Monday, February 14, 2022

Hearts and Flowers from the REDS

DEBORAH CROMBIE: My granddaughter Wren is in kindergarten (gosh, how time flies! I can hardly believe it…) so this is her first class Valentine's Day and she is prepared. Are these not the cutest things ever?

Looking at these took me back to making valentines in my grade school classes. Who else remembers cutting out hearts from red construction paper, then from white lace paper doilies and painstakingly gluing them together? And adding glitter! Then we were given paper muffin cups filled with conversation hearts. I don't think they actually taste like much of anything but they definitely say Valentine's Day to me!



I don't remember Valentine's Day being so commercialized back in that dim and distant past. These days it seems to be all about getting people to buy everything from diamonds to new cars, and making people who aren't part of a couple feel left out. But according to Catholic.org, St. Valentine is not only the patron saint of love and engaged and married couples, but also of beekeepers (I love that!), epilepsy, fainting, greetings, travelers, young people, and plague! I think that covers just about everything, especially in this year of Omicron.


I am hereby casting my vote for an inclusive Valentine's Day, a day to tell our friends how much we appreciate them. I used to have a big box of wonderful reproduction Victorian valentines and I would send them to my friends every year–maybe it's time to reinstate that tradition. 

What do you say, dear REDs? 


RHYS BOWEN:  Having attended a girl’s school there were no valentines. But I do remember my first, sent by my first real boyfriend. I was so excited! But I certainly participated in the creation of many paper and doily valentines for my kids. I’m amazed how commercial it has become. The houses around me are decorated with hearts or even red lights. And all the ads for jewelry! My own valentine story. When we bought our first condo in Arizona John bought me a dollar store bunch of roses plus a small balloon. He has brought it out every year since! Still going strong. Now if only he could get the day right!



HALLIE EPHRON: I remember sitting out in our backyard and cutting up doilies and colored paper and making valentines. LOTS of them. And I gave them to girls AND boys. I don’t remember *getting* valentines so much until I met my husband, and from Day One he gave me hand-drawn valentine every year. I, who never save anything, have all 52 of them. The first one is of us and our two cats, Soot and Eloise. We got married that June. 



DEBS: Aw, Hallie, Jerry's cartoons are such a treasure. We are all sending you big hugs.


JENN McKINLAY: Aw, I love that, Hallie. 

I’m not a big Valentine’s Day  person but I absolutely remember making Valentines in school with red and pink construction paper and doilies and glitter. I still love glitter!

And I remember exchanging cards with classmates - everyone gave them out to everyone in the class - very inclusive. 

Unsurprisingly, my favorite part of Valentine cards are the puns - Bee Mine with a big old honey bee holding a heart. LOL.  And, of course, any day that is an excuse to buy copious amounts of candy for yourself or others is a great day in my book. 


LUCY BURDETTE: Aww, Hallie, very hard to have a first Valentine’s day without your sweetheart. Luckily, we are all your valentines!


John proposed on Valentine’s day in 1992, and we were married in May. So now going on 30 years–who even imagined? I think I made cards way back in the day. But I most remember the little flat cards you bought in a big pack. My father sent them to us for years, signing them love,  4-1-4 (secret code for D-A-D.)


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I remember those big packs of valentines that you had to punch out the cardboard, and then put into envelopes that juuuuust barely fit. And there was a special one for the teacher. I always had fun punching them out, but after that, I was not that enthusiastic. I remember in college, the BIG deal was whether a boy sent you roses. A college experience I never had, I might add. 

Truth be told, the only thing I like about Valentine's Day is those little hearts with sayings. Otherwise, I think it’s kind of fraught and too competitive and too much pressure. And too easy a place to consider yourself a "failure" because something didn't happen on a certain day that "they" say should happen.

Also, as a reporter, I have done too many stories about the incredible price gouging for roses. Bad unhealthy roses.

(Am I too cynical?) 


DEBS: No, you're not, Hank. Valentine's flowers are pretty horrible, and this is the only week that I never buy flowers at Trader Joe's. They are double the price! And we would never go out to dinner on V-Day. I usually try to make something nice, but tonight we may end up with pizza.


