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.
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