Do you remember Valentine’s Day parties when you were in grade school? Those parties were something I always got excited about.
Around the first of February, our teacher would tell us when the party would be held and that we would need to decorate a shoebox and bring it to school on Valentine’s Day. I believe she even gave us red and pink construction paper and some doilies to take home with us so we could decorate our boxes. She also handed out a mimeographed sheet of paper with everybody’s name on it so no one would get left out. Oh, and we had to put our name somewhere on our box so the other kids would know whose box it was.
The next big thing was to buy valentine cards. Now, I didn’t have the luxury of picking out my cards; my mom would get them on one of her weekly trips to Paducah. But, I have to say she usually picked out some really good valentine cards for me to give away.
Once my mom brought home the cards, I would sit down and sign every single one of them and then address each envelope. There were cards for best friends, teacher and especially ones for the one you loved. Again, I didn’t have boyfriends in grade school, except for the one, so I generally kept those cards out. Some of the kids would bring boxes of those little hearts that have words on them, but we just didn’t have that kind of money and that was okay by me – it was all about the cards.
So, then I would get to work decorating my shoebox. First, I had to cut a hole in the shoebox lid so the valentines could be dropped inside the box. Then I would cover my shoebox with construction paper or sometimes my grandmother would give me some fabric to cover my box. I would make big and small heart patterns so I could cut out bunches of hearts. The doilies made perfect backs for the red hearts and then sometimes I would cut a big red heart and paste a smaller pink heart inside. By the time I finished, my shoebox was a masterpiece – well in my eyes anyway it was a masterpiece.
The big day arrived and everyone brought in their decorated boxes and placed them on a couple of tables that the teacher had set up for us. After everyone put their boxes on the table, it was time to put the cards in each kid’s box. It was so hard to concentrate on lessons when we knew that after lunch, we would party the rest of the day.
But, finally it was time to party. Some of my classmates’ moms would bring cookies and punch for the party and the teacher would decorate the room with strings of hearts and crepe paper streamers.
Each one of us would get our box and bring it back to our desk. Once everybody had sat down, we started opening our boxes and they were filled with beautiful cards. We opened each one carefully so we wouldn’t tear the card and first see who it was from and then read the message. And what was so sweet was that our teacher gave us a Valentine’s Day card too. By the end of the day, we were exhausted but happy kids.
See ya next Wednesday.