Growing up in Kansas in the 60’s, we made our own valentine cards in class using cheap construction paper and thick crayons or, on occasion, we bought very inexpensive ones at the five-and-dime store (today’s Dollar Store) to exchange with our classmates. We didn’t include candy or presents with cards except perhaps if we wanted to splurge on a box of those awful chalky valentine heart candies with sayings like “Hugs” “Awesome” and “Kisses”. Do you know how long these candies have been around? Since 1847 by Necco. Check out 10 other facts you probably don’t know about these candies:
Every kid in my class made a valentine’s box out of a used tissue box and we decorated it with paper clippings with our own budding, artistic touches. Too much glue was always an issue. Scissors that wouldn’t cut challenged us all but we did the work on our own. No help from home or from helicopter parents. This box had a slit in the top for our classmates to slide their valentine into when it was time for the BIG EXCHANGE. For some reason, paper doilies were an intricate aspect of my box designs. We would take the box home with us and carefully extract each valentine in private to see who had signed the back of each one. It was important to reflect on the tone of the valentine message and specific style my classmates’ selected for me. I was sure it was some sort of sign of the status of our relationship not some random assignment of cards. After watching my brother’s signing these cards for their classmates, I realized how random this process really is for our male counterparts. Most often their Mom’s had to do the heavy lifting. But I certainly didn’t want to get a cute kissing skunk cartoon from a boy I thought was cute or something too romantic from a kid I didn’t even play tether ball with at recess. The whole process was fraught with danger and excitement. I have heard now the traditions are changing, like making Valentine cards for nursing home residents as one example, probably for the best, but the memories of the Valentine card exchange remain vivid from my midwestern childhood.