I doubt that most of us think of the Roman martyr for whom the day is named.
Frankly, it hasn’t meant much since I was in elementary school,(1st-6th grades), and we had Valentine parties,or simple card exchanges. Sometimes we had heart-shaped cookies, usually sugar cookies with red crystal sugar “sprinkles” on them, but most of the time, no.
We all made boxes at home to receive valentines. These were always shoe boxes because every pair of shoes came in boxes back then. We girls went to a lot of trouble to decorate the boxes by wrapping them in colored paper or white tissue. We used stickers, ribbons and sometimes, paper doilies, but the boys, well, not so much. We all bought cheap valentines very much like the ones the kids get now, only ours were traditional, with hearts, cupids, flowers or little animals. We didn’t have the merchandizing that goes on now. (One of my granddaughters wants to give out SpongeBob ones this year…shudder!)
And since we did not have uniforms, we girls always wore something red or pink that day; white, if you had nothing else. It was just DONE.
Sometimes one of the kids put candies attached to the cards, but this didn’t happen very often. I always included everyone in the class; I think most of us did. But one year, in third or fourth grade, one boy walked up to me and apologized. He did not have a valentine card for me. I would never have noticed, really. I never counted the cards or paid much attention to who deposited which cards in my box; I just looked at the pictures.
I accepted the boy’s apology. I wished he had not said anything. I could tell how hard it was for him. He was a quiet kid and he was very nervous, but he kept talking. Finally he admitted that he was short one card and took a chance that I would be absent that day. He missed that bet. In his defense I will admit that I was a sickly kid who missed a lot of school, something of which I did not need to be reminded. It was very awkward for him and it was very awkward for me. I tried not to let it show how much it got to me and to let him know that it was alright. Yet, I still remember.
So Cecil, wherever you are, it was alright that day, as I kept telling you and today, I let it go. We were kids. I am sorry that you put yourself through the torture of apologizing and explaining to me. You were a good kid…I bet you became a fine man.
I did have fun with my kids on St. Valentine’s Day when they were young. However, I’ll hold back just in case we cover the topic next year, then I’ll have something left to say!
Any memories of your childhood St. Valentine’s Days you’d like to share?