Monday, February 12, 2024

Happy Valentine's Day


It is Valentine’s week which is always a wonderful day to reflect or just a day to stay in bed and wait for next year. (Kind of like Groundhog’s Day?) I gave all of my cast members the evening off so they could just enjoy the evening with a date or with friends, and I do not give days off easily.

I have so many memories of Valentine’s Day! I loved making my valentine bags in elementary school. Paper, scissors, glue, and we made the best bags. Tucked tightly in my hand, I lovingly took them home at the end of the day. My sister, Jessie, and I would play with those valentines for days, maybe even months. We lined them up according to circus animals, and then cats and dogs, and later on we looked for signs that a boy liked us! Usually, the Valentines came in the packs, and we spread them out on the kitchen table choosing just the right valentine for the right person.

I remember the first time I got a “store bought” valentine from a boy. I hung on to that valentine for months shamelessly turning it over many times to look at the price of the card. (I said I was shameless!) Cards were not quite as much money as now, but that dollar sign on the back meant pure love! Girlfriends talk and tell stories, and we always asked how much the card cost. One year I got two store bought cards from two different boys. That was the year I knew I had arrived! Two boyfriends?

One year in college I received a bouquet of red roses with no card and no name. That definitely was an interesting conundrum. Who sent them? With my college roommate, Sally, by my side, we made a chart of possibilities and found the right young man to thank. Nowadays, my bouquets come from Aldi’s, and I buy them myself. Why not?

How did this day of candy and cards and romance evolve? Let us look into the history a bit. It was in the 14th century that romance came into the picture. Before that (and just some possibilities?) it was a priest who was martyred by Emperor Claudius II Gothicus. The lovely priest sent a letter to is jailer’s daughter and signed it “from your Valentine.” Of course, he was beheaded so not all was perfect for his romantic attempt! Another possibility was that St. Valentine of Terni secretly married young couples for the man could be freed from going off to war. That is a sign of true love, I think! Others think that the Christian church placed this day in the middle of February to coincide with Lupercalia, a fertility festival. This festival was outlawed in the 5th Century.

In the United States, valentines became popular in the mid-1800’s, although there are remnants of valentines from the early 1700’s. We owe a bit of gratitude to hallmark as well for making this a big holiday for love and friendship! It is estimated that there are 145 million cards sent on Valentine’s Day, second only to Christmas cards.

I know I sent valentines to all the grandkids. Cards this year were not just at the one-dollar mark, but rather five or six dollars! I make cookies too for family and friends! Luckily for us (well, some of us), we can celebrate with girlfriends and family members. There are so many fun events in town this week. Galentine’s Day is a big event to share with friends! The Brokaw is open on Wednesday evening for movies and there are basketball games at Trine. In other words, there are no reasons to just sit home and eat all the candy yourself. (Yes, it is okay to buy your own candy!)

As I think back over all my own years with valentines from my days with Jessie and my grown-up days, I am so lucky to have a drawer full of valentines from year’s past. And, yes, I do still believe in love and romance but with a different twist, perhaps. Don’t forget to notice the sky on Wednesday night. Build a fire, light a candle and ready poetry, even if it is to yourself.


 ‘She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.’

Lord Byron

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