Anything would be a vast improvement over Valentine's Day last year, the first day of the Texas Snowmaggedon. We still had power but it would go out in the early hours of the 15th and stay off for three days. Rick says now that those days we spent huddled by the fire together were kind of romantic. Maybe in retrospect!


JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Debs, in Maine we find huddling by the fire romantic out of necessity. Seriously, Ross used to think it was very sexy when I was swathed neck to ankle in flannel. He was a dashing Valentine’s gift-giver when we were dating. Best one ever: a GWU acapella group was doing singing valentines as a fund raiser, and I was surprised on campus by a trio serenading me with “My Girl” by The Temptations. I still swoon a little when I hear that song.


Once we were married, I was not that big a fan of the traditional gesture. The flowers are overpriced (and often die quickly,) it’s hard to get a decent reservation, and I know we can pick up that box of chocolates for 50% off on February 15, so let’s do that instead. It’s amazing what a mental turn-around you can have once his money becomes our money!


Still… that first February 14th without him was hard. Hallie, long-distance hugs, and here’s wishing you a lovely Zoom Valentines with the grandkids. 


DEBS: How about you, dear readers? Any special Valentine's Day plans?

Wishing you a happy one from the REDS!

P.S. I have to wonder who Wren gave the valentine with the scorpion to....

104 comments:

  1. I remember cutting out hearts . . . the doilies, the glitter [I was always all about the glitter] . . . and I remember the punch-out cards. I remember making the big box for the valentine cards, maybe in second grade . . . it was always a big deal; we all gave cards to everyone. [Wren’s cards are adorable!]

    Our anniversary is just before Valentine’s Day, so we’ve just done the out to dinner thing and, until this year, the flower thing. But flowers are soooo expensive, and don’t last, and I’d rather wait a bit and get them growing in the flower garden, so we’ve agreed on just cards. I’ll make something special for dinner, and we’ll just settle in for the evening.

    However you celebrate, enjoy being with family and have a Happy Valentine’s Day . . . .

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    1. JOAN,

      wonderful memories! I remember decorating Valentine's cards and homemade cards in my class when I was a kid.

      Diana

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    2. Thank you, dear Joan! And to you! xx

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  2. As the years have passed our Valentine's Days have gotten more and more casual. And I am fine with it! I make Frank a valentine every year that is usually funny and frequently refers to something that is going on in our lives. This year the theme is our house being tented for termites the day after Valentine's. If he does get me flowers he knows to skip the roses-they make me sneeze. We haven't gone out to a fancy place for a Valentine's dinner in years. We'll probably be emptying out the fridge in preparation for the termite guys. Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

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    1. I love that you make Frank's valentine, Pat. I wish I was that creative. Good luck with the termites!

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  3. Oh my! Wren in kindergarten! Wasn't she just born yesterday? And, Hallie, I think those hand-drawn Valentines from Jerry are the best Valentines I've ever seen. I am so serious when I say that I'd love for you to make a book of them. I would buy it for sure. I just love them.

    I am a big fan of Valentine's Day, not getting flowers or candy myself, but I love the hearts and pinks and reds in decorating. I have a few things I put out for Valentine's decorations, and I enjoy them so much. One of my favorite decorations is a sailor's valentine I bought at the Surratt House Museum in Clinton, Maryland. The house belonged to Mary Surratt, the infamous woman who was hanged as a co-conspirator in Abraham Lincoln's assassination. Anyway, when we visited the house/museum it was in February and they were having an exhibit of old valentines, including some sailor valentines. They also had newer sailor valentines for sale, and I bought one. I'll provide a link for what they are, but a quick description is they are arrangements of different kinds and colors of small sea shells made into valentine shapes and put in a wooden and glass case. The myth was that the sailors made them, but there has been evidence otherwise, that native island women made them at ports of call. They were taken back to their sweethearts at home. https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/sailors-valentines

    We don't go out to eat on Valentine's, as I don't want to fight the crowds. We will pick another night to go out. My husband did bring in some flowers for me this afternoon. I know that he got them when he stopped into Kroger's for a few items, but I'm going with it's the thought that counts and enjoying them. I wouldn't have wanted expensive roses anyway. These are lovely, and since I kill flowers and plants, a very wise choice.

