Valentine’s Day As A Child

Scan of a Valentine greeting card dated 1909.

1909 Valentine's Card

 

Valentine’s Day was nothing spectacular when I was a child growing up in Pasadena, Newfoundland. In fact I remember getting a large book of valentines that had to be cut out first and then I had to write the names of my childhood friends on the back. Finally the cards had to be delivered to houses. You’d knock on the door, flick the valentine in the porch, and then run as fast as you could.

There were not always packs of cards and so we had to try to make our own valentines.I have no recollection of creating boxes or decorating anything to put the valentines in, as children do today. I don’t think there was much emphasis at all on  Valentine’s Day when I was in high school.

One small detail that I do remember was writing From Your Secret Admirer on the back of one or two valentines over the years. It kept you guessing if you got a valentine like that. I liked the homemade valentines which showed someone wrote a verse to impress you, but that didn’t happen very much.  More often, I saw the words Guess Who on the back and it served to make you wondering why someone didn’t acknowledge that he sent you or delivered to you a heart shaped card.

Anthropomorphic Valentine, circa 1950–1960

Having been a teacher for many years, I know there are  children who don’t get valentines from all their classmates. It depends on the purchased package. Classes may be smaller now, and children are not forced to leave anyone out of the fun. There are many things I remember about my first two years of teaching, but I don’t remember Valentine’s Day being a big deal in Takla or Kitwancool, British Columbia.

It was like a flash in the pan back then. I smiled or had a laugh at the verses on the cards and I might have wondered who wrote the words on the back but I didn’t treasure the valentines as none have survived and I seldom throw anything out!

Call me a cynic, but today it seems the shopkeepers bring out the Valentine’s items right after Christmas. There are way too many items to buy for loved ones. Instead of asking oneself “What would my loved one like as a special treat?” we rush out buying boxes of chocolates, some heart shaped, dozens of roses, lingerie and other recommended goodies.   I like the Valentine’s Days of our childhood where you gave someone a handmade card and treated it like just any other day.

Handwritten poem, "To Susanna" dated...

Handwritten Verse For Someone Special

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About Newfoundland Traveller

I'm a Newfoundlander with a love of reading, writing and travelling. I've travelled around our province and lived in four provinces of Canada. I love a good book and a good blog. My family means the world to me, and some day I hope to travel to many countries of the world with my husband and sons' families.
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6 Responses to Valentine’s Day As A Child

  1. I agree with you. It’s a pity that we need to have a special day to remember special people. Much better to remember throughout the year. And a home made card sounds so much more intimate, doesn’t it?

  2. I agree. Write your own love letter and make a special dinner to go along with it. One rose in a vase is beautiful on its own. So many ways not to buy into the entrapments of being a consumer. I’m all for doing special treats for each other, but they don’t have to cost an arm and a leg!

  3. Dor says:

    Your memories are mine and thanks for bringing back even more. And thanks for including my blog in your list of articles. I would do the same for you if I knew how to “pingback.” Sometimes I feel woefully ignorant at this blogging thing.

  4. Pingback: I Wished For Love | this man's journey

  5. Darlene says:

    I grew up in rural Alberta and celebrated Valentine’s Day as we didn’t have much else to do those cold Februarys. The teacher always decorated a box with a slot in the middle and we all put our cards in it. My Mom always made sure I had one for everyone in class so no one would be left out. In High School we had a Valentine’s Dance. I remember when I was sixteen, I sewed my own outfit as we didn’t have any money for a storebought dress. I danced all night because everyone thought my outfit was the prettiest! You are right, you don’t need to spend a lot to make it special.

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