Valentine’s Day Memories

Valentine’s Day is coming, love is in the airm and memories fill my head. Wow, I have more memories of valentines, candy, and flowers than I am willing to admit. Let’s just say, they number more than twenty one. My first memories of St. Valentine’s Day are of making hearts…red, pink, and white… small, medium, and large… fat and skinny… misshapen and perfect… and decorated in every way my imagination would take me. I made them at home and later at school, and I thought they were beautiful and dreamy. Valentines were everywhere during the first of February, in those days.

At school, I remember the excitement of making mailboxes we would use to deliver our valentines to classmates and friends. Some years there would be one central box, decorated by the entire class or the teacher. We stuffed the box full, putting cards into it day after day. We watched classmates stop at the box to deliver their cards. On Valentine’s Day, the box was opened to reveal its treasures. It was both exciting and dreaded. What if I was the only one to get no cards? But I always got my fair share and more, validating my philosophy that it pays to be nice to everyone.

Sometimes we had individual mailboxes made by decorating a shoe box, or brown paper bag, decorated and turned down in a cuff. With the individual mailboxes, we could see if they were swelling with cards. We sometimes caught friends from other classes sneaking in to leave valentines, and, of course, we also went to other classes to deliver our cards. It was almost as exciting as Christmas… almost, but not quite!

And love… puppy love filled the air and consumed our thoughts. Did we dare declare it with a card? No, but we spent hours going over our cards looking for the perfect one to give to the special person of our dreams. And, when we read our cards, we could not wait to see if the card from the special one had any hidden meanings. Often, there was a surprise valentine or two from people in other classes we hadn’t imagined would be sending a card. Sometimes, it was from an admirer we were unaware of before getting the card. Many childhood romances began on Valentine’s Day. Ah, young love makes the heart go pitter patter!

And if this was not enough, we had a great party! My mother was always a room mother and participated in the Valentine Party, as did I when my children were in school. Back then, a party meant candy, cupcakes, cookies, ice cream, potato chips, nuts, beautiful valentine napkins/plates/cups, and great soda drinks. This was always a treat, as we didn’t drink sodas on a regular basis. We played games and had free access to float around and talk to all of our classmates. It was such a fun time!

Remember the beautiful valentines? They were usually small and single sheeted with a variety of pictures and words. They generally came in a pack with a specific theme, such as animals, outer space, cartoon characters, people with round little faces, western, Disney, nursery rhymes, and many more. If they didn’t come from a pack, you knew the person liked you, which could be good or bad. Picking out the pack of cards to give was arduous, as we wanted them to represent something about ourselves. Ah…Valentine’s Day holds so many fond memories.

Source: K. P. Guessen