It all started back in elementary school. Every February 14, kids in the class would give other kids little valentine cards and we’d all get some of those little candy hearts with words on them like “Love” or “Be mine.” This was great for the popular kids. They would get loads of little valentines from other kids. Even the semi-popular kids would make out okay.
I will still eat those little candy hearts. I don’t like cilantro, but I’ll eat candy hearts that taste like sweet, flavored cardboard. If you can figure out a reason for this, please let me know.
Have you ever seen one of those kids that other kids never wanted to talk to or be seen with? If you are my age and you lived in Yakima, Washington, that might have been me. Every class has at least one outcast, and I was it. I wasn’t picked on – at least not most of the time – but my company was avoided. I could have had the Black Plague and nobody would have caught it from me. It was that bad. In the Eighth Grade, most of the class was invited to a co-ed party that, per the pictures, was fun enough to elicit a minor expression of disapproval from the nun who taught us. Was I invited? Of course not! I didn’t expect to be invited. I didn’t like not being invited, but it didn’t surprise me.
Remember the Peanuts cartoons? Charlie Brown suffered every Valentine’s Day because nobody ever gave him a valentine, including that Little Red-Headed Girl he could never bring himself to approach. I was Charlie Brown, in female form.
Every February 14, all those little cards would be passed around in the classroom, in front of everyone. Every February 14, I sat at my desk in trepidation, wondering if I would end up with nothing, even though I gave out some cards myself. Every year, I was relieved when I got a few cards from the nice kids who gave them out to everyone. If I had received nothing, it would have been noticed. I am still grateful to the kids who included me, even though I can’t remember who they were.
As an adult, it never occurred to me to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and boyfriends were not eager to remind me of it. The best thing about Valentine’s Day for me has been the candy, especially if it goes on sale on February 15. After that, the Easter candy comes out, and that is even better, because it includes Brach’s Jelly Beans.
Do I miss Valentine’s Day? No. I also have a birthday in February, and that I DO celebrate!