Happy St. Valentine’s Day…Whatever That Means To You

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?


About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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12 Responses to Happy St. Valentine’s Day…Whatever That Means To You

  1. jeff7salter says:

    aww … that’s a great story about Cecil. And I know it DID take quite a bit of courage to fess up to a girl at that age.
    When I was in elem. sch. it was before the LAW that if you gave any valentines, you had to include EVERY body. We just gave valentines to whichever kids we interacted with a lot. In my case, that was prob. about 1/3 to 1/2 of the class … but certainly not every kid.


  2. Iris B says:

    Without wanting to step on your toes, Tonette, but I had no idea Valentine’s Day has been around so long. I suppose it’s a American/English tradition. I’d never heard of it before I was in my twenties! (or a bit earlier ;-))
    And good ol’Cecil. I hope he will read this … wouldn’t that be a nice story to tell! Loved the story.


  3. No stepping on toes here,Iris.It is more of an English tradition for Valentines to be sent.It became hugely popular in Victorian England and went wild.Old Valentines are highly collectable and worth a great deal ,(to some people). I think it has been pushed as a money-maker. In the US. flowers, cards and candy are sold by the tons. As usual, someone will find a way to cash in and Americans fall all over themselves to make fools of themselves! (I can say that, being one myself!)


  4. Micki Gibson says:

    My elementary Valentine’s Days were similar to yours. We got a list of all the kids in the class. It never occurred to me to only give to my close friends or to leave anyone out. My mother had drilled into my head to treat others the way I wanted to be treated and I wasn’t about to tempt fate or karma by leaving out anyone. Plus my mother would have probably verified that I did indeed sign a Valentine to each kid.


  5. pjharjo says:

    Childhood memories of Valentine’s Day… I never thought of that approach, Tonette. It was special to me when that certain “someone” in fifth grade brought me a box of candy. 😉 Not everyone received a box of candy, but I did. 🙂


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