Search This Blog

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine's Day Blog

Unfortunately, before one may attain the blissful age of indifference toward Valentine's day, she must endure a few decades of annoyance. 
My annoyance era began at Schulze Elementary School in Detroit, where love and history were inexplicably entwined on the bulletin boards. Washington & Lincoln's silhouettes were pasted on red construction paper hearts with paper-doily lace trim.  A naked cupid taking aim at them, further confounded the whole presidential-assassination thing. 

At our desks below, we transformed shoe boxes with tin-foil and ribbon, into Valentine Mail Boxes. No tape or glue happily sticks to tin-foil so the boxes never turned out as one might have hoped. But still, it was all very exciting and romantic.
Everyone bought more or less the same box of Valentines from the same dime store on the corner where the selection was limited to romantic cartoon characters like the Flintstones or Yogi Bear. 
There were pricier ones with glitter or  velvety texture, but only rich kids bought those. Well, rich kids and kids like Ruth who had brothers so much older than her that she was practically an only child and was treated like a princess.
We were to give valentines to every kid in the class, but we all knew that not all valentines were created equal. Even out of the same box some were more and others less wonderful.
I remember agonizing over them, carefully selecting the one that would tell Timmy Hicks how I felt about him. The kitty that said, You are the purrrr-fect Valentine? The skunk saying, I'm Scent-i-mental about you? 

Like shamans who foretell the future by interpreting sheep intestine, my girlfriends and I spent hours after school struggling to decipher the deeper meanings behind the Valentines we'd received.  
What was Timmy telling me? 
On reflection, I doubt Timmy's era of annoyance had yet begun. His mom probably bought and signed his cards for him to pass out arbitrarily, one per mail box, with no idea which card went to whom.
And, after scooping the few chocolates and candy conversation hearts out of his own Mail Box, I suspect he dumped the rest in the trash without a thought.
Whatever I may feel about the ache and sag of time's passage, at least I am truly, deeply grateful to no longer be in fifth grade.

xo Amy


Betty Birney said...

Love the vintage Valentines - brought back memories! My worst year when I was sick and didn't get to see people pass out the Valentines. Someone brought them to the house after school but it wasn't the same!

The Pen and Ink Blogspot said...

I remember the paper our class stapled together, decorated with hearts and hung on the sides of our desks to receive glorious Valentine cards.

I, too, puzzled over the secret meaning of Jennifer C's Valentine card. Maybe she really liked me and I should declare my undying love for her, or maybe I was just another name.

50 Year Old Fourth Grader