by Sally Matheny
One Way to a Child's Heart
Valentine cards covered the floor the night before the big day. With my second grade class list in hand, I would spend at least an hour deciding which little sentiment best fit each of my classmates.
Valentine’s Day was always a fun day at school. After constructing card holders out of pink and red construction paper, students would scrawl their names in big letters across the front. No one wanted to be overlooked. Everyone hoped for a fat folder at the end of the day.
The folders were taped to the front of the desks. Later, the students would weave through the desks, placing valentine cards in the paper pockets.
Usually there was a party with white frosted cupcakes topped with red cinnamon hearts, chips, and strawberry Kool-Aid. The teacher gave each student a box of conversation hearts.
At some point in the day, everyone tried to see who could find the most words in the word “valentine.”
Finally, we would open our valentine cards. What a treat it was to read the colorful cards. They made me feel happy, liked, special.
After school, as soon as we got home, my older sister and I dumped all our valentine cards out on the floor and went through them again.
We greatly appreciated the friends who attached candy to their cards. Of course, my sister still had candy displayed with her cards, all lined up in neat little rows. In front of me sat a hodgepodge of perforated poems mingled with empty wrappers.
It wasn’t uncommon for me to hang on to those valentines for months. If a special message was written, I may still have it.