Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. What memories February brings each year, and I bet you have some wonderful ones, too.
I remember kindergarten. Mrs. Whistler (I think that’s how she spelled her name) was my teacher. Some almost sixty years ago, she seemed very old and certainly acted grandmotherly, so maybe she was – like 45 or 50. Which now seems young to me, but I digress.
As with every new month during the school year when the teacher decorated the walls and doors with the holiday or times of the year, February featured paper doily and shiny red hearts for Valentine’s Day, along with a token tall hat and cherry tree for Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthdays (now called President’s Day). In preparation for a Valentine’s Day party, we children each had to bring a shoebox to school, and teacher helped us cut a slit in the lid. I don’t remember exactly what mine ended up looking like, but I do remember the smell of the white paste we used, and found out that red construction paper can leave little “fuzzies” all over your paste-covered fingers. Everyone brought Valentines and got to put them in each of the other children’s boxes. We were to open them on Valentine’s Day, which the year I was five was a Friday.
Alas! I didn’t get to see everyone else get their Valentines in class because I got sick with something. I remember crying that I wouldn’t have my Valentines on that special day, and would have to wait forever until Monday, if I was even well enough to go to school then. My parents must have taken pity on me because I also remember my Dad bringing home my box full of treasures. I didn’t realize it then, but he probably had to get off work early to get to the teacher, or maybe he swung by the class on his way to work. That was back when there was only ONE car per family, so poor Dad got saddled with stopping by for groceries, dropping off dry cleaning, and in this case, saving Valentines Day for his five year old.
When you don’t feel good, it really brightens up your day to get a whole box full of something as wonderful as Valentines! They were all different shapes and had cute little pun-like sayings. And most of them had the carefully printed name of the sender, sometimes crooked, sometimes with letters that were spelled backwards, but all done proudly in pencil. Mom had to read them to me, and then I would count to see how many I had. I’d give anything to have kept that primitive little box of love, but somehow, somewhere, it was tossed away. But the memories of the anticipation of receiving those little cards, combined with the fun of making the shoebox Valentine holder, are treasures that surface every February.
Oh, to be five again!!! Happy Valentine’s Day, Everyone!!