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Monday, February 22, 2016

Valentine's Day in a small town

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Sugar is sweet,
and so are you....

An age old poem for an ageless holiday.

One of the many things I remember growing up in a small town is the Valentine's Day festivities at school. The Ground Hog had no sooner slipped back into his burrow for six more weeks of winter weather, than we'd be issued a list of supplies to bring in for our "project".  Of course, our mothers, who were great predictors all on their own, knew the upcoming events and had already procured the tissue paper, shoe box, and red construction paper needed. If you were lucky, your mom saved a few of those paper dollies from some other holiday and your book bag would be filled to the brim making you hunched over, resembling a miniature pack mule trudging into class.

In the afternoon, after lessons were completed, the transformation began. Desk cleaned, we'd spread out our paper and with extreme care, lift the edges to cover the box. With technical skill, we'd labor to cut out precise hearts of various sizes and glue them onto the top and sides. Then, with our best penmanship, we'd place our names for all to see. The teacher would collect our "mailboxes" and line them up on a table awaiting the next day's special delivery.

Armed with a list of our classmates, we'd journey home and spend hours at the kitchen table making sure our valentines matched the person we were sending them to. It was not allowed to skip a name or to 'accidentally forget' a classmate, no matter the disagreement. On Valentine's Day, everyone was deemed special and therefore it was mandatory to give a Valentine.

We turned in 'our assignments' the next morning and waited. Oh, how hard it was to know that twenty five to thirty slips of paper, some adorned with suckers or other treats would be at our disposal come three thirty in the afternoon. The day done, boxes clutch against our chest, we'd rush home and read each and everyone of them. Friendships were renewed or developed depending on the choice of the card. It was magic.

I hope the magic of the day reached  your house. If you are needing some ideas for Valentine's Day next year, think about purchasing some tulle bags from the cake decorating or scrap booking section of your local department store. Fill them with chocolate, favorite candies, or paperclips teachers might need.

For your gardeners, a clay pot painted with hearts of clover for upcoming St. Patrick's Day can be filled with a pair of gloves and flower seeds.

Another simple gift idea, is a box of crayons and a blank notepad for budding artists. You can put them in a dollar store sand bucket along with colored chalk and bubbles for outside fun.

Here's wishing you lots of front porch greeting!
Have a grand day,

Nan O'Berry

For more fun in a small town, check out stories set in Rebel's Crossroads.
Playing with Fire
Random Acts of Kindness 


  1. Great ideas, Nancy! I remember those days well, of Valentine's Day mailboxes. It's a shame we don't do that as adults, huh? :) Thanks for posting!

  2. Nan,

    I do remember going over all those Valentine's Day cards and deciding which classmate should receive what. And we too had to make sure everyone in the class received one. No one would be left out.

    Loved your ideas for gifts. Very cute. For my niece this year, who is only eleven, I gave her clear nail polish and nail stickers so she could decorate her nails. Also a big Hershey bar with a message of Happy Valentine's day written on the wrapper. I think she liked the candy the best. lol

    Great post. And I loved all you tales. There's something charming about small town stories and the characters who reside there. Wish you lots of success.

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by. Your good wishes are much appreciated. What great ideas! I have a granddaughter that loves her nails done. I may borrow this idea for Easter or St. Patty's Day.

    2. Fair is fair- I just may borrow one of yours. lol

  3. Hi Nan, We loved making our Valentine mail boxes too when I was in school. And it was such an honor when chosen to help decorate the bulletin board for the holiday. Loved those little heart candies with the sayings on them and the heart shaped red hots we all shared, but chocolate was always my favorite.

    Please keep writing your hometown stories and sharing them with us!

    1. Thanks so much, Rebecca. It was so much fun. Its a shame things have to move so fast in today's world that children don't get a chance to savor the moment. I feel sometimes, for the sake of technology, we've missed the boat. Oh... remember getting bags of those red hot hearts... yummmm.

  4. Ahh, such familiar memories. I did love Valentine's Day, when even though we were required to give each of our classmates a Valentine, it was "which" Valentine we received that was most important. I would never have like one that said, "Trucking on down To See You. Love Jimmy John." Oh, no, I looked for the pretty ones with girly stuff. After all, I was very "girly." What wonderful memories. I hope the grade school children today have as much fun." Thanks so much, Nan!

  5. Hey Celia, Oh yeah, I think I remember having some Barbie ones and other just generic Valentine's. I wished they had had some cowgirl ones. That would have been cool.

  6. We missed out on all this in the UK, as we never did anything in school for Valentine's Day.

  7. Nan, I'm late commenting but I'm here! Thank you for sharing these sweet memories of Valentine's Day. It is a very special holiday for children and grownups as well. Flowers and candy always come to mind when I think of it. And love, of course. There can never be too much of all three!

  8. Sorry I'm late commenting, Nan. I enjoyed your blog about Valentine's Day! It's still a very exciting day for kids, as I just observed my two small grandchildren signing and preparing their Valentine's to give away on the big day. My six-year-old loves constructing fancy and detailed cards to give to her family and friends, much like we used to do when we were kids. Fun!

  9. I remember exchanging Valentines in school with those "mail boxes" we created. Some of the Valentines were so sweet--mostly from other girls. The boys, on the other hand, were sometimes a bit rough or awkward like they'd been forced into something they wanted no part of. Funny how time changes things.
    A sweet post, Nan.


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