Be Mine/St. Valentine

First grade, cannot find any photos of 3rd grade (still sporting the same hairdo)

She carefully sorted her Valentine cards, setting aside the one for the teacher. Just one card read “Will you be my Valentine?” This card made her little heart patter with excitement. She was smitten by Joe, the smartest kid in her third grade class. He was perfect in her eyes and even his crowded front teeth made her smile. No one in her family of eight knew that she would one day marry Joe. How could they understand?  Her four- year-old sister was too young to grasp these things and her brothers, all three of them, would tease her to the point of tears. Her two older sisters thought of her as a mere child. Just one other person she could trust, her best friend Anita. Anita was petite in size, she was kind and sweet, and only she knew how the little girl loved Joe.

It was Valentine’s Day, the day she would know for certain if her true love would reciprocate. The bus ride to school seemed to take forever, and all she could think about was the cards she and Joe  would exchange. Her unspoken love was about to reach a new zenith, and it was a lot for an eight-year-old to bear. When she entered her classroom she quietly took her seat toward the back of the room. They sat in alphabetical order, and always among of the last ones. She wished her last name started with a “P” like Joe’s instead of a “U”. All day long, lunch, two  recesses she waited for the card. The art project that day was to make a holder for all the Valentine cards; she cut and pasted, and the end product was perfect for holding that one card from Joe. Fifteen minutes before dismissal, the teacher announced that it was time to exchange cards.  The girl’s eyes widened with excitement and she pulled her brown bag with the Valentines. You could hear the giggles as all the children took turns in handing out their cards. It was Joe’s turn, and as he came toward the little girl, she put her head down. This was it, she thought to herself, now I will know how much he loves me. The bell rang it was time to go home. She held that one card tightly in her hand and opened it. The card had a picture of a kitten holding a heart which read “You are sweet, Valentine.” What! No! No! this was not happening! She looked over at Anita.  Anita was smiling, almost to the point of gloating. The same card, purchased at Woolworth’s, that she set aside for Joe, was in the petite hands of Anita! Joe loved Anita, not the little girl. She wanted so badly to cry that it hurt, but she remained strong. The bus ride home was torture, and sitting next to Anita added to her heartbreak.

Yes, this is my first memory of Valentine’s Day. I have no idea whatever became of Joe but I do remember that he broke my heart that day.


St. Valentine

Valentine’s Day has become a huge marketing ploy; the statistics are staggering with over $13 billion spent annually on this holiday. The average consumer will spend $161.21 on Feast Day of St. Valentine. Remember that it is about love and not the gifts. (I have to keep repeating that to myself).

St. Valentine of Rome is the patron saint of love, young people, and happy marriages.  St. Valentine was put in prison by the Emperor Claudius for marrying couples and professing his faith in Jesus. While he was in prison he healed a jailer’s daughter of blindness, and on the day of his execution, he left the girl a card signed “Your Valentine.” This is the reason we exchange Valentine cards.

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