Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Valentine Box

In honor of Valentine's Day, I'm replacing my Telling Tuesday post with a Valentine post, to "show and tell" about one of my favorite memories of one of my favorite holidays.

Do you remember making Valentine's boxes?

In elementary school, I looked forward to the event for weeks. I honestly can't say if I looked forward more to decorating my shoe box or to the Valentine's that I hoped would fill it. Of course, there was always that one special Valentine I hoped for, too.

Weeks before the big day, my mom would take me to Wonder World (that was Fairfield's answer to Walmart back in the day,) and I would peruse the aisles, looking for red construction paper, doilies, aluminum paper, crayons, glue . . . whatever I could possibly think of to make my box the prettiest box in the classroom.

I'm sure the boys thought it was stupid, but some managed to make a box even a cootie-vaccinated boy (as evidenced by "C.V." marked on his hand) could be proud of.

Valentine's morning, I carefully packed my box in a brown shopping bag and carried it to school. Once inside the classroom, my heart beat with anticipation, and my hands trembled as I drew it out of its hiding place for its grand debut. I just knew mine would be the most beautiful, not only in the classroom, but surely in the entire school . . . heck, in the whole universe.

Of course, when Sally Smith put hers on her desk, I could tell she thought the same thing. Hmph. No way.

The next best part of the day was passing out Valentine's. Like I said, there was always one special person in the classroom for whom I'd saved my very best Valentine, and from whom I hoped to receive one, too.

Oh, of course, all those store-bought Valentines were all pretty much the same, but there was always one or two that had a secret code to let someone know they were more special than the rest. ("Strike up a match?" Now, you couldn't get more "special" than that.)

And what about "Popping the question?" Yep, that was a secret code, all right.

After all the cards were passed out, after we'd had our cupcakes and our tongues were red with icing dye, after the last bell of the day rang, I ran home. Inside the brown paper bag I carried, my full box rattled with Valentine's, and my heart raced faster than my feet, in my rush home to open my cards.

I tore open each envelope, scanned the card and read each name.

"Nope. Nope," I said, then tossed the card aside and reached for another. "Nope." My hopes began to fade. Had he not even given me a card, even one without a secret code?

Then, there it was:
To: Janice
From: Your Secret Admirer

"I just want to be your Valentine." Was that not the sweetest thing anyone could ever say?

Even if Sally Smith did win the Valentine Box Contest, I was the one with a Secret Admirer.

Do you have a favorite Valentine's memory? Hope you'll share it in my virtual Valentine's Box.


  1. So cute and sweet! Thanks for the walk down memory lane. I do remember making Valentine's Day boxes and also looked forward to receiving a special Valentine from a special guy (or two!) Those anonymous ones bugged me, though. I can see you working hard to make your box the very best and I bet it was. :)

    Happy Valentine's Day, Jan!

    1. I have no doubt you had more than one guy pining for you, Beth. :) I didn't want to mention any names in this post, so I made "the guy" a Secret Admirer! :)

      Happy Valentine's Day!

  2. Jan, I liked your story and how you expressed it! It did spark up a memory I have of my very first job at 15. I use to work at WonderWorld. I made the sale signs and brought in the shopping carts that were scattered about the parking lot. Then I was promoted as a sales assistant in the Automotive department at age 16. Remember the DECA program? Uuuuuuu, that reminds me of another secret I have! ��

    1. Victor, you were one of the lucky ones to actually get a job at WonderWorld? I was only lucky enough to sell candy for band tickets in front of their door. :)

      No fair telling us you have a secret and not sharing. :)

      Happy Valentine's Day!

  3. I swore off Valentine's Day by the 2nd grade. Too many hopes and expectations only lead to heartbreak. Of course, my Valentine's box was simply gorgeous! But after failing to get a card from the dreamiest boy ever, Shawn (can't even remember his last name,) I decided to never hope for another Valentine. I've yet to be disappointed.

    1. Claire, that's the way to take control of a situation. :) I like your attitude! Happy Valentine's Day anyway. :)

  4. Wow, just this morning I was thinking how much fun Valentine's Day was back in grade school. I remember selecting "special" valentines for girls I had a crush on and hoping to get a "special" one from them in return. It never worked out that way, but I never lost hope or quit trying.

    This morning, I did find a very special valentine next to my coffee cup in the kitchen. :)

    I posted a little Valentine Poem at my blog

    Happy Valentine's Day to all!

    1. Russell, I'm so glad to hear that our secret Valentine crushes weren't one-sided. :)

      Your poem was hilarious. I can always count on your blog for a smile!