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I realize that this is a little late, but I recently enjoyed my favorite special day - Valentine’s Day, and since I think I qualify as an incurable romantic, a day devoted to hearts and flowers and love would logically, be important to me. Add a heart shaped box of candy and a gushy card, and I’m as happy as a football fan with a box seat at the Super Bowl.
When I was a kid in elementary school, I looked forward to fixing up a shoe box to hold the penny valentines we all gave each other, and getting the candy hearts with messages like, “Be mine” distributed by the teacher. Not to forget the cupcakes with pink icing provided by someone’s mother.
My own mother always had a special after school tea with a heart shaped cake and funny valentines for everyone. After school tea was a daily ritual, as it was with me and my children, and special days always called for special fixings.
As an adult, I seemed to be involved with wonderful people who always appreciated my special feelings on Valentine’s Day and I still have a collection of cards, both greeting and gift, kept until recently in an old candy box. It finally fell apart, but I bought myself a heart shaped box to replace it.
I have three wedding anniversaries - one, the first, on my birthday, the second on April 22nd, and the third, a repeat of the second (a renewal, so to speak), on Valentine’s Day. This, my favorite, took place in northern Maine with our son and daughter-in-law as attendants, and was much better than the first time we had a wedding. That one took place in the mayor’s office in Las Vegas with two older women secretaries as witnesses.
I remember a Valentine’s Day during World War II. I was a teenager, with a boy friend serving in the Army. Somehow, he managed to send me a dozen yellow roses. I was thrilled, until my older sister and her boyfriend came home from a dinner date. He was a French doctor, also serving in the American Army, terribly elegant, handsome, and very sophisticated. He checked out the bouquet and commented that the roses should have been red because one only sent yellow roses to one’s aunt. I was crushed. Now that I think of it, it was probably the boy’s mother who acted on his behalf and had the flowers delivered.
I, in turn had my picture taken to send my soldier boy as a Valentine. The photographer was highly recommended and expensive. He had a thick Russian accent and his own studio. He took several pictures, including one where he told me to think about my young man. When this was finished he came over and eyed my face critically. He then shouted, “Aha, I knew it. You’re part American Indian, aren’t you?” When I said yes and told him about my grandmother, he advised me to look around the studio at the portrait he had hanging high on the wall.
I found myself looking at beautiful pictures of obviously Native Americans. This, he told me, was his hobby and every summer he traveled looking for subjects. To my amazement, he said that if I allowed him to hang me on his wall, my picture session would be absolutely free. With a sigh of relief, I agreed, thinking that the money I saved could be added to my secret stash of cash for my also secretly planned journey to California.
I took all the proofs to the office, asking friends for help picking the shot to send. Not one of them picked the romantic picture I favored. Naturally, that was the one I sent. It was the most flattering and even though everyone said it didn’t really look like me, it was the way I wished I looked. Evidently, my Valentine thought I had improved a lot during his absence because he claimed he loved it and me.
This year I had a wonderful Valentine surprise. My kids gave me a new, and needed piece of furniture, a beautiful book on ancient Rome, a Valentine card I can happily add to my collection, and a DVD player, with 2 dance DVD’s. One is the early dancing of my beloved Baryshnikov. That night on the classic movie station, they showed The Sea Hawk, with my idol, Errol Flynn. All that, with the memories of my special wedding anniversary, made me a happy Valentine. A little teary eyed at times, but happy.
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