THE FIRST VALENTINE'S Day I really remember was when I was in the 2nd grade. I remember it so well because it was the first time I experienced the joy of exchanging Valentine's Day cards with my classmates. My teacher at St. Helena (CA) Elementary school was Ms. Spaulding and she sent a note home to all parents explaining that we would be having a class party on the afternoon of the 14th and that every student should be prepared to participate. This meant, of course, that parents had to run out to the supermarket to buy a pack of Valentine's Day cards and some little heart candies that could be put inside each envelope. Each candy had a little message engraved on the front and the hardest part of the whole event was choosing which message to put in whose envelope. For the boys I usually went for the oh-so-platonic messages like 'You're Cool' or 'Way to Go'. Choosing candies for the girls was much more complicated: Who get's the heart that says 'Be Mine'? Do I dare give out the 'You're Cute' candy? And why isn't there a heart that says 'Why Do You Keep Ignoring Me, Bitch?'
To make matters worse, my mom used to make me write a little message on each card. What is an 8 year old supposed to write? Usually it ended up being something like 'Nice Pants' or 'Can't Wait for Recess'. Since my mom was watching to make sure I wrote something to everyone in my class (even the annoying girls) I wasn't able to reference cooties or body odor on any of the cards, making the whole experience a bit of a waste of time in my estimation. But in the end the party was a lot of fun -- and if nothing else I had 24 candy hearts to eat when I got home.
Ah yes -- memories of childhood Valentine's Days. Priceless.