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Elaine Ingalls Hogg

Valentine's Day

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Grandma's Once Upon a Time Stories

As Published in The Island Times, Feb. 2000
Inkspots Musing 2001
The Reporter Feb. 2001

Valentine's Day
2001 Elaine Ingalls Hogg

I was in grade one before I remember hearing anything about a celebration connected with Valentine's Day. The teacher announced to the class that we were going to have a party.

"Mrs. Richardson, what are supposed to do?" Larry asked. He was the tallest boy in our class.

"Why, you send a card to the person you like," came the prompt reply.

"To girls too? Ugh!"

Mrs. Richardson ignored the comment and went on to explain how to make a mailbox for our expected Valentines. Soon everyone in the two classes, (grade one and two were in together), were busy cutting and pasting red hearts and lacy, white paper doilies on their shoeboxes.

A few people in the class bought big books of valentines designed so that the cards could be cut or punched out. But one soon learned that you did a better job if you cut them out for the punched out ones seemed to rip no matter how careful you were.

However, most of the students went home and made their cards, cutting out more hearts from red tissue or construction paper or recycling pictures of flowers from old greeting cards to send to their classmates and friends. Laboriously we printed slogans like; "I am 4 U," or "Will U B Mine?" on the front of the cards. Perhaps the verse seen most often was "Roses are red, Violets are blue, Sugar is sweet and so are you." Every mailbox seemed to have one of those cards in it.

For several days before our party, we would go to our box and peek in to see if the amount of mail was growing. But that created a problem, some children didn't have any mail in their box so the teacher declared that we were not to look until the day of the party.

Valentine's Day finally arrived. At recess the older class tried to convince us that on valentine's we had to play 'spin the bottle' but the boys were having none of that. However, we noticed that the grade five and six class seemed to be enjoying this game. Finally, just before the last bell of the day announcing that it was time to go home, we had our treats. Each student received a cupcake trimmed with red hearts on the icing and two pieces of homemade fudge. At last it was time to open our boxes. We sorted the store bought cards from the homemade ones. We looked on the back to see if we could guess who sent us the mysterious one that was signed, 'guess who? G_____?' But perhaps most amazing were the boxes that had no valentines in them only two days ago now had several cards in them. (Thanks to our teacher, I'm sure.)

Over the years, I've received many special valentines but the one I remember most was sent to a family friend when I was nine years old. This older gentleman had been working away from home for sometime and he forgot to send his wife a card on the special day for lovers. However, she did not forget to send one to him. On the front of the card he read the following words.

Are you my little pigeon?
Are you my little dove?
Are you my little sweetheart,
I'm always thinking of?

I can still see him laughing when he opened the card and read; "No, you old crow!!!!!!!!!"

No matter if you are celebrating your first valentine's or one where your lover calls you an 'old crow,' please allow me to wish you a very Happy Valentine's Day.