    Oh, I do remember making the valentines in grade school and also exchanging those tear apart ones. And, my older granddaughter's birthday is on Valentine's, so that's become another reason to like it. And, since my birthday is ten days after it, and I had two siblings with birthdays in February, this month has always been a special one for me.

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    1. Kathy, my mom's birthday was the 11th, and Wren's is the 3rd, so February is special for me, too.

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  4. I'm sure made valentines like you are describing in my past, but I have stronger memories of the big packs of valentine cards and trying to make sure I picked the right card for all the students in the class. Because we gave them to everyone. And then sitting in class opening them and eating those hearts with sayings while we did it.

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    1. We also gave those store-bought cards to everyone and there was so much stress in assigning each one to a classmate (definitely not “bee mine” to any of the boys).

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    2. I remember those packs of cards, too!

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  5. Hallie, your Valentines are works of art. The story of 52 years of collected treasures reminds me of my grandparents, who were married for awhile longer than that. After my grandfather's death, his daughters found every Valentine he and Grandma had exchanged over their life together. They were so charming and antique-y, going back to the 1920s! Each grandchild and great-grand received a pair, and a Shutterfly book was made, capturing them and the very sweet messages Grandpa used to write to his sweetheart, along with Grandma's more measured responses, so very typical of their relationship.

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    1. Beth, this is sheer delight, and what a lovely gift to their descendants. The cards themselves, but also the legacy of love and romance.

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    2. Aw, Beth, that is just lovely. What a treasure for you and your family.

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  6. Happy Valentine's Day to the Reds and readers!

    HALLIE: Jerry's hand-drawn Valentines are treasures. HUGS
    DEBS: Have a warm Valentine's Day in Texas this year!

    We did give our Valentines to everyone in class but I don't remember doing this every year.
    I guess it depended on whether my grade school teacher believe in celebrating that ritual.

    Me, I am all for the CHOCOLATE!
    Although I still have a large box containing dozens of artisan (dark) chocolate bars from last year that I have not eaten, so I really don't need to get anymore.

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    1. GRACE,

      Though I love Chocolate, I am very picky about which chocolate I eat. Some are more sweet than others and I have a sweet tooth. I remember as a kid that Valentine's Day was inclusive and everyone got Valentine's Day cards.

      Diana

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    2. Grace, it will be 73F today! Before the next cold front, lol. But I could even cook something on the grill if I was motivated.

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    3. DEBS: Geez, outdoor grilling temperatures are a distant memory in Ottawa.
      It was -10F (-23C) with a windchill of -29F at 8 am.
      It is supposed to "warm" up to +7F (14C) this afternoon.

      Enjoy the warmth!

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    4. DIANA: I am also picky about chocolate. Most commercial milk chocolate bars are too sweet for me to eat. I mostly eat artisan (dark) chocolate.

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  7. I have many of the same memories of Valentines for classmates and special people.

    Sending hugs to Hallie and to Julia for being without your sweethearts today.

    I was with two long-time friends last night for Galentine's Day. We ate yummy food, watched Modern Love episodes, drank wine, caught up, and finished with chocolate-dipped strawberries. These friends are both single and it was a treat.

    Hugh and I had our first date on Valentine's Day eighteen years ago. We're not married, so this IS our anniversary! Our favorite restaurants are closed on Mondays, so we'll either get something simpler as takeout or splurge on the most expensive seafood and make our own bouillabaisse. (And that's a very tricky word to spell...)

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    1. EDITH: Happy anniversary to you and Hugh! I am sure you will come up with a yummy meal option tonight. I am thinking of making raclette.

      GALENTINE'S DAY sounds like a great way to celebrate with single friends.

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    2. Happy anniversary to you and Hugh, Edith!

