Thursday, February 11, 2010

Be Mine

February 1954. The yellowed mimeographed page reads:

Concerning activities in the First Grade

We will have a Valentine party on February 12. At this time we will exchange valentines. Each youngster can send as many valentines as he wishes to whomever he wishes.

Below is the list of youngsters in this class. However, if the youngsters wish to send to any youngster in another classroom, they may. We will see that they get them.

Mrs. Delaplane

Howard Best, Roger Best, Lee Brumbaugh, Mary Christman, Ronald Denlinger, Randy Flory, Vivian Force, Jane Gilbert, Stephen Gregg, Cheryl Heninger, Mike Kendall, Pamela Loxley, Bobby Marker, Rowena Miller, Brian Moore, Dickie Neff, Donna Puterbaugh, Dennis Sebring, Larry Spitler, Marilyn Unger, Terry Lee Unger, Bobby Wehrley