Tuesday, February 14, 2023

A Heart-Shaped Box of Memories

When I was a child, a heart-shaped box of candy marked our place at the breakfast table each Valentine's Day, courtesy of my mom. 

Russell Stover Valentine's Assorted Chocolates Photo Heart product image 1 of 4 slides

So, when I was looking for Valentine's gifts for Kinley and Brooke, I couldn't resist adding a miniature heart-shaped box of chocolates to their bag - even though I knew it wouldn't be their favorite treat. And I told them that Grandma Moore always made the day special with that little box of chocolates. (They got some other things in their Valentine's sacks from me besides a history lesson.)

Eric's mom, Christy, says their family also had that tradition, though her dad was the Valentine candy buyer. The children got the miniature boxes and her mom got a larger assorted heart box. 

Those little boxes held more than confections. The outside of each candy didn't usually reveal the flavor contents of each confection. There's a lesson there, too - how we shouldn't judge what's on the inside just by looking at outside appearances.

When we were in Topeka earlier this month, I went along for the ride as Brooke chose the Valentines she would give her classmates. She chose purple Skittles, which didn't even exist back in my grade-school days. 

Some of the Valentine's from Jill & Brent's era

Back in the 1960s, our Valentines were usually of the paper variety. Once in awhile, a classmate would include a heart-shaped hard sucker, but that was a rarity, not the norm. 

(I'm second from the left, and it appears I'm wearing the red tights!. From left: Jeff Berry, Kim Moore, Carol Beberstine, Lorraine Frisbie, Eugene Stotts)

One thing that hasn't changed is the universal teachers' edict that everyone in the class receive a Valentine. Maybe your friend and you had a spat the day before and you were not feeling too loving. Or maybe you'd prefer not to give that annoying boy a "sweet" message. Even if "that boy" teased me unmercifully about my weight or my hair or my green tights, I was supposed to put a Valentine in his box. (I must admit that I would find the least sappy Valentine from the box I'd carefully selected from the dimestore at Pratt. I would adhere to the rules, but I didn't have to give him the best Valentine.)

But equal opportunity Valentine distribution was a requirement - then and now.

A few years ago on Valentine's Day, I recalled The New York Times bestselling book from 20-some years ago, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.  

I didn't learn a thing in kindergarten because Byers Grade School didn't have kindergarten. But that's not the point. In the book, author Robert Fulghum explains how the world would be a better place if adults adhered to the same basic rules as kindergarten-aged children, like sharing and being kind to one another. What a concept, right?!

As Robert Fulghum would say:

  • Share everything.
  • Play fair.
  • Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
  • Be aware of wonder.
  • Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
  • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

Wouldn't the world be a better place if we would remember those principles? 

Happy Valentine's Day, all! 

For the record, today's Valentine's Day includes driving Randy to Hutchinson to get a root canal this morning. Then, we're off to Great Bend to see the accountant. Doesn't all that say romance?



  1. It does say romance in a way. You are doing something for a loved one.

  2. Our Kim sent a photo of Ben writing 17 Valentine Cards for his kindy classmates and including a loolipop. I now understand this is a North American tradition.
    It's a low key day here but the florists do well. Frank called out from his chair, "happy Valentines Day", when I got in from my early morning walk and I made him some heary shaped cookies.

    1. As I mentioned, I took Randy to the dentist in Hutchinson (a bigger town). While I was waiting on him, I went to a large grocery store there for a few things I can't get in Stafford. While in the store, there was pretty much non-stop notifications on the store's intercom, saying "There's a call for the floral department, Line 1," "... Line 2," and so on and so on! I was amused at how many people were calling last minute! I wouldn't have wanted to be the operator answering the phone or the floral department employees, responding to all the last-minute requests!