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    3. EDITH,

      Happy anniversary to you and Hugh! I love Galentine's Day because that includes people who are currently single like me.

      Diana

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    4. Happy anniversary, Edith!! And I love Galentine's get-togethers. Maybe by next year we'll be back to doing fun things like that here.

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    5. Chiming in with wishes for a happy anniversary, Edith!

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  8. Hugs Hallie! What a lovely cartoon.

    I remember cutting out Valentines in school. We made them for our parents. I also remember those flat packets of cards. I gave one to every student in the class. Covering the bases. Some of them were on the snarky side as I recall.

    We're not big on Valentine's day, but a few years ago my husband decided to make me a chocolate fudge layer cake. It was wonderful. He made it from scratch AND he cleaned up after himself. Quite the surprise.

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  9. I have no special plans for today. I'm single and it doesn't appear that will change any time soon. Even with an expressed interest of mine in the age-appropriate waitress at my favorite restaurant.

    But this past Thursday when I went to Trivia Night, every female waitress and bartender working got a small little heart box filled with a few pieces of chocolate. Just a little token of appreciation for them. And they all seemed to welcome the small token. My co-worker will get one today.

    And the age-appropriate waitress and the ethereally beautiful one both got larger hearts because I'm a shameless fool.

    Beyond that, it is a day where I've already shoveled snow, wrecked my back and have to go to work soon.

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    1. You have a big heart, Jay! Sorry about your back. The snow is really light up here - and still falling.

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    2. I don't know if the heart is big but I do know it is never a bad idea to stay on the good side of the people who give you food and drinks. :D

      As for the age-appropriate waitress, that's not going to happen as I was told that this morning. LOL, such perfect timing HA!

      The snow was fluffy here as well but enough of it fell that shoveling it still screws up my crappy back which hadn't fully come back after I shoveled the big snowstorm.

      My night activities will consist of picking up some groceries and getting well acquainted with the heating pad and watching something on Disney+.

      Oh and I did those same kind of Valentine's activities as a kid that most everyone else here seems to have done.

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    3. Jay, you are so thoughtful. And I'm sure they all appreciate you.

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  10. Happy Valentine's Day! When we lived in NE Ohio, the day was the bright spot in a long, snowy winter--homemade valentines (one year with baseball cards glued to the doily and red paper heart) and a heart-shaped layer cake. I still have the cake pans. Other than exchanging valentines, it's an ordinary day for us. We had a hilarious family Facetime call yesterday.

    And which hapless classmate gets the scorpion card? Will it be considered a status symbol or cause a riot?

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    1. They are out of town at the moment, so I'm waiting with bated breath to find out!!

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  11. We just celebrated our 41st. anniversary on February 1 so Valentine's Day is an "also ran" kinda day around here. Most years, the anniversary roses were still on the coffee table and we are not fans of dining out on crowded holidays.

    Happy Valentine's Day to you all.

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  12. Valentine's Day ads are there to make people who are alone feel inadequate. All commercialism. I like the 15th better-- half-price chocolate!

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    1. Half priced chocolate and flowers going back to normal price next week! Happy Valentine's Day from us, Ellen!

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  13. I've never been cynical about Valentine's Day because it marked the beginning of an enduring love affair in my family. My parents eloped on Valentine's Day in 1942 - 80 years ago today! My father was in the Army, preparing to ship off to the war. He was 23, my mother was 21. They were married for 50 years until his (too early) death in 1992. February 14 always was a special day in our house because it was a double holiday, Valentine's Day and their anniversary. Happy Valentine's Day to all of you Reds and back blog readers!

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    1. Sweet story, Brenda. Valentine's Day is a wonderful day for a wedding anniversary, or a first date anniversary.

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    2. What a wonderful story, Brenda. Happy Valentine's Day!

