My Valentine Box


February 11, 2023

It was Valentines Day at Washburn Elementary School. Located mid center of Woodland Avenue in my home town of, Duluth, Minnesota. So many memories.

Valentines Day was one of my favorite days of the year. I remember a shoe box, decorated with white or red doilies. The first thing was to wrap the box. I would choose white or red tissue paper; if there was none, white shelf paper would suffice. A little person like me had to be careful to wrap the shoe box cover so it could be opened! Pre-cutting a one inch slit on top of the cover, I would have to wrap it just so, to provide a place cards could be put in. I had red and white hearts all shapes and sizes, and hopefully white and red doilies. Do you remember using small blunt nose scissors? I was little, and my hands were little.

I would look forward to this every year. There was a smell in the air from paper and white paste. My paste jar was white. It had a small brush with a silver shaft attached to the inside of its screw on lid. I can still remember that smell, and its taste!

My mom would buy the plastic bag or box of valentines. She would get them at the F.W. Woolworth dime store which was located on Superior Street. As I opened my Valentine Box for the first time, I was sure no other eyes had ever looked on them. It was all about NEW!

We would receive a list of children, all of them, classmates. Of course there was always a boy that I liked. I would carefully look at each card and decide on the message he would get from me. It was a very important moment when in a subtle way I could declare my love. Love that would never reach beyond his Valentine Box. Tender moments. I don't remember his name, which would change from year to year. Sigh, I was a fickle dreamer, but that is to be expected when you are ten.

Back then, a boy would never know if you liked him, unless one of your friends let out the planned secret. This wouldn't happen very often. You would just have to sit at your desk and dream, hoping he would go ice skating, then you might get to play chase.

Those were the days, it was a long time ago. It is amazing how, even though it was 65 years ago, my mind is able to bring back the memories of color, taste, and smell. That smell and taste of paste, and the sounds of laughter. And those warm places in my heart.

Blessings, Julie


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