a freelance journal

The Valentine Box

A new twist on a old idea

Do you remember yours?  Usually some old shoebox with construction paper hacked into shape by safety scissors and held together by semi-damp Elmers glue or homemade paste (the stickfull you didn’t eat).  The lid was slit with an opening for valentines you hoped to collect.  In that narrow and dark opening you looked with some anxiety and hopefullness.  Would it be wide enough for the giant valentine you knew/hoped you’d get?  Would there be any that would be waiting when you lifted the lid?

Usually covered with hearts, some favorite character or drawings, you spent a week working on these and couldn’t wait for the day to hand out the pay off.  Once the box was finished you got down to business on the valentines themselves.  Mom’s was probably homemade and maybe, if the opposite sex had shed its cooties, one for that special someone.  If they weren’t homemade then you saved the “cool” ones that you really liked for the people you really liked.  Perhaps someone you hadn’t chased on the playground but had always dreamed of chasing or maybe even little blonde headed Holly McGee who rolled her eyes when you were assigned to sit next to her but you knew (hoped) liked you anyway.

Now we know it is a “Hallmark Holiday” and may tend to see things in terms of reservations and appropriate dollar amounts.  Then it was all about taking the lid off the valentine box and checking out the goods.  Maybe not as spectacular as dumping your Halloween take on the floor, or Christmas morning’s bolt downstairs, or even your birthday but still a palpable excitement to look forward to.  Did the special someone you saved the “cool” valentine for give you a “cool” one?  Maybe you got that year’s new Superman or Scooby-Doo?  Did you get any that were from -gasp-anonymous?  Any treats?  Any that were the same?  How will you sort them?  Which ones will you save?

Now, we try our best to keep the day simple in its romance and appeal.  We may shell out dollars for some adult version of the box to fill the void, then we didn’t try.  Now we worry if it is enough.  Then we didn’t worry over any of those things.  Your only worry was being seen by the box owner placing the “special” card.  It was ok to give the valentine or even check the “yes” box on a “do-you-like-me” note but to be seen giving it…the embarassment was almost too much to imagine.  As scary as it all could be, it was easy and heartfelt.  Now it is different and it can be just as special and just as heartfelt, but man there was just something about the Valentine box.

the goods

Here is hoping that however you spend your Hallmark Holiday, you feel like your valentine box is full.  If you have a valentine box then enjoy and hope you get some cool ones. Lucky.

Happy Valentine’s Day from “the notes.”

Happy Valentine’s Day Amy and Abby!   You girls fill my valentine box every day.  They are always “cool” ones.  I love you both!


5 responses

  1. Amy

    You are the best husaband and daddy ever! We love you too! A buncho amount!

    February 15, 2010 at 10:07 am

  2. Mom

    This is my favorite! It made me step back many years in time to again experience the feelings so vividly described.

    February 16, 2010 at 9:51 am

    • I miss having the box too. Glad I get to watch someone else go for it.

      February 16, 2010 at 9:54 pm

  3. Jan K.

    Abby is precious! We enjoyed savoring these memories through our children and now are reliving them again through our grandchildren. It’s nice to have some special heartfelt traditions that remain constant.

    February 19, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    • So glad you found something of yourselves on it. Thanks for the kind words.

      February 19, 2010 at 9:45 pm

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