Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Back in the old neighborhood on 100 north in Orem, Valentine's Day was big. We would sneak up to doors, drop the Valentine cards on the porch, ring the bell, then ran as fast as you could to a bush where you could watch the happy recipient. Stealth, not romance was key. Even though we signed the cards, getting caught was almost like you didn't send the card at all.
Having best friends to give heart-shaped chocolates, cookies, and hard colored heart candies with messages, was what it was all about. My brothers had an entirely different plan. I heard of them putting a beautiful Valentine on a string and pulling it away when the person reached for it. I heard of them putting a dead mouse in an envelope and worse.

At school Valentine's Day was a pretty big deal. In some classes we decorated shoeboxes to hold all our cards. Back then, it was unusual for school Valentines to have candy in them, but if you were lucky you got a fat envelope with a few pieces of candy. When I gave the message hearts at school, I had to sort through them carefully to make sure I didn't give any boys candies with, "Love you" on them or "Love me." Accidentally sending someone a "kiss me" conversation heart would embarrass you to the point that you wouldn't want to go back to school--ever. So it took a long time to decide who got what in their envelope. Cooties were always a big deal, in that boys always carried them. In the fifth grade, I came up with an ingenious way to make a few dollars. I sold cootie insurance. I made the insurance on onion skin paper, wrote with India Ink and a quill pen. Then for an authentic look I burned the edges of the documents. The owner of my insurance could not get cooties from the opposite gender--guaranteed.  And all this for only 25 cents. It's a good thing no one ever challenged me on that guarantee.

I wonder when the last time someone put a heart shaped valentine on my front door, rang the bell and ran. I wonder if anyone ever will again. Does anyone still do this fun tradition? What are some other traditions for Valentine's Day? Let me know.


Trevor said...

I never knew about the cootie insurance. That is a great story!

Jenny Moore said...

Cootie insurance is pure genius! I'm embarrassed that I still have the "Wonder Woman" valentine that Mark Jackman gave me in third grade. But I'm a romantic, right? We tie a piece of string to our kids' bedroom doors and trail it through the entire house like a giant web. We've started using different colored yarn to make it easier for them. So they follow the string and find a treat at the end that the "Love Bug" left. And then we have a lovely dinner with our kids with stem-ware and salad plates and candles, because it's a day about all the people you love, not just your spouse or boyfriend or whatever...Next year, I'm going to try to remember to come up and ring your doorbell and run!

CTW said...

Jenny, I love your family tradition. Your children will have such great memories of that.

And have you looked up Mark Jackman to see what he's up to these days?

Wynn said...

Your comments regarding valentines reminded me of the same experiences you had. We even did the valentine with thread attached and pulled it off the porch. We used to buy the large sheets of valentines and punch them out. I always made sure the cute girls got the best ones and also the heard candies with the love messages. And was one of the few boys who didn't have cooties.