Valentines Day in Elementary school in the 1950s and early 60s was always a day of great anticipation during the dreary days in early February. Now, back then, we always celebrated Lincoln’s birthday on the 12th of February and Washington’s on the 22nd…now that has been mashed together into one “Presidents’ Day” holiday…seemingly honoring all presidents.
Early in February, one of the art projects was to decorate the Valentines Box. The teacher would wrap a large box in white paper and give us the assignment to make and decorate hearts that would be plastered all over the box, the windows and the room. There seemed to be cupids and hearts everywhere!
Once the box was completed and placed in a special part of the room, we could then bring our Valentines in. There was a special time of the day when the teacher would ask if anyone had Valentines to put into the box…and if you did, you’d walk up proudly and stick them in as slowly as you could get away with to savor that moment.
On the home front, we selected our Valentines usually at the 5 and 10 cent store downtown and painstakingly write our name on them all, fold them up and choose who was getting which Valentine.
We were also responsible to bring along something for the party afterwards. My Dad usually made me heart cookies or cupcakes to take along, another classmate’s Dad owned a potato chip company so we always had potato chips, and the other items varied…ice cream in small paper cups, pretzels and usually small treat bags to take home of the candy that the others had brought.
Then the anticipation of getting the Valentines! Back then, it wasn’t mandatory that you gave a Valentine to everyone. I always did because my mother knew how many kids and watched me write all their names down :). My classmates and I were basically the same group from Kindergarten through 5th grade…so we knew each other very well.
You would sit there at your desk with your hands folded with high expectations as the cards were being delivered. And we would wait until all of the cards had been distributed and open them all together. As happened every year, the popular kids had a huge pile and there was always one or two who got very few.(much like Charlie Brown). The teacher always made it up to the kids who didn’t get many by giving them the coveted chores for a while.
Wishing you a Happy Valentines Day!
til next time…Eva