Letter to Saint Valentinus

Dear Saint Valentinus,

Valentine’s Day was a big deal in my first-grade class. Mrs. Buffington reminded the students to bring cards to share with the other students. My mother loved planning celebrations. My father shunned them. After school, while he was at work gardening a yard, she walked my twin sister and me to the five and dime and let each of us choose one cellophane-wrapped pack of 30 cards. That double purchase cost her about six bits with tax (that’s 75 cents in modern coins), but Mama supported our goal of giving cards to every student in our class with a few leftovers for the neighborhood kids. That year, I came home grinning, waving a stack of valentines from classmates.

Happy Valentine's Bay-PixabayThe following year, we hurried along beside Mother to the dime store to choose packages of Valentine cards, again while Papa was at work. You must have been too busy with romantic grownups to notice a second-grader in Mrs. Rigdon’s class because that wasn’t much of a celebration. Some of my classmates limited their giveaways to favorite friends. I went home with only a handful of cards and a half-smile.
Crayola stampMrs. Moore, my wise third-grade teacher, skipped the hand-out tradition in favor of individual self-expression art projects. Oh happy day!

Heart cake-PixabayAfter that, Valentine’s Day lost its shine for me. Mama continued to sprinkle heart-shaped cinnamon redhots on white-frosted homemade birthday cakes until we graduated from eighth grade. Then, no more hearts.

I inherited my mother’s fascination with holidays and special occasions, any joyous event. That intensified after my no-celebration father died following a short illness in the first semester of my freshman year of high school.  After that, I imagined a kneeling knight in shining armor in a romantic setting near a bubbling fountain,  a marriage proposal, the diamond ring glinting in the moonlight.

Red Rose - PixabayI just knew you’d do your part, Saint Valentine. But, where was the moonlit night, the fountain, hearts and roses six years later when the man of my dreams proposed to me in my mother’s kitchen on my birthday?


That’s cupid’s job.

Oh, I guess you’re right, but you could have given my sweetheart a nudge toward the living room instead of letting him slip the ring on my finger with the refrigerator as the backdrop.

You’re offended that I didn’t like your staging? Sorry, but that’s my line. I can see we’re getting nowhere. What do you say we call a truce? Here’s a rose to seal the deal.


Valentine Rose 2.14.2016 blog

What? You want red? Take my father’s advice.

Make do or do without.





Filed under Blogging, Events, Holidays, Memoir, Uncategorized

9 responses to “Letter to Saint Valentinus

  1. Robert and I were talking about this subject of being back in elementary school and forced to give cards to everyone which was great in the sense that no one felt left out, but then it turned into cards only being given to fav. friends and I was always worried that I would only get a couple but didn’t know if I should give out more just in case etc….. It was very stressful…..

  2. You took me back to my grade school celebrations of Valentine’s Day. Ah, memories. Thanks.

  3. Robert Tripp

    Brings back memories. I never really understood giving out valentines to the boys, especially from a boy. Yeah, yeah, I guess is was just a friendship thing, but when you’re down to your last valentine in a pack of 30 and you realize you haven’t sent one to little Billy, the feeling of something just ain’t right comes over you when you read the cover of the valentine card and it states very clearly in bold red letters, “With all my Heart”…..The little fluttering cupid is shooting his arrow of love into the giant red heart and will probably give little Billy the willies. Well maybe not today…… 🙂

  4. Robert Tripp

    I tried to leave a comment but it appears as though it didn’t go through.

  5. Your writing never ceases to amaze me.

    George Cramer


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