As the groundhog disappoints millions, I am already thinking about Valentine's Day. For me it isn't a little hairy ground dweller that gets me in the mood for spring it's the joy of candy hearts, love letters and secret admirers. I have always loved Valentine's Day.
My first memory of Valentine's Day was at St. Whack 'Em On The Knuckles, Kindergarten 1977. The older students made "candy grams" to sell to the rest of the students throughout the week, who in turn would give them as secret admirer gifts. Each special treat had a heart-shaped message with a little bag of candies attached and for the low, low price of 25 cents, anyone could buy one.
I went three days without milk at lunchtime so I could buy a candy gram for a very special someone. I had my eye on John Anthony since the first day of school. He was so adorable. He had curly brown hair, blue eyes and freckles that matched mine. He was much shorter than me and a little on the chunky side, but to me, that only made him look much more like a baby doll.
I'll never forget how nervous I was while buying that candy gram. I can only imagine it might be similar to purchasing condoms for the first time. Hands shaking, looking around to see if anyone is watching, quickly shoving the goods under my shirt and walking away quickly as if nothing just happened. But something had just happened. My heart was all fluttery and my hands were sweating and I had a smile on my face that wouldn't go away.
I wondered how I was going to get this to John Anthony without him seeing me and then brilliance kicked in, "The coat room! I can stick it in his coat pocket while I am putting something in my coat pocket and no one will notice because our sleeves touch!"
The plan worked. The candy gram was tucked away safely in his coat pocket and I got out of there undetected. I wondered what he might think when he reached his hand into his pocket. I wondered if he would know who it was from. I wondered if I was going to get a candy gram too. I really wanted to get one but not just from anyone.
I kept my eye on that boy for the rest of the day.
Stay tuned for the rest of the story, Thursday night.