Being in First Grade, I thought Valentine's Day at a girl's school was kind of silly but figured we would pass out friendship cards and maybe get some candy.
First thing in the morning, Mrs. Kirk, our kind teacher, passed out plain brown paper bags. We were instructed to put our first names on the front and decorate the bags appropriately for the holiday. Then, alphabetically, we filed up to the wall and taped them underneath the chalkboard. open the bags up, and throughout the day, place the Valentine cards we had previously made for our friends.
All day long, when leaving the room for morning milk and cookie break, lunch, recess, and P.E. class at the Gym, in alphabetical order, we passed by , in alphabetical order of course, all those Valentine's Day bags. Some girls would lean over and try to peak into their bag, but would slow up the line and have to resort to keep on going. The pink and red anticipation grew. How many Valentine cards would we each get from our class of 20 girls? Would we be happy with only a few. Who would get the most valentine cards? Who would get the least. Who really cared so long as we were happy.
At three o'clock, our school day was finally over and as we leave for the day, we were instructed to pluck our full bags from the wall underneath the chalkboard. As a "B", my bag was on the top row. As I plucked it off of the wall, my hand hit the metal chalk tray and some chalk dust fell through the air and onto the floor like cement dust. I automatically stopped yelped "Ouch"and grabbed my hand, so the teacher said I could go to my desk for a minute and rest.
As I sat at my desk in the now quiet room, and glanced up to see that Mrs. Kirk's slip was showing and her butt was wiggling as she was reaching up to heartily erase and clean the black chalkboard. My left hand suddenly stopped smarting, as my right hand had pulled out the 4 Valentine cards I had received. They said the following: "You are stupid", "You are dumb", "You are nice", "You are ugly".
I remember telling Mrs. Kirk my hand was fine and saying goodbye. I remember silently and numbly walking the 6 blocks home as if on automatic pilot. I remember my Mother's words: "How could a bunch of First Graders be so mean." I do not remember crying and crying, but I do remember I did not want to go to school the next day. I returned to school the next day anyway.
A better Valentines Day to all y'all readers !!