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Valentine’s Day flashback

Valentine’s Day is an observance that keeps on giving no matter how old you and your sweetheart are. 

I was an elementary school student during World War II when students celebrated by swapping valentine-shaped paper cutouts they made in class before Feb.14. The cutouts were made from colored construction paper and contained simple messages such as “Happy Valentine’s Day” and the printed names of the recipients and senders.  

Store-bought valentines, some of which cost as much as a nickel each, were given to the teacher.  

Afterward, students were served Kool-Aid and heart-shaped teacakes made from sorghum syrupSugar was rationed, with a family of four limited to five pounds each per person per month. Sorghum syrup was used as a substitute. 

Valentine swapping surged in junior high school as boys and girls began experimenting in puppy love. Store-bought valentines became the norm. They could be purchased in assorted packages for as little as 29 cents for a 30-count package. Each valentine carried a different message, and importance was placed on choosing the right message for your classmates, with special attention given to sweethearts. 

More expensive Valentine gifts became the norm in high school as serious-minded couples began emerging – flowers, chocolates and jewelry. 

I tied a string around my little finger and pledged not to forget Valentine’s Day when Geanell and I got married in 1955. Fortunately, she is not hard to please when it comes to Valentine gifts. A bouquet of flowers or a box of her favorite candy will work.   

The bottom line is, I know the important thing for me is not to forget. 

The number of honorees on my Valentine gift list continues to grow – in addition to Geanell, the list now includes our daughter, our three granddaughters and our 5-year-old great-granddaughter.  

Choosing suitable gifts for them is something that requires forethought and shopping time and thankfully involves Geanell’s input. Do I get roses or chocolates, potted houseplants or gift certificates? Do I individualize the gifts or give them all the same?  

No matter what I choose, they always show their appreciation with a “thank you” and a big hug. 

Happy Valentine wishes go out to everyone who will be remembered by their loved ones on this year’s Valentine’s Day.