From Pipi’s Pasture: Valentine’s Day as a kid
Happy Valentine’s Day! Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays, and this February, especially, I’m remembering the days when I was a kid growing up on the ranch.
I think it’s probably this winter’s weather that is sparking the memories. The recent cloudy—even foggy– days, the cold, all of the snow, and the icicles hanging off the house and other buildings; it all reminds me of those February days on Morapos Creek. We had lots of snow; in fact we probably had feet of snow so we spent lots of time indoors. Even at school, we spent most recess time in the classroom, playing games on the blackboard. Some mornings Dad took us to school on the feed sled so that we didn’t have to walk in all of the snow.
After a long January my sisters and I welcomed Valentine’s Day. We looked forward to the Valentine’s Day party that our parents hosted for neighbors and relatives where we enjoyed lots of good food, fancy desserts, and even favors that were handmade by our mother. Besides that, we were excited about the Valentine’s Day party at school. We decorated the classroom with hearts and crepe paper streamers, exchanged Valentines, and enjoyed the candies, cupcakes, and other treats that our mothers brought to school. It was an exciting time, indeed.
So when we went shopping in Craig each of us girls chose a box of assorted Valentines to sign for classmates and friends. However, that wasn’t enough. We also fashioned handmade Valentines from construction paper and red and white paper doilies. We made the cards, as secretly as possible, when we had free time at school and later at home. We stuffed the school Valentine box with Valentines, each classmate getting more than one, and we made Valentines for our parents and one another.
I remember a year that Mom helped us make special Valentines. We cut a slit in the center of each construction paper heart through which we inserted a red sucker. We were so proud of those Valentines.
Mostly I remember shopping in Craig before Valentine’s Day. When we were growing up, there were two or three drug stores and two variety stores in downtown Craig so there were plenty of Valentine displays that we could savor. I especially remember the drug store displays of fancy heart-shaped candy boxes, decorated with artificial flowers and red bows, but that wasn’t all. There was a variety of “good-smelling” perfumes and soaps, too, and candles. What a “luscious” place to be.
Each Valentine’s Day Dad bought Mom a great big heart-shaped box of assorted chocolates. Every night we got to choose one chocolate. It took some time to make a decision, trying to guess what kind of filling was in each piece of candy.
It’s been a lot of years, but I can still feel the excitement of Valentine’s Day.