By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Valentine Day card box will live on
Liberty lore
Placeholder Image
February has always been special to me. There are so many wonderful days in the shortest month.
Groundhog Day brings back memories. My parents were always eager to know whether the groundhog saw its shadow. They couldn’t wait for spring to arrive.
In school we marked former presidents’ birthdays by studying about and coloring pictures of Honest Abe Lincoln, George Washington and the cherry tree. We now have a federal holiday in their honor, President’s Day.
Also, my sister Josephine, my only grandson Keith and I have birthdays in February.
And, of course, Valentine’s Day is Feb. 14. I think it’s the day that stands out in most people’s minds. Most of us think of candy, flowers and cards. Not my daddy! He thought of Feb. 14 as the day the Irish potatoes were planted.
When I was in grammar school, a few days before Valentine’s Day we began making a beautiful creation — the Valentine box. It was a large, square ditto paper box. The teacher supervised as students covered the lid and box with white crepe paper. The edges were trimmed in ruffles of red and pink paper. We cut a slot in the top where cards could be dropped in.
We pasted paper hearts on the box using glue and popsicle sticks. Our teacher helped us make a few red paper roses by criss-crossing streamers of crepe paper. The “flowers” adorned the top of the box. When our creation was complete, we were always amazed by how pretty it was. The box sat on a table in our classroom until our Valentine’s Day party.
We gave one Valentine to each student in our classes and special cards to our teachers. We didn’t give cards to special friends only. This was not the teacher’s rule, it was my mother’s. However, I gave cards with the sweetest greetings to my best friends.
On Valentine’s Day we arrived at school eager to drop our cards in the beautifully decorated box. Students stood in line and dropped cards in one by one. We could hardly wait until 2 p.m. to empty the box.
Finally, room mothers would arrive with all the party goods. They came with holiday-themed paper plates, napkins and cups, cupcakes, red punch, white-iced sugar cookies sprinkled with red candy and, of course, the little hard candies bearing sweet sentiments.
After we were served, a student was chosen to open the box and take the cards out one by one. Several others were chosen to deliver the cards. We all waited to see if we got a special card from a special person. All too soon the beautiful Valentine’s box was empty. It had served its purpose.
Decorating and using the card box was such a pleasant tradition that I just figured it was something children everywhere were familiar with. Imagine my surprise in 1974 when my son was in first grade and Valentine’s Day was near. I asked him if they had made the “box” yet. He stared at me strangely and wanted to know what I was talking about. I explained.
I learned the Valentine’s Day box was no longer a tradition! Instead, each child took two pieces of construction paper, stapled them together, wrote his or her name on it and taped to their desk. On Valentine’s Day, students went around and put cards in the “pockets.” I was disappointed that my children would never know the joy of the Valentine’s box. Another old-time tradition vanished!
Another childhood Valentine’s Day tradition I enjoyed was making cards for my mama. Our teachers provided white, lacy doilies and red heart-shaped ones to help us create beautiful cards. We were proud of the finished cards, which contained hand-written verses. I always signed mine “I love you” and printed my name in a red heart.
In 1976, when she was in first grade, my daughter Paula brought me a very special Valentine’s Day card. The verse she wrote was, “Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is white and so are you!”
That one went into my heart-shaped box of memories. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Sign up for our e-newsletters