Tag Archives: How to Love Better

Getting to Gnome You: Valentine’s Day Stories

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Remember these guys? My neighbor won them at my Book Club’s Annual DeGift & Re-Gift Party. Well, as it turns out, Lori wasn’t wild about the gnome salt & pepper shakers. And guess what? She gave them to me! And just in time for Valentine’s Day! Read on  to see what you can do to win them!

Valentine’s Day in kindergarten was simple. My teacher wore a red sweater with pink hearts on it. We ate cupcakes. And then we napped.

In 3rd grade, Valentine’s Day became a bigger production. Valentines needed to be made for every person in both sections of the grade. Forty construction paper hearts, people!

My mother brought out a the colored construction paper, handed me a pair of scissors, and I got busy cutting out small, medium and large-sized hearts for my friends.

The people I liked the best got the biggest hearts.

And since I was not stupid, I made my teachers big hearts, too.

{I needed all the brownie points I could get.}

In 1976, I was crushing hard on two boys. I took tons to time make sure both boys received double-matted cards – pink construction hearts glued on top of red construction hearts – and I carefully wrote the same note to both boys. And signed my name.

{In pen.}

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Image courtesy of Antonio Rodrigues, Jr. Click to see his beautiful booklet!

I didn’t think much about signing my cards.

It was Valentine’s Day.

If ever there was a day to use the word “LOVE,” that was the day, right?

Um, wrong!

Once the cards were delivered, it was discovered I loved not just one but two boys.

That day I learned about monogamy. There were rules, and I had broken them. It didn’t matter how much Herbal Essence Shampoo I used, girls were not supposed to love two boys at once. It didn’t matter if Savallas called Mary and me on Saturday mornings to talk about Soul Train. It wasn’t okay for a girl to like two boys.

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Photo courtesy of Antonio Rodrigues Jr. Click on the image to see more of his work.

In high school, the pressure around Valentine’s Day increased.

Students bought flowers for friends {and the people with whom they hoped to become more than friends} for the bargain-basement price of $1 per stem.

While I  always received a few flowers from my closest friends, the popular girls made a big show about carrying their dozens of carnations around, toting them from class to class like it was a chore. It was hard not to feel inadequate sitting next to Miss Universe over there, holding two-dozen pink and red carnations on her lap as she copied her vocabulary words off the blackboard.

And some people didn’t get any flowers at all. That had to sting.

When we were in the “I-so-want-to-impress-this-woman” phase of our relationship, Hubby made an amazing dinner at his friend Brian’s house. (Okay, maybe Brian made the dinner, but I’m sure Hubby helped). It was a long, late leisurely meal. I tried escargot for the first time. And ate filet mignon alongside a green salad. We all drank wine.

Later, I smashed an irreplaceable wine glass (hand blown in Germany and borrowed from Brian’s mother) on Brian’s floor.

Anyway, Hubby wasn’t mad at me.

{Brian’s mother probably was, but Hubby made me feel okay about being human.}

Years later, when I became a high school teacher and saw girls parading around with their carnations, I decided celebrating Valentine’s Day in school teaches students the wrong message about love.

The implication is that love is something you can buy.

That the person with the tallest pile of cards or the most flowers is the winner.

Hubby helped me unlearn that lesson.

And for that I am grateful.

Tell me about a best (or worst) Valentine’s Day memory. It can be fact or fiction or hybrid.

*If you are interested in winning those gnomes, include the word #GNOME at the end of your post! And tweet me for an extra chance to win!*

Winners will be announced on Friday 2/15, after I do all the figuring. I imagine Random Number Generator will help.

tweet me @rasjacobson
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