One Valentine’s Day many (cough) years ago, my mother gave me a precious gift: a new scrapbook with purple and gray construction paper pages, perfect for saving my most treasured keepsakes and recording my innermost thoughts. You can tell right off the bat I was destined to become a genealogist, because the first thing I did was identify myself and record the date.
Then I proceeded to recap the big Valentine’s Day party at school. I taped in a napkin and a few valentines to commemorate the event. Even at this tender age, I was all about original sources.
If you look closely, you’ll see that the page is filled with keen observations and eloquent writing. Where else can you find absorbing stories like this:
At school I got this card. I read it. I liked it."
Perhaps I was practicing for the day I might become a blogger, because I left a comment on each valentine. For this one, I noted:
"See the Fox. [He] loves me!"
In true writer’s fashion, I saved my biggest story to the end. The name of the classmate who gave me this is long forgotten, but his or her gift lives on. Enthusiastically, I wrote:
"A little bear. Look at his tricks. And oh! Look at the ballon."
(Okay, can you tell I learned to read with Dick and Jane?)
What I remember best is the thrill of opening my school valentine “mailbox”—in the early grades, a paper lunch bag decorated with crayons—and finding all the little cards inside. Each sealed white envelope waiting to be opened and its treasure revealed. Oh, and I remember walking around the desks in the room, carefully putting my valentines into my classmate’s bags. I gave one to each person, because it wouldn’t be polite not to. But I had secretly picked out my favorites from the assortment for my best friends, and written their names carefully on the envelopes. Certainly they would know just how special they were to me!
What memories do school valentines bring back for you?