The Valentine

Salisbury Post- February 14, 2020

On that day, most teen girls at my high school were looking for – or hoping for – a valentine. I was no exception. Throughout the school day – nothing. Hope had begun to dwindle, even though I had been ‘dating’ someone for a few months.

 

I got home from school. Walked in the front door.

 

There it was!

 

A box. A really big box. A really really big box. It seemed to fill the room.

Pink gift wrap covering it. Red bows draping over it. Red ribbons from side to side. Red ribbons from top to bottom.

 

The box was much taller than this young girl – as I stood there staring up with an incredulous look on my face.

 

That box was for me!

 

And there he was – the boyfriend – stepping out from inside the box.

My valentine had been personally delivered.

 

I suppose a lot of people had gotten chocolate, roses, or both – but I had been given the memory of a lifetime.

 

I may have been handed chocolate and roses, but I really do not remember.

It was all about the box – the big box.

 

It was half a century ago, and now I somehow see it more clearly than I did then.

 

I think of a teen boy:

 

Wanting to give a special gift.

Getting the courage to tell his parents his idea.

Looking for – and attaining – a refrigerator box.

Using his money from a part-time job to buy a ton of gift wrap, bows, and ribbons.

Getting the courage to tell my parents his plan.

Struggling to wrap a refrigerator box and finish it off with ribbons and bows.

Waiting at my home with my parents for me to arrive.

 

Valentines is the sweetest, isn’t it?

 

I feel sure I had never even dreamed at that moment that I would be celebrating February 14 for many years to come with thousands of students over many many years of teaching.

 

It has never gotten old.

 

Beautiful fancy cards that were practically embellished with jewels.

Cards stating, “You blow me away!” with a blow-pop attached.

Or “I chews you,” with gum attached.

Or, “You rock!” with pop rocks attached.

Boxes of candy hearts.

Boxes of chocolate.

Flowers.

Cupcakes. Ahh… the cupcakes.

Handwritten love notes slipped secretly onto my desk..

I wish I had saved every single one.

I wonder if they would fill the refrigerator box had I saved it.

 

My mother handing me a box of chocolates when I was just a little girl.

My children slipping me a valentine they made secretly in their rooms.

My husband handing me a card and telling me he loves me.

Priceless.

 

Please tolerate my moment of nostalgia for February 14.

I leave you with the words of this special song from the Beatles:

 

All you need is love.

All you need is love.

All you need is love, love.

Love is all you need.

 

Happy Valentines Day.

I love you.

 

Make a memory.

Hold it in your heart… forever.

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