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VALENTINES DAY IN GRADE SCHOOL, 1950S STYLE
Valentines Day brought a mixture of both dread and anticipation to us boys in grade school in the 1950s. We looked forward to the goodies brought to our classroom for our Valentines Party. Someone (probably the teacher and those ladies that served as what we called grade mothers), would prepare cupcakes with confetti or heart shaped bits on them, and punch. To this, all we boys looked forward to.
The dread was brought on by a mixture of things. We had reached the age where most of us were suffering from inner turmoil. We knew that according to some unwritten code, boys our age were supposed to hate girls and find them disgusting. But some of us, much to our surprise had decided that we might like girls just a little bit though we werent quite sure why we did just yet.
We were required to get everyone in the classroom a valentine. This was strictly enforced by the teacher. At least we didnt have to worry about being the only person in class not to receive a valentine. There were some people, boys and girls that we didnt like at all, so we would pick out the valentines we judged to be the least pretty, and sent them to those classmates. Where more dread and anticipation came in was selecting the one for that girl we liked best. Would she like it? Would she tell all her friends who would then giggle and make faces at us? Would she send me a special valentine too?
When the day came for the Valentines party, the teacher would have a large cardboard box decorated in valentine colors sitting up at the front of the class. Each student would then go up and deposit their valentines in the box. The teacher would them call out the students name receiving the valentine, but not the sender. If fortune smiled on us and we did receive that special valentine from that special girl, the color of our faces would match the color of the big red heart on the valentine. Talk about pounding hearts and sweaty palms!
Then the next big dread was to see the reaction from that girl getting our special valentine. If she turned her head and gave a brief smile, we decided that God was in heaven, and that all was right with the world. Her face would turn red too. Could it be that girls faced Valentines Day with the same mixture of feelings as us boys? Could it be that we were beginning to understand women at that early age? Surely not! If so, why did that understanding and wisdom not advance with us?
remember one Valentines Day getting a large,
expensive (especially for that time) valentine from a
girl that according to my friends had a crush on me. I was teased so
unmercifully by the other boys, that I tore it into
pieces. I have always
regretted that I did that.
Looking back, I realize that was an expensive purchase
for her, and I shouldnt have treaded on her
feelings like that. Now that I look back on it, I realize
that the boys teasing me were probably jealous, or had
not yet made the move from hating girls to liking them,
or not yet ready to admit it at least. If she reads this,
perhaps she will realize that it was an early case of
male insecurity and nothing personal. Women understand men,