Posted tagged ‘valentines’

“Oh, if it be to choose and call thee mine, love, thou art every day my Valentine!”

February 14, 2014

The rain fell all day yesterday and last night. It stopped for a bit but only to gather a little more energy because it then began to pour again, to pound the roof, around midnight. After that came the highlight of the storm, the thunder and lightning. I was reading in bed when the whole room was lit by a flash of light then another flash then another. The thunder was a rumble at first which got louder and louder until it became a crash. I stopped reading to listen. Gracie slept right through it. It seemed to thunder for a long time then the rumbling began to fade until it disappeared. The rain fell more quietly having expended all its energy for that one giant blast.

Today was the big day, Valentine’s Day. I’d sit at the kitchen table the night before and in my best handwriting fill in my name on the back and the names of my classmates on the fronts of the envelopes. My mother always bought the valentines with a picture on the front, usually with a corny saying, and a place on the back for my name. Kathleen usually ended up slanted as it’s a long name. I also had to add an R. so everyone would know it wasn’t Kathleen D. or Kathleen L. Those precious valentines were carefully carried to school as were the cookies my mother had made for the party. The week before, during art, we had transformed shoe boxes into valentine boxes.

We had to do regular school work most of the day. It killed us. Our minds were on those envelopes sitting in boxes under our desks. I wondered who would give me valentines and feared not getting one from my secret crush of the week. In those days we didn’t give one to everybody in the class. I think it was more a matter of expense than thoughtlessness. Finally, after eons had passed, the nun would tell us to put our books away. She’d start to clear off her desk to make room for the party food. We’d pull our decorated boxes off the floor onto our desks and sit impatiently waiting for the festivities to start. The nun directed us row by row to walk around and hand out our valentines. We’d sit as classmates walked by and dropped envelopes or didn’t. We never opened them until all of us had taken our turns. It was then the party began. We’d get cookies and candy then sit at our desks and talk and open the valentines. We’d giggle at the ones from boys being young enough still to giggle without being silly. The party lasted until the final school bell when we’d reluctantly clean up and get ready to leave. The valentines went in our boxes and we carried those treasures home as it they were the crown jewels.

I’d sit at the kitchen table and look at those valentines then I’d keep them safe in the box for a long time so I could look again and again.

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”

February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine’s Day, my friends. I hope you all mark the day with flowers or chocolates or a few snuggles.

Last night it snowed a bit, enough to cover the walk and the car. I thought even that small amount of snow was overkill. It is Mother Nature run amok. I can see her now with her strands of hair flying in all directions. Her flower crown is dead. Her lovely flowing dress is filthy and torn, and her face has a snarl just for us. There is an evil gleam in her eyes. Run for your lives!

Valentine’s Day was one of my favorite days in school. We’d spend a couple of afternoons turning lowly shoe boxes into decorated Valentine’s boxes. I’d cover mine in red construction paper and make a slit on the top for all the valentines I expected then I’d decorate the paper. We’d leave it in school until the special day.

My mother would buy each of us a box of valentines. They had pictures on the front, and the sayings were usually puns: two ears of corn, “Shucks! I’d like to ‘ear you say you’d be my Valentine today”, or the turtle who shell always love me. Can we swing along together? That one, of course, had two kids in a swing. The kids always had red cheeks and big smiles. Clocks were common, “It’s time you were my valentine.”

The night before the big day I’d sit at the kitchen table and write out my valentines. I’d decide which of my classmates would receive one and put a name on each envelope. The worst part was fitting my own name on the back. Kathleen is a long one, and for some reason we always used full names so Ryan had to fit in there somewhere. In the morning, I’d carry my cards as if they were masterpieces, and I’d carry the cupcakes my mother had made for the afternoon party.

School that day was a loss. Arithmetic and spelling were no competition for valentines and a party. Finally, after lunch, the nun would have us clear off our desks. We’d get our boxes and get ready. She’d call us row by row, and we’d drop the valentines on desks as we walked. I can remember hoping and hoping to get one from a boy with whom I was smitten. In the second grade, smitten was about the best we could do. If I got one, I was giddy.

After all the rows had finished giving out their valentines, the party began. The food was up front for the taking. I remember lots and lots of red cupcakes, some sugar cookies and conversational hearts. My friends and I would sit and open our valentines together. I remember a lot of laughing, a lot of little girl laughing for that’s who we were. I don’t remember being disappointed, but maybe that’s something forgotten. I remember the fun of opening those cards, of eating a chocolate cupcake with red frosting, but I mostly remember carrying home my treasures in my beautiful Valentine’s Day box.