Valentine's Day is still a month away, but as we enter the official season of "looovve," here's one writer's Valentine's Day memory to help get you in that loving spirit.
As a kid, around this
time of the year, we were encouraged in elementary school to give a Valentine's
treat to our classmates—kind of like Kris Kringle at Christmas.
So the boys were paired with randomly picked girls by our teacher, and we were asked to give simple penny candy—nothing big-time—during the week of the Big Heart Day.
Well, lo and behold, I got picked to pair with Gigi, a neighbor, whom I secretly had a crush on.
So how did a naïve boy like me begin this Valentine's gift-giving? I figured that I'd start the first day with Valentine candy mints that I bought at a K & B Drug Store nearby; these were shaped like hearts and, of course, were red in color.
We were not allowed to reveal who the Valentine's giver was to our recipients until the big day, but I gave Gigi a hint: a heart symbol with a kiss on it.
You see, Gigi was the first girl I had ever kissed. When I was five years old, my siblings had tricked me into doing that for some McKenzie's glazed donuts—my favorites, which my dad used to get every Saturday for us when shopping at the Schwegmann's Grocery Story on Labarre Road.
Valentine's Day came, and we all had a lot of fun at school. I managed to give Gigi a nice, big red rose from my grandmother's ("Tita's") garden at our house. I think that all of those used eggshells that she had us throw into the garden back then really helped them to grow so large!
When Gigi went ahead and plucked a thankful kiss on my cheek that Valentine's Day morning, all I could do was what any normal five-year-old boy would do at that point: I said, "Yuck!" and continued playing football with my classmates.
Happy Valentine's Day to all, and especially to my better half, Maria!