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  14. I remember my first grade teacher turning the making the Valentine into a lesson on left and right. She showed if you cut your heart on the open side of the paper you get tears.
    The she made a ): face. Same lesson Remember the blunt ended scissors? And the I dare you to taste it glue made from flour? How about your seat mate struggling with right handed scissors, the lefty who didn't have a left handed desk? Back then I would mope for days if I did not get a special card or any card from the secret crush.
    Valentines Day? I think I will go buy some honey and call it a win.
    Sending a virtual bee to all of you. Rejoice strawberry season is here.

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    1. Before I forget Debs, Wren has exceptionally fine printing for a 5 year old.

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    2. Coralee, I'm quite dyslexic and I always messed up the hearts! At least I didn't have to struggle with the wrong-handed scissors. That would have been my lefty husband.

      And I think I spy Wren's mom's hand on those cards:-)

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    3. If you cut the heart on the open side..what?

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  15. Hallie, those Valentine's are precious.

    I remember school valentines. And I also remember not getting very many of them until the teachers started saying "everybody has to get one."

    The Hubby and I used to dinner, the new car show, and a box of truffles from a local chocolatier. Now it's just the chocolates. I'm okay with that.

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    1. You know Liz, back in school, Valentine's Day could be a Charlie Brown kinda, anxiety filled kinda, disappointing kinda day, too.

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    2. I should have nudged my hubby for a little box of chocolates from our fabulous Dallas chocolatier, Kate Weiser. They are amazing!

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    3. Judy, exactly!

      Debs, the day isn't over yet. :)

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  16. Hallie, you only save the most significant items. Big hugs to you today.

    Debs, those are the cutest cards! And that scorpion. Oh, dear. LOL

    Julia, Steve always liked flannel gowns, too. Sheesh.

    In grade school we always were made to give each other Valentines, one for every kid. And we made and decorated boxes to keep them in. I hated it, because kids can be really mean to each other, and some were. 'Nuff said.

    Steve is not romantic or sentimental, and our anniversary is two weeks later, with no price gouging, so we mostly ignore February 14th. However, long before I met him, a boyfriend gave me a small heart-shaped box of chocolates on Valentine's. I opened the box to find a heart-shaped cutout in the paper over the candy, with the words "will you marry me?" written next to the hole. In it was a beautiful diamond ring (the only one I've ever had, by the way) propped up on a twist of tissue. I said "yes", of course! But we didn't end up together. I still have the ring. And maybe the heart-shaped paper.

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    1. Sometimes the romantic guys are not the best choices! Happy Valentine's to you and Steve, Karen!

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    2. Karen, when you live in a cold climate, being warm is definitely more conducive to romance!

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  17. My childhood Valentine memories are much like everyone else's. And Bob and I decided long ago to forego Valentine's Day, Sweetest Day, and anything else we defined as a "Hallmark Holiday." We will celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary this fall. We live a great life, eat out often, show affection throughout the year, do little things for each other regularly "just because." That's all the romance I need! (And yes, Julia, there certainly is an element of "not worth spending OUR money on it" in that choice.)

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    1. That's pretty much our philosophy, too, Susan, and we're creeping up on thirty years, so I guess it works:-)

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  18. Happy Valentine's Day to all! Any day devoted to love is okay with me--I don't buy into the commercial aspect of it at all. I'm going to make a valentine for my boys--something fun--haven't done it since they were littles. Grade school was always decorating a box and giving all your classmates a card. Mothers would provide treats for a class party.

    Hallie, Jerry's cards are wonderful, but this first one--oh my!! I don't think I could've waited until June to marry him! :-) XXOO to all!

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    1. Hallie, Jerry's cards are the best! I love it when you share them with us!

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    2. Your boys will love the valentines, Flora!

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  19. Happy Valentine's Day to all!

    DEBS, these Valentine's Day cards are adorable. It seems only yesterday that Wren was a baby. I remember exchanging Valentine's Day cards with my classmates. Everyone got cards. It was all inclusive. Even the mean kids gave Valentine's Day cards to all of us. Perhaps that had more to do with the fact that day was also Open House Day when visitors would visit our school and everyone knew they had to put on a good act. LOL

    Diana

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  20. RHYS,

    Love your Valentine stories. I love that John got you something for Valentine's Day even if it was not always on the day. Everyday is Valentine's Day when you are married to the love of your life, right? I remember meeting your family at your book events before the pandemic and how kind John is.

    Diana

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  21. HALLIE,

    Sending big hugs to you! Jerry's cartoons are wonderful! I am grateful that you married a good guy! I remember making Valentine's cards in school when I was a kid. Thank you for sharing Jerry's cartoon with us.

    Diana

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  22. I do remember giving everyone in the class a valentine. We had all brought in a shoebox and covered and decorated it and then went around the room delivering the cards. I'm thinking now they don't even have envelopes in the cheap pack of cards.

    For years my best Valentine memory was in 10th grade when I got home from school. There was a florist box for me! Not roses but carnations, either white tipped with red, or red tipped with white, maybe some of each. Not sure if there was a card, but there must have been, from my boyfriend at the time. Almost 60 years later though I'm not sure they were really from him. He hadn't really acted happy when I thanked him for them. It wasn't the sort of thing he would do, or could do, really. It was more like something my previous boyfriend, then in college would do. So I still think and wonder, but those flowers were the best, no matter who sent them.

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  23. JENN,

    Surprised that you are not a big Valentine's person unless I misunderstood? I loved your ROYAL VALENTINE novella. Generally, I am not a big romance nor a Rom Com reader and I Loved all of your Rom Com novels, especially WAIT FOR IT.

    Diana

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  24. LUCY,

    Secret code for D-A-D sounds brilliant! I love that. Were the Valentine's cards vintage cards or modern cards?

    Diana

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  25. HANK,

    Even if I was not a big fan of the Valentine's heart candies with the little sayings if you are talking about the flavors, I still loved the little sayings. I remember Chocolate hearts with marshmallows inside from the Co-op when I was a kid. This morning I had vegan chocolate candy with raspberry filling. Yum!

    Diana

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    1. What was your favorite saying? I wonder who made them all up.....xxx

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    2. That was donkey years ago! As I recall, it was the funny puns like "Bee mine"

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  26. JULIA,

    Sending big hugs long distance. Love that you got a singing Valentine's from capella singers.

    Diana

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    1. Thank you, Diana! It was a memorable moment, that's for sure.

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  27. Big Plans for Valentine's Day? I like the idea of Galentine's Day since I am currently single. I sent Valentine's cards to my loved ones and I usually wear something with a heart like heart earrings or a sweater with hearts. The pandemic has shifted many things, including Valentine's for me. I may post something on Instagram today.

    Diana

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  28. Hallie, Jerry's valentines are a real treasure. So glad you kept them down through the years.

    On my first Valentine's Day after Warren died, I called up a writer friend who was also single. She was divorced, I was widowed, and neither of us had a new sweetheart for the big day, so we agreed to meet up at the very least romantic restaurant we could think of for dinner. It became our tradition. Over the years we moved from a near-campus burger joint to a venerable BBQ establishment (complete with taxidermied polar bear) to the original location of Fuzzy's Tacos and other equally unromantic spots. Many great conversations about love and its follies, literature, life, and all the big questions. Lots of laughter. No regrets about being alone on Valentine's Day.

    Since I got the job with the Dallas Winds and moved to another part of North Texas, I'm often in rehearsal on Valentine's Day, as I will be tonight. One year the concert was on V-Day proper, and two of my protégées brought me some grocery store roses backstage. I was so thrilled! When my boss spotted them he said, "Oh! are those for (the blonde soprano soloist)?" I literally snarled at him, "Those are mine. Touch them and lose your arm." He backed off. Sometimes the flowers are important--particularly when you haven't had them in a while and aren't expecting them at all. It's good to know you're loved.

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    1. I'm glad I kept them, too.
      What a great tradition!

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    2. Gigi, snorting here. I can just hear you telling Kim off. Happy Valentine's to you, my dear!

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  29. On the candy front yesterday I made chocolate turtles which (shhh) I'm giving to my neighbors who have been so wonderful this snowy winter. AND did anyone else love red hots? That's my favorite Valentine candy. They had taste.

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    1. Yes, I liked red hots, but still prefer chocolate. My dad would buy a box for my mother, and we'd all dig in. I had forgotten about that. WOW. Good memory. Dad would help me find the pieces that were all chocolate or had nuts in them. Oh yeah, good memory.

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    2. I don't remember my parents celebrating Valentine's Day at all, even though they were very devoted. My mom was not much of a sweets person so that might have had something to do with it.

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    3. My mother used to make some sort of cookie that had a red hot kind of melted into it? It was amazing. I have no idea what the recipe was.

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    4. Hallie, one year for V'Day when we were building our log home I made cupcakes for all our small crew of mostly friends and decorated them with Red Hots. They were gobbled up and the guys were appreciative!

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    5. Red hots in salted popcorn. TASTE SENSATION!

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  30. I remember making large paper envelopes, that were hung off our desks in elementary school and purchasing this multi-packs of little cards to drop in everyone else's envelopes.

    My February altar guild duty always happens around Valentine's Day. Flower prices go up, most definitely doubled this year, even at the grocery store. There are more red roses than the rest of the year. actually there are more roses than anything else this year so I may have ended up arranging roses but not red. Red is just too cliche. If you check out my Facebook page you can see this year's offering.

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    1. Deana, our flower guild decided to invest in high-quality faux flowers (some sort of fabric?) a few years back, because the arrangements were costing the cathedral so much. They have flowers on the old high altar in the back and in front of the new, forward altar. Now, the arrangements are a mix of fake and real, and I swear, you can't tell what is what.

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  31. As a single person, I love the Mexican approach to Valentine's Day: Día del Amor y la Amistad... both love and friendship. Sending some to the Reds and readers.

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    1. I love that, Gillian! We've managed to introduce friendsgiving - for young people to celebrate before heading off to their families for Turkey Day - so why not a Palentine's celebration, for all the singles who feel left out on the day devoted to love?

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    2. I love this, Gillian! It's definitely a tradition we should adopt!

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    3. Palentine's! That works for gals, too.

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  32. Like Hallie, the LOML, who came along after i got divorced, was an artist. I got hand drawn sketches of naked women ( models from the drawing group he held at the studio every week) holding hearts! Plus presents like a red, heart-shaped dutch oven, or a red leather-covered journal. He loved romance and he loved Valentine’s Day!

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    1. Oh, Susan, that is so sweet. Sending you hugs today.

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    2. That's hilarious, Susan - he sounds lovely.
      His naked ladies are reminding me that my husband used to take newsprint photos of women and erase their clothing. It was pretty funny and surprisingly... life-like.

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  33. No Valentines in school when I grew up. School was school, Valentines was for grownups, usually giving candy. These days? No sweets due to diabetes. Sigh.

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  34. Hallie, I was thinking of you most of yesterday and didn’t know why. Super Bowl didn’t seem to be evocative. But now I know why Today is another first for you. Those damn firsts are so damn hard.

    Much love and good memories

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  35. These comments remind me of one more thing I miss about not being in the office--Valentine's Day! We used to have occasional charity fundraisers (with proceeds matched by the company). Valentine's was one of them--those little childhood cards were for sale (50 cents each) along with carnations (going for $1.50). You'd pick out your cards, address them to your colleagues and stick them in a box. The organizers would then sort them out the evening before Valentine's Day and drop them off on the appropriate desk. Generally, there was a bake sale as well. Ah well, pandemic working from home has ended most of that stuff. I think the Valentine's charity was traditionally a local food pantry for pets.
    Happy Valentine's, all!
    --Melanie

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    1. Oh, that's fun! But it will be back...xoxoo Sending you a virtual carnation!

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  36. We've cut way back on V'Day through the years. Since I like to draw, I used to make cards for dh, some friends and family every year, then came the internet and we would email each other and family special ones, including music! I usually make a nice special dinner, and hubby always brings me champagne and we dance around the house enjoying a cozy, romantic evening together, esp. after he cleans the kitchen! Happy Valentine's Day to everyone!

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