Love is in the Air

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and here’s the gift I gave Hubby. I even paid full price since the BOGOF sale was last week.

Last Valentine’s Day I wrote a little bit about the cute cards we exchanged as elementary school students on this special day, those dime store cards that came 20-30 in a flat box. I was in seventh grade when I bought my first real Valentine for a real boyfriend. Mom took me to the drugstore so I could pick out just the right one. As much as I liked this boy, I was pretty sure I didn’t love him yet, so I avoided cards that were too mushy or sentimental, or even had the word love on it. Instead, I chose a card with the word ‘lust’. Since it wasn’t love, which of course is the ultimate feeling you can have for someone, surely lust had to be somewhere between ‘like’ and ‘love’. Mom gently steered me away from that card and instead of trying to define the word to my 13-year-old brain there in the card aisle, told me to look it up when we got home. I did. I was grateful she let me learn the meaning in the privacy of my own room and not buy the card for my young friend. That was love.

I wonder if Charley Swartz’s mom knew he gave this Valentine postcard to one Miss Celia Burgraff of Shelby, Ohio back in the day. The handwriting and the fact he’d ‘entitaled’ each person suggests Charley was a young suiter. There’s no stamp or postmark but Charley probably never realized that while he asked Celia not to tell ‘any body’, there was still a good chance the mail carrier saw it if Charley placed the postcard in Celia’s mailbox. Love sometimes blinds us, doesn’t it.

But Valentine’s Day has another strong connection for me, and my Galion St. Joe’s classmates please correct me if I’m wrong, but this day always makes me think of our grade school’s mission party. Don, Dawn, Sue, wasn’t this held around Valentine’s Day? The Mission Party was a much-anticipated event that allowed us to walk down the alley connecting our school to a former Catholic church that had been converted to our Knights of Columbus Hall and gym, and to get out of classes for much of the afternoon. The party was an annual fund raiser, probably organized by the mothers’ club, much like a marketplace or bazaar with tables filled with wares.

I know there were baked goods and probably popcorn balls to buy. Maybe a table of those wonderful Scholastic books we loved. I remember handcrafted items and a white elephant table. I’m guessing there was a table of religious items like holy cards and rosaries, the nuns always had a treasure trove of those for giving to students for good behavior and good test marks. The rosaries were plastic in various colors, including that greenish glow-in-the-dark hue so we could find them even at night.

I imagine there were games, but the one popular activity I’m sure of was the jail. We’d pay good money to have our friends arrested, and then beg those same friends for bail when we were the ones behind bars.

While I may not have all the details right, it’s the emotions that surround the memory that stand out. As we nickeled, dimed, and quartered our way through the afternoon, we were aware the money we spent was for the ‘poor pagans’ in other countries. In the midst of all the laughter, the running around, the concentrated effort over how to spend our money, we were subtly learning a valuable lesson. Love is the awareness of and concern for others – especially those less fortunate – and always includes self-sacrifice.

May love be in the air around you, and I hope you have someone in your life tomorrow and every day who loves you enough to sacrifice for you … and maybe even splurges on a full-price bag of snacks. Happy Valentine’s Day!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s