In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’m replacing my Telling Tuesday post with a Valentine post, to “show and tell” about one of my favorite memories of one of my favorite holidays.
In elementary school, I looked forward to the event for weeks. I honestly can’t say if I looked forward more to decorating my shoe box or to the Valentine’s that I hoped would fill it. Of course, there was always that one special Valentine I hoped for, too.
Weeks before the big day, my mom would take me to Wonder World (that was Fairfield’s answer to Walmart back in the day,) and I would peruse the aisles, looking for red construction paper, doilies, aluminum paper, crayons, glue . . . whatever I could possibly think of to make my box the prettiest box in the classroom.
I’m sure the boys thought it was stupid, but some managed to make a box even a cootie-vaccinated boy (as evidenced by “C.V.” marked on his hand) could be proud of.
Valentine’s morning, I carefully packed my box in a brown shopping bag and carried it to school. Once inside the classroom, my heart beat with anticipation, and my hands trembled as I drew it out of its hiding place for its grand debut. I just knew mine would be the most beautiful, not only in the classroom, but surely in the entire school . . . heck, in the whole universe.
Of course, when Sally Smith put hers on her desk, I could tell she thought the same thing. Hmph. No way.
The next best part of the day was passing out Valentine’s. Like I said, there was always one special person in the classroom for whom I’d saved my very best Valentine, and from whom I hoped to receive one, too.
Oh, of course, all those store-bought Valentines were all pretty much the same, but there was always one or two that had a secret code to let someone know they were more special than the rest. (“Strike up a match?” Now, you couldn’t get more “special” than that.)
And what about “Popping the question?” Yep, that was a secret code, all right.
After all the cards were passed out, after we’d had our cupcakes and our tongues were red with icing dye, after the last bell of the day rang, I ran home. Inside the brown paper bag I carried, my full box rattled with Valentine’s, and my heart raced faster than my feet, in my rush home to open my cards.
I tore open each envelope, scanned the card and read each name.
“Nope. Nope,” I said, then tossed the card aside and reached for another. “Nope.” My hopes began to fade. Had he not even given me a card, even one without a secret code?
Then, there it was:
“I just want to be your Valentine.” Was that not the sweetest thing anyone could ever say?
Even if Sally Smith did win the Valentine Box Contest, I was the one with a Secret Admirer.
Do you have a favorite Valentine’s memory? Hope you’ll share it in my virtual Valentine’s Box.