Monday, February 13, 2006

Valentine's Day Eve

The bad thing about a new year is that it starts off with my least favorite holidays - New Year's and Valentine's Day. The good thing about it is getting them out of the way right off the bat. Like New Year's, Valentine's Day has never lived up to its hype - even when I was a dewy-eyed love muffin.

It was kinda fun when I was little, though. We'd go to the dime store and get our Valentines to sign and bring to school. In the olden days - now listen up, kiddies - the cards came in a sort of punch-out book form. We'd diligently punch out the cards and sign them, making sure we didn't forget anyone, even the stinky, goofy kids. (I'm sorry - was that judgmental?)

The next big project was to decorate a shoebox as our Valentine Box to take to school. Red, white, and pink everywhere - construction paper, crayons, scissors flying. Then - ta-da! A wondrous confection with that all-important slot on the top, where classmates could stuff in all those Valentines for me, me, me!

My mother was very old-fashioned about the logistics to delivering Valentines. In her day, you never signed the Valentine - that was part of the fun, trying to guess who sent it. And you'd deliver them to the door, knock, and run away. All very secretive. Sometimes we'd do it Mother's way when we were delivering cards to friends in our neighborhood. But most of the time - nah! - we liked folks to know who sent them a Valentine.

In elementary school, each classroom had a Valentine's Day Party - complete with cupcakes and ice cream. Right before the party, we'd walk around putting cards in all the boxes - good chaotic fun. The highlight of the party was opening our individual Valentine Boxes, of course. The cards held lots of coded messages - why did she/he give me that card?- and many a blush, hand-slap to the forehead, and "Eyyeeeeewwwwww!" rippled through the classroom.

Then, fun Valentine's celebrations came to a screeching halt when we hit junior high school. Things got too serious. It was no longer about red and pink shoeboxes and cupcakes and little candy hearts with "Be mine" written on them. Nope. Valentines Dances and cards or candy from that "one special person" reared their ugly heads. Shudder.

But it might be fun to pull out a shoebox and see if I can still create a confection of a Valentine receptacle. You know. In case somebody wants to send me a little message tomorrow.


Joy Des Jardins said...

Honestly Mary, I think the best part of Valentine's Day was making that shoebox and getting all the valentines from your friends and classmates inside. Where did those days go? And why did they go so fast?

Liz Hinds said...

We didn't have all that fun in school. I hated Valentine's Day because I never got a card! Awwww. Except one year when I got one from the wimpiest boy in class who used to wet himself.

I haven't written that on my blog; I wonder why!

Chris said...

We've never made a big deal over St. Valentines Day here until a few years ago when someone probably saw the opportunity to fill the gap between Christmas and Easter with all sorts of merchandise to spend our money on. Now you can't pick up a newspaper or magazine from mid-January onwards without being bombarded with pictures of pink heart shaped stuff and suchlike.
When I was young many,many,many years ago it was just a card to your one true love (or more if you were flighty)and perhaps chocolates or flowers. As St Valentine is the patron saint of lovers I can't really see the point of giving cards and gifts to anyone who doesn't come into that category. But then, I'm probably just a grumpy old woman (blame it on this 'flu that WON'T go away)

MaryB said...

Yes, definitely - Valentine's reached its peak before the age of 12.

I'm guessing that Valentine's Day is another Hallmark-ginned-up holiday. Ah, well.