Saturday, February 13, 2010

Be My Valentine ...


While the origin and history of Saint Valentine's Day is often debated ... there's little argument that it can be a time of extreme trepidation, anxiety, disappointment and even embarrassment for many ... according to some, in 469 A.D., Pope Gelasius declared February 14 a day to honor a Catholic saint named St. Valentine ... actually there were three St. Valentines, one a bishop, one a priest and little was known about the third, however, all three men were martyrs ... one legend has it that a Roman emperor banned all soldiers from marrying sometime during the third century, consequently, St. Valentine took issue with the ban and became an outspoken advocate for the soldiers' right to take a wife -- he ultimately lost his life as a result ... another legend says St. Valentine was executed for his beliefs in Christianity, and just before he died, he left a farewell note for a loved one and signed it "From Your Valentine" ... sounds good to me.

I remember as a young gentleman toiling amid the throes of receiving the bulk of my education, during the early years of "grade" school, or elementary school as it's referred to these days (1-6), that each class would host a Valentine's Day party annually ... after lunch, we were permitted to talk and play games while feasting on cookies, candy and cupcakes, and chugging Kool-Aid like there was no tomorrow ...however, the highlight of the entire day was the exchanging of Valentine's Day cards with our classmates -- thus begetting the aforementioned extreme trepidation, anxiety, disappointment and embarrassment ... even at a young age, cliques had developed amongst schoolmates, and each of us were well aware of our position on the totem pole of popularity, or lack thereof ... usually I found myself somewhere near ground level ... subsequently, and mercifully, the teacher always made sure that potentially life-altering daggers of rejection and indifference were dulled somewhat by requiring each student to exchange at least one Valentine's Day card with every other student in attendance ... we were each given a list of names of every student in our class a week prior to the party, and each of us were then required to present at least one card to everyone on the list, or we weren't allowed to participate in the card exchange at all.

Parents would purchase a big pack of assorted Valentine's Day cards, then each of us would choose the best cards for our favorite sweetheart or friends and whatever was left would be given to the less fortunate ... in the meantime, the teacher had each of us make a large envelope from brightly colored construction paper and paste with our names printed down the front with a Magic Marker ... we then attached these envelopes all along the bottom of the huge chalkboard which ran the entire width of the front of the classroom, then we placed our respective Valentine's Day cards in their corresponding receptacles ... a good idea I suppose, and although the teacher made us wait until we got home to look at our bounty, one couldn't help but notice that the more popular kids had the fattest envelopes ... I found out in later years that the teacher always placed a large "Special Valentine" unique from all the others in each of our packets from "A Secret Admirer" just in case someone hadn't received such a card from a classmate.

So I would run home after the party with my skinny envelope containing my fate and dump it out on the kitchen table while nobody was watching ... and there they were, mostly generic cards identical to those I had previously culled for those I had deemed as less than desirable ... but at the very bottom of the pile I found two large, beautiful and bright cards ... one from "A Secret Admirer" and the other from my most favorite, cutest, little sweetheart of them all which simply said "Be My Valentine" ... can't be any more popular than that!


"Happy Valentine's Day" --sja

12 comments:

mysticdave said...

Awww, the memories of childhood Valentine's Day parties of grade school(as it was called in my day also) i remember them well....cool post, brought back memories of the "old days!".... I just found your blog a short time ago, and i am glad to see you at it again....I am sharing this post with my Stumbleupon friends, and also on Digg...Facebook, and Twitter.....:)Happy Blogging!

sja said...

Thanks Mysticdave ... you have great blogs, I'm envious, they're some of the best looking sites on the net too ... I've put a link for my favorite in the sidebar ...

Chris Stonecipher said...

Dave shared this with me. I am enjoying reading your post and your blog looks great. i am now following.

Fatima Da aka Fatibony said...

Awesome story,grt to see you back...Happy Valentines Day

sja said...

Thanks Chris ... glad you enjoy the blog ...

sja said...

Fatibony ... thanks, good to hear from you too ... "Happy Valentine's Day!" ...

Ellie Great said...

Cool! Happy Valentine's Day

sja said...

Happy Valentine's too you too Ellie ...

Bill Smith said...

Great post! Cross posted at http://arkansasgopwing.blogspot.com/2010/02/be-my-valentine.html

As I said in the lead in to your story "The following post by SJA, brought back fond and trembling memories of having to exchange valentines in grade school. Even seems like we had the same teacher. For the following excellent post, SJA gets a "Be My Friend Valentine". Sorry SJA, but my wife of 44 years gets my only "Be My Valentine"."

sja said...

Thank you Bill Smith Sir, and the rest of you guys ... I'm very relieved to now know that my annual bout of adolescent Valentine's Day neurosis was not just an isolated case, but a pandemic of Brobdingnagian proportions affecting the majority of young lads nationwide ... thanks for the visit, and thanks for sharing another of my posts on your fine site ARRA News Service ...

BOB said...

Happy Valentine's Day from Miss Carol and me ... a little late!!

We send our love ... Robbie is with me and I have an apartment 5 minutes from the nursing facility but we have yet to move out of the old apartment ... paying rent on both through March.

I'm exhausted ... wonderful post as always ... you know no other way!

sja said...

Good to hear from you mon ami, and how is my mon amie Carol doing? ... sounds like you're doing well, especially having Robbie there to help out, and with being closer to Carol's facility ... "Happy Valentine's Day!" right back, I've been wondering about you ... keep in touch ... my love and prayers as always ...