From Pipi’s Pasture: Valentine’s Day at Morapos School

Diane Prather
Diane Prather

Here at Pipi’s Pasture it doesn’t look anything like the Valentine’s Day I remember when I was growing up on the ranch. There was a lot of snow on Feb. 14, and it was cold. But, I don’t think my siblings and I cared about the weather — if we didn’t have to worry about going to Craig to get our valentine supplies, that is — because we had plenty of holiday-related activities to keep us busy.

Many of my Valentine’s Day memories are associated with the Morapos School. The first week in February we started making decorations to hang around the classroom. Each day as soon as our class work was finished, we took out crayons, scissors, and glue and designed hearts of different sizes. I think we sometimes hung red and white crepe paper from the ceiling, too.

We cut out profiles of Lincoln and Washington and drew and colored pictures of our own with February themes, all of which were taped to windows and walls. We made other at projects, such as a potato-print valentine and a lollipop valentine doll with a tissue paper skirt.

When Valentine’s Day grew closer, we worked on Valentines for our parents, making our cards special by using paper doilies and crepe paper trims. I can remember making Valentines for the kids at school, too, trying to be secretive about it. We always bought Valentines for them so I think maybe each classmate got more than one card. Sometimes our teacher read stories to us out of the big “Instructor” magazine that she received each month. We worked on our cards as she read, keeping both our hands and minds busy.

Making the valentine box was a class project. The box was fairly large with a slot in the top and some way to get the cards out. We covered it with construction paper that we decorated with hearts and other trims.

On the day of the party, each student brought valentines for everyone, including the teacher, and put them in the valentine box. In the morning, we completed our class work. In the afternoon, our mothers came with decorated cupcakes or cookies (or both) and punch all served up with paper plates and napkins. There was candy, too. I have always remembered the gummy hearts (that were larger than the smaller gum drops) and the colored hearts with little sayings on them.

Someone was chosen to hand out the valentines. How exciting! We received valentines from our teacher, too, which usually included candies or a little gift, like decorated pencils.

When it was time to go home, we gathered up all of our valentine treasures, which usually included cookies and cupcakes that we were too excited to eat. When we got home we emptied our bags of treats, crumbs and all, and went through all of our valentines, over and over. We gave our parents the valentines that we had made for them and were so proud when Dad and Mom admired our work.

Then, years later, when I had children, I attended the parties at school and watched Jody and Jamie as they went through their bags of Valentine treats at home, crumbs and all, and loved the valentines they made for me (I still have them). It was so much like my childhood days at the Morapos School.

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