A Valentine Story

Way, way back, long before some insightful baker dreamt up cupcakes that wore crinoline, there was an awful, terrible event called Valentine’s Day in public school.


Back then the little darlings of the preteen set, even the pre-preteen set, did not have to give every good little girl or good little boy, in their assigned classroom, a Valentine card.  Why you ask?  They simply did not have to.  It was the way of the world at that time.

It was, for those who liked to be cruel, a free day of torture.

I know… I know… not all children think in those terms, but truthfully, take it from one that barely crawled out of that era with an ounce of strength left in my core; it was a day of pain.

You see, in the days that played before Valentine’s Day, we were set to work by the teachers with our cache of colourful construction paper, glue, sparkles, frilly hearts of all shapes and sizes, and our quest was to fashion our own little envelope, a mailbox of sorts.  And on that fluffy day of hearts we were to carefully place, our envelope, on the corner of our desk, signalling to all that we were open for business.  The business of receiving Valentine cards that is.

Let the pain begin! called the heralds.

He is richest who is content with the least…Socrates

But alas, I did not know of Socrates at that point in my life, instead, after diligently delivering all my own cards, I sat patiently waiting, hoping and praying, that I would receive some cards, any cards…please God…one card.

If there was a random free thought that seeped out of all that worry, it simmered in the juices of more worry, that perhaps, just perhaps, some of my Valentines, which I had carefully scripted for others, would not be welcomed!

It was like drowning in sugar candy misery.

I hope that I made cards for all in my class.  I honestly don’t remember.  I hope I did.

I was so relieved when my boys were little that the policy had changed in the schools.  A class list was sent home every year in plenty of time for Valentine’s Day, with each and every student’s name carefully noted.

Disaster averted, gentle feelings protected.

Everyone is afraid of not being loved, and when you wait for that card on Valentine’s Day, it can feel like you are waiting for proof that you are loved.  I do not take this as a lack of confidence; I believe that instead it shows the true weight of need.

I lift my perfectly fluffed, icing sculptured cupcake to all, in the hopes that your Heart day was a good one…cuz, I have faith in both… cupcakes and love.

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12 Responses to A Valentine Story

  1. Sharon Clare says:

    You’ve delivered me back to primary grades, Carole Ann. I don’t remember if I got valentine’s cards from boys or if it was all girl friends, but you do hit on a poignant point. We all need to feel loved whether it’s from our peers or our family.

    Sending you a virtual hug!

    • Carole-Ann says:

      Thanks Sharon, I already had my cupcake so now a hug, wonderful!
      I have always made a fuss of Valentine’s Day for family and those I love, but it does make me think of lonely times, and of those experiencing the same. Christmas and Valentine’s Day are the biggest holidays for the retail, and with all that splash that goes in advertising this fact, I’m sure it is heartache rather than chocolates for some.

  2. OMG, Carole-Ann! That takes me back to the pre-political correctness era. What teacher could have thought having each kid sit waiting while others MIGHT put something in their envelope a good thing? We put all our cards in a huge decorated box at the front and they were distributed from there. At least if someone was missed the pain was less public in my one-room school. My mom even made us do cards for some pretty scummy characters who attended our 8 grade, one room school house. Of course, then I would get cards I really didn’t want from the oldest of these three. Honestly that was painful, too. I sure don’t know what the right way of it would have been but am glad everyone sends to everyone now.

    • Carole-Ann says:

      I like the idea of the cards being put into a box, but I suppose the child still sits there and waits. And good point Elaine, having to suffer cards from someone you do not want attention from, I suppose that is the problem with trying to be politically correct…everyone is not always happy. It is certainly difficult when trying to do the right thing.
      Where did you go to school for Grade 8…one room school house, now there’s some stories brewing I am sure!

  3. Sherry Smyth says:

    The days long before being politically correct….and hoping that you received some valentines…if not THE valentine from the one you “loved”. I remember buying those books and punching out the valentines, writing in my friends’ names and saving the big one on the back of the book for the “special” boy I liked. And the thrill when that special boy gave me the same valentine back. And then my boys came along and went to school…and the class list came home. And political correctness made it’s presence felt. And they would say “but I don’t really like so and so” and I’d say, but you still give a valentine. And all the while I’d be having this little war within myself. A valentine is intended to tell someone special that they ARE special. Giving one to every person defeats the purpose. And it made much more sense to me to do away with giving valentines in the classroom and letting the exercise just die a natural death. But alas, I was not in charge and so we moved forward. It might be why my children have no interest in valentines day now that they are in their 20s…

    • Carole-Ann says:

      Hello Sherry thanks for visiting!
      I suppose for in the classroom they are trying to teach, I hope, that everyone is special on this day,and everyday, however I tend to live in a bit of a lavender scented bubble, but being policed by the politically correct can and does stifle us. As Elaine had commented earlier, getting Valentines from one you are not interested in can be painful as well. It is difficult to find the right way isn’t it?

  4. Vance Young says:

    Winter lol
    Good one mom, it is good to hope for better weather but it does fly by when you don’t let things get to you. I’m seeing that now.
    But now I’m in a place of winter. They say here there is only 2 seasons (winter and summer) The joke is there is two months of summer then the rest of the year is winter. Yuk. I laughed, then my buddy said “dud I’m not joking”
    My face sank down. Boo I said to myself. Love you mom xoxo

    • Carole-Ann says:

      Oh that was a good one Vance!…”dud I’m not joking”!!! You will have to start reading the series of books I received from your Aunt Joyce: Game of Thrones, the saying for one of the houses is “winter is coming”
      love you!! Stay warm!!

  5. Vance Young says:

    The valentines one was good too mom. I would have been crushed to have to go through that in school. School sucked enough without having to add that day too lol.
    Kids these days are even worse. Sometimes you just have to have a strong shell and just always smile and show people your spirit will never be brought down. I wish I learned that well I was in school rather then now when I’m older.

    Love your writing mom. Keep it up, I want to see your book on chapters website soon. Xoxox

    • Carole-Ann says:

      Growing up, I agree, is not an easy task is it? I think school either makes that shell or breaks it, but you have a wonderful tool there to “smile and show people your spirit”…love it! Keep that spirit going!!

  6. Sherry Isaac says:

    Carole Anne, I didn’t know of Socrates, either. And, I share your pain. Waaaaah! To have one card.
    Remember the pretty girls with the perfect pigtails, gloating over their stash of pink hearts printed on slick paper, sweetly asking, ‘How many did you get?’
    I repeat, ‘Waaaaah!’
    Worse, when I received a Valentine… from a boy. What to do? What to do?
    My young answer? Nothing.
    But, oh, the insult, to receive a Valentine from the boy who wasn’t the cutest. Tender heart, yet fickle.

    • Carole-Ann says:

      The dreaded question for sure, would also be hard pressed to lie when the envelope remained flat screaming ‘no mail here!’ Yes, the fun times of youth! And how true Sherry…tender hearts, yet fickle!

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