A Tender Valentine

Here comes Valentine’s Day, that day that strikes delicious, amorous terror into the hearts of so many.

When I was in sixth grade, I had a boyfriend–one of the nicest boys I’d ever met. I had no idea what having a boyfriend entailed. We took a lot of walks that fall with our friends. I think we went to a movie once, and his mother threw him a birthday party at his house. The experience was terrifying, and the food was oddly grown-up. Still, I liked him.

Valentine’s Day arrived. I think we still exchanged Valentines at school then, even in sixth grade. No big deal. Then my boyfriend showed up at my front door. His mother was outside, waiting in the car. We stood in the doorway. I was speechless because he was holding a large, heart-shaped box of candy, as well as a smaller box. He just kind of shoved it all at me, blushed and ran back to his mother’s car. I think I said “thank you,” but I can’t be sure.

Inside the tiny box was a necklace with a pendant in the shape of a dainty, heart-shaped padlock. The word LOVE was spelled out on the front, with a round crystal where the O was supposed to be.

When I think of all the pressures that preteen kids are under, I remember those tender sixth grade emotions. The abject confusion of it all. The sincere intentions. And I don’t worry so much about the world.

This week, I’m writing notes, sending Valentines. There are so many people in my life who give me hope, or have made my world a better place just by doing what they do every day.

If you’re thinking this sounds awfully sentimental, I guess it is.

But just to show you that I’m my same twisted self, if you comment with a brief story about one of your Valentines or even just comment by the end of Valentine’s Day, you might be the person who gets an inscribed copy of my novel CALLING MR. LONELY HEARTS. Because it’s the perfect Valentine. Sort of. ; )

(And even if you’re a regular commenter and have your own copy of CMLH, you know I love to hear from you, too. I have the loveliest readers. Definitely.)

**The vintage Valentine pic is from the wonderful site, Vintage Valentine Museum.com.

6 thoughts on “A Tender Valentine”

  1. Cindy says:

    When I was in middle school (6th to 8th grade), we had this lovely/horrible tradition that the stgudent council would sell carnations, boxes of conversation hearts and little pink valentines that they would then deliver in the midst of classes. I think some of my fondest memories are getting a random carnation (anonymous was always the worst though) and some of my most dreaded days were those Valentine’s Days when you wondered if someone cared enough to spend a dollar and send you a carnation.

    Now, I get books for Valentine’s Day as I do every holiday and flowers would only be eaten by the cat.

  2. carmar76 says:

    Our school did a similar thing with carnations, and it was always fun to exchange them. But my favorite Valentine’s Day gift wasn’t from a boyfriend or admirer (sp?). My dad gave me a little stuffed bear, in a trenchcoat & hat. The trench was velcro’d, and underneath the bear was holding a heart that said “Be Mine.” : ) Flashers are cute when they’re bears!

  3. Becca says:

    Haha, my Mum got a bear from my Dad for Valentines Day. It was memorable because it was a Vermont Teddy Bear and he had it sent to the house. The box gets hand delivered and it’s blue and yellow with holes at the top so the bear can “breathe”. When Mum was handed this box she had NO clue what it was and for a moment wondered if there was a live critter in there! The bear was the “love bandit”, and he was the bear equivalent to “the man in black” from “The Princess Bride”. He held felt roses and a red velvet bag of candies. Mum was enchanted.

    As for me, I think the MOST memorable valentines I’ve ever received would be the kitten Jason adopted for me. Jason is always trying to top his own gifts. The time before the kitten was a leather-bound collection of my favorite graphic novels, which meant last year had to be good. So on Valentines Day he takes me for a drive (we do this a lot) and “somehow” we find ourselves passing the animal shelter. He pulls over, gets out, and tells me to pick out any cat I want. To this day we call Nautilus the little kitten of love. He’s snuggly too so it fits. 🙂

  4. Hey beautiful,

    Happy Valentine’s Day! I already have a wonderful copy of Mr. Lonelyhearts, but I can say that I was totally Charlie Brown — the most unpopular girl ever. I went to school BEFORE everyone had to give everyone Valentine’s and I usually got one of the leftovers that said, To A Special Niece. Which in retrospect, defined my love life. 🙂

  5. Tia Nevitt says:

    There was this really cute guy at school named John, who sat at our lunch table every day. My best friend corralled him one day because she liked him, and to surprise of all of us, he started sitting with us. I thought he liked this other girl who sat with us, a pretty girl who was even quieter than me.

    Then, Valentines Day came. As usual, some student organization had sold candy grams. And I was in my science class when I got the candy gram from John.

    It was funny and cute — just like he was — but unmistakable.

    I was the one he liked.

    Nothing came of it. It got awkward and eventually he drifted away, undoubtedly taking the awkwardness for rejection. And I guess it was, because I wasn’t ready to have some guy come between me and my friends.

    I still have the candy gram. I kept all of them, going all the way back to the seventh grade.

    Please give the book to someone else–my copy is right there on the bookshelf behind me. Thanks for the memories!

  6. Oh, I love every one of these stories! Thank you, Cindy, Carrie,Becca,Sweet Michelle, and Tia.

    I think everyone who commented through yesterday has read CMLH! If by chance you haven’t, let me know by email and I’ll send you a copy–audio or hc. Hugs and hugs, Valentines!

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