Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays of which I’m not particularly fond. It’s almost like a little war to me. You make great progress with your New Year’s Resolution to eat healthy, get in shape and then…BAM! You enter a store and are surrounded by a sea of red candy boxes and overwhelmed by the heavenly scent of chocolate.
Having three kids within four years and their being the first grandchildren on their paternal side meant boxes of chocolate of all shapes and sizes. This also meant sugar highs until spring. I even used to try to hide the goodies but my children had extraordinary olfactory skills and could actually sniff the stuff out. Of course, when my grandchildren arrived on the scene…well, you know what they say…payback is a you-know-what.
MOTNSO (“More Often Than Not Significant Other”) starts shopping for Valentine’s Day right after Christmas. I don’t know if that’s because he is one of these people who has to get everything done way before deadline or because he is searching for the perfect gift. When I think about the fact that he starts shopping for Christmas right after the 4th of July, well that sort of makes me think it’s the former rather than the latter.
I remember my first Valentine card…well, the first serious Valentine card I ever got.
I had a mad crush on the smartest boy in our 8th Grade class. I remember describing him to my mother as “…tall, dark and handsome…and he wears glasses.” (I think that actually set the tone for anyone with whom I’ve had a relationship. Every serious boyfriend - including MOTNSO and The Ex – had glasses.)
There was a popular short story making the rounds of my giggly girlfriends at the time called A 35 Cent Valentine Means True Love. It was the early ’60′s and that was considered to be a great deal of money. More than what a quart of milk cost at the time.
Well, darn if The Crush didn’t walk me home on February 14th (for the first time and he lived all the way at the other end of the town in Queens we lived in, so it was quite a hike). When we got to my door he reached into his school bag (yes, no one had backpacks then…and let’s face it, he was a bit of a nerd. I carried my books just in my arms…not because I was cool but I seem to remember I had actually had lost my school bag somewhere) and pulled out a thick, creamy colored envelope with my name scrawled on the front in blue fountain pen ink.
I think I blushed, but I’m Italian, so you can never really tell.
I thanked him for it, ran upstairs to my apartment, into my room, closed the door, held it in my hands for a couple of minutes and finally opened it.
It had the usual sickeningly sweet rhyme in it (but to me it was a sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning) and he had signed it…”From, Joe”… I held my breath and turned it over…there, in the teeny tiny print under the Hallmark logo was the price. It was 35 cents!
I immediately had visions of our going to proms together (I actually did go to his senior prom, but as a friend, not a girlfriend) and eventually settling down in some high-rise in Queens and having children, all of whom would wear glasses and carry schoolbags.
He’s now a very successful doctor living in Kansas City.
I only had one other truly memorable Valentine’s Day and that was my freshman year in college.
We dissected a fetal pig in Biology right before V-day. I somehow managed to “steal” its heart (I hesitate to think what I put it into to get it out of the lab…my jacket pocket?) Why would I do such a silly thing, you ask?
Because I “enclosed” it in the Valentine card that I sent to my boyfriend at home…with something schmaltzy written in the card like “This is another heart you will always have.” Unfortunately, I hadn’t taken into consideration what would happen to it during the course of its journey from my dorm to his house. Um, you might say it was a bit “ripe” upon its arrival.
We broke up shortly after that. I can’t imagine why.
Here’s hoping that if you have someone special in your life, you get a 35 cent Valentine…if you don’t, then buy yourself one.
I also suggest that if you get a somewhat bulky card in the mail from someone you know who is heavily into science you throw it right in the trash.