There’ll be a few rocks along the way, but at least you’ve begun your journey”.
Norman shows the old card to Oliver. He thinks it was sent by a lady who was believed to be romantically involved with Abraham Lincoln when he was Postmaster, before becoming Senator and President. She signed the letter as AR, and Oliver says “Ann Rutledge”! Norman tells him that she died of typhoid in 1835, and after her death, he quit the post office and left town. Then, he asks Oliver “you know that river you were talking about, you think you’d ever get in a raft with anyone to ride it out?” Oh Norman. Oliver replies “I hope so.”
Hazel is out in the street, when Rita comes rushing carrying a box. She says she’s bringing Shane the box of Valentine’s decorations for the office’s party. Hazel then asks Rita to give Shane the two cards she has for her, and puts them inside Rita’s box. Rita goes to Shane’s house and gives her the box, but she didn’t mention the cards! Shane puts the box down and checks her mailbox: empty, “figures”. Will she ever find those cards?
Next day, Valentine’s, she leaves for the office and almost forgets the box. Oliver and Norman arrive and Norman invites Oliver to go with him to the lecture he is attending. Oliver says no. Norman says “I think you wanted to invite Shane on a date and you chickened out”. Oliver replies “for your information, I mailed her a card with an invitation, and I’m waiting for her response”. Norman, surprised as I was, “you mailed it? Wouldn’t it be faster to ask her?” Oliver says “I wanted to do something special”. And Norman then says “waiting last minute is pretty special”.
Shane is already in the office, seems she’s not in a good mood. They ask her about the box, and she says she’s in charge of decorations for the party of postal workers without dates. Oliver asks her is she is going to attend. Then Norman says the party was canceled, because everyone got dates. Well, that is really annoying news to Shane “ha, everyone got dates, but me”.
Oliver goes looking for Hazel. He asks her about the letter he sent, and she says that Shane received two cards: one from her mother and the one he sent. He’s confused as Shane has not mentioned the card. Meanwhile, Norman asks Shane that if she’s not going to the party, and someone asked her “today”, would she go? She responds “this late? That would be just insulting”.
Then, Oliver comes back in and asks Norman in a whisper if she had mentioned anything about getting the card. Norman tells Oliver that he thinks she might be pretending she didn’t get it, “maybe she got it, but doesn’t want to hurt your feelings”. Oh Norman, that’s not the case at all.
Oliver is ready to get back into the letter investigation. Ryan wrote about how he started competing in debates to have something to put in his college application, but then he met Maddie, so he started looking forward to competing as it meant spending time with her. Shane is about to check her online search, when an alert comes up on the computer. She had it set for any news from Rita. It was her first press conference. She was asked about the photo where she is kissing “her boyfriend”. And, what do you know, she says “that wasn’t a kiss”, and adds “that wasn’t my boyfriend, just a coworker. I don’t have a boyfriend. I’m free as a bird”. Oh Rita, you hurt Norman’s feelings.
Shane tells them she hasn’t found anything on her search for Maddie or Madeline, but Oliver says that now they know both competed in the finals at the Brown Palace Hotel. They go to the hotel to check on records of guests of the final debate competition, but the hotel doesn’t keep records of the students’ names. The reservations were made by the schools.
Norman is not happy and has been pulling flowers apart around the lobby. He even found a stuffed bear and pulled the cloth heart that was sewn on it. Oliver calls Norman to give him the bear, and they all sit as Shane continues reading the letter. Seems that Becca (Arielle Tuliao), Maddie’s friend, called out Ryan for playing with Maddie’s feelings. Maddie tells him to leave her alone, and walks away pretty upset. He didn’t take her rejection too well. He stayed out all night, and showed up to the debate the next day not looking good. Maddie came over and told him she loved him, that no matter who wins, she will still wait for him by the tree (where they kissed).”How’s that for speaking from the heart?”
Throughout the debate, Ryan kept thinking of what had happened during the night. The topic for their debate was about homelessness. He kept getting flashbacks. He remembered he was drinking, and when he got in his car he hit a trash can. Then he remembered hitting someone! He immediately left the building. That’s probably when he wrote the letter and went looking for a police officer.
Norman starts walking around the lobby and finds a case with trophies, and one of them has Maddie’s name. He says “it’s not Madeline, it’s Madison. Madison Alstrup”. Shane searches for her name and finds Ryan. “I found him. It’s Ryan Hallett… Governor Ryan Hallett”. Oliver interrupts the search, saying they should go get ready for whatever they have pending that evening.
Norman is back at the office talking on the phone with Rita. He is pretty upset about the comments she made, and she is telling him he is making too big of a deal. She just doesn’t want the whole world to know about them “this is our life, not somebody’s hashtag”. Well, actually they already became a hashtag, known as “NoRita”. Norman is still not happy. When they end the call, he goes on to read the antique card.
Meanwhile, Shane is going out for a run. Looks something up on her phone, and keeps going. She ends up at Oliver’s house. Did she search for his address online? She sees him standing by the window, pouring wine into a glass and soft music playing, with candlelight around the table.
In the morning, Shane comes into the office and finds Norman asleep on his desk. She wakes him up. Oliver comes in and notices that Norman does not look too good. He tells him to go freshen up. When Norman leaves, Shane asks Oliver how his evening was. He says he had a lovely time, “spent it with a friend”. He asks how her night was, and she says it was great, “you know, wine, candlelight, music.”
Shane tells Oliver she did research on the Governor’s criminal record and didn’t find anything. She did find his juvenile record sealed. She grabs Rita’s decoration box and puts it in the trash bin (oh no! She never opened it). Oliver insists they need to find Madison Alstrup to try to deliver her delayed letter. Shane found out that Maddie became a reporter and was living in Wyoming until about a year ago, when she moved but left no forwarding address.
Well, Oliver interrupts their work again, he has to go check on Norman. Shane goes after him, she wants him to realize that Maddie is a reporter, and if they hand that letter to her, she might ruin the Governor’s reputation. He insists they have to do it, and she says it’s all about his conscience and about that lady cop he had a crush on and hadn’t seen for 15 years. He replies “I never said I haven’t seen her since”.
Oliver meets Norman while he cleans up. He asks Norman what happened. Norman tells him about Rita trying to keep their relationship private, not for all the world to know. They have this conversation: Oliver “I’m still unclear how this got so out of hand.” Norman “somebody took a selfie of the two of us, and tweeted it, and somebody else posted it, and somebody else pinned it. Before you knew it, Rita had gone viral with her one hashtag.” Oliver “I have no idea what you’re talking about, but now I’m outraged”. Norman so was Rita. I guess, when you are in love, don’t you want to shout it to the world?” Oliver “of course, but for some reason, strangers had chosen to shout it for you.” Norman “do you know what a hashtag is?” Oliver “Norman, please, let’s not go there.” Please, I only learned about it in 2017 when I joined Twitter.
Shane goes to meet with Maddie’s former debate partner and friend, Becca (Francoise Yip). Then, she meets Oliver and Norman at the hospital. Turns out that Maddie came to Denver after Becca convinced her to get medical help. She never left and she is still in the hospital. They encounter the nurse in charge (played by Candus Churchill), and she says that Maddie is not taking any visitors, and she’s not going to let them in, no matter how official they say their business is.
Oliver and Shane decide to visit Governor Hallett (played by Aaron Craven), while Norman stays at the hospital. They show him the letter, and he recognizes it. They tell him they had to read it in order to process it. He says “so, you know”. He tells them how he went on to become Governor, and how he never heard from Maddie. He thought someday she’d come after him, making the story public to bring him down. Ryan says “I bet she hates me now”. Oliver responds “Actually, I believe she needs you now.”
Norman has stayed in the hospital, waiting. The nurse asks him about the antique card he is carrying. He tells her its story and its significance on possibly changing history. She says “one day you spill your heart to your one and only, couple of centuries later, the whole world is reading what was meant only for the two of you.”
Shane and Oliver are back at the hospital. He is upset and asks her why she is lying about receiving no Valentine’s cards. She insists she didn’t get any. Governor Hallett arrives at the hospital and interrupts them. The nurse recognizes him. She says he is no ordinary visitor. He has to understand that sometimes patients like Maddie don’t want to be bothered. She says he can go in, but he’s having doubts on what to say. Norman tells him about Abraham Lincoln and the lady friend he was rumored to have had a romance with when he was Postmaster. Norman says “I believe she told him not to dwell on the past, or blame himself for what he couldn’t change. She told him none of it would matter if he didn’t carry on after she was gone.” Ryan goes in and finds Maddie (Holly Elissa) sleeping, so he sits and stays with her.
Oliver and Shane are outside the room waiting. She insists again that she didn’t get any Valentine’s cards. He then remembers he has to go to choir practice at church and leaves. Shane and Norman go back to the office and he tells her Oliver did send her a Valentine’s card. They see Hazel, Norman calls her, and Shane asks her about her mail. She tells her about how she gave the cards to Rita, who put them in the box she was carrying.
Shane remembers she put the box in the trash bin, so she starts running, calling Norman to come with her! So he goes into the trash bin. After looking around, he finds the box! He pulls it out and Shane finds Oliver’s card. She reads it out loud. Oliver had invited her for dinner at Montaldo’s. She leaves to go find Oliver.
Norman goes into the office, and finds Rita waiting for him. She pulls cards for him to read, apologizing to him. He says he now understands why she wanted to keep their relationship private, it’s just that she was in the company of important people and he thought he was gonna lose her. She assures him that wherever she goes, she takes him with her, in her heart. They kiss! Norman says “I want you on my raft”. Of course, Rita doesn’t know what he is talking about. “It means I love you”.
Ryan is still with Maddie when she wakes up. She recognizes him and asks what happened that he never showed up (when young). He goes on to read the letter to her. He ends up with tears in his eyes. He tells her how he took care of the man’s remains, since nobody claimed him, and apologizes for not being there for her.
Shane goes to the church, and finds Oliver talking to a friend. He introduces her as his friend, a soprano in the choir, Dale Travers (Emilie Ullerup). When Dale leaves, Shane shows him the envelope and tells him what happened with it. She looks in Dale’s direction, then looks at him and asks “Am I too late?” (to accept his dinner invitation).
They go to Montaldo’s. When they start dancing, she asks him about his friend, “the soprano”, Dale. He says he’s known her for 15-16 years. She asks “what does she do?” Oliver replies “she is a police officer”. Shane realizes that this is the police officer he had a crush on, and hits him on the shoulder. Then, as they continue dancing, he recites “the water is wide I cannot cross over, and neither have I the wings to fly. Give us a boat that can carry two, and both shall row my love and I”. I think he wants Shane on his raft, but it’s still early for him to ask. I think she is ready to get on that raft.
The movie ends with Ann finishing her letter to Abraham Lincoln, “May these words explain all that’s in my heart, and bring to you if not joy, then light to your present darkness. And remember, tears may come at night, but there is always joy in the morning, and always the promise of a new day if we would but believe in it”. We see images of Ryan in the hospital with Maddie, Norman and Rita together at the office, and Shane and Oliver dancing.
It’s never too late, even for a late Valentine’s date. The movie focuses on how miscommunication and misinterpretation can put a blister into any relationship. But, as always, the letters arrived just in time to mend those relationships. This does not always happen in real life, but we have to learn to move on. We cannot live holding on to what ifs. If the time is right, we should take the opportunity to do our best to communicate our feelings. We have to understand that the other person has feelings too, we have to try to understand how others feel.
While we wait to find out if there will be another movie, and while I write about the next one, read my blogger friend Ruth Hill’s post, written when the movie premiered in 2016 My Devotional Thoughts 2016 Signed Sealed Delivered From The Heart Review. Also read Alameda & Downing Blog Alameda Downing Blog Inside the DLO Review Signed Sealed Delivered From The Heart.
There is still so much more to tell you about this amazing series. I’ll be writing some more. I will tell you more about the movies that followed this one. I love writing, and I love Hallmark movies. It’s time for my tacita de café. Salud!
Para versión en español, vea Full of Coffee Blog Hablemos Hallmark Desde el corazon El misterio de las cartas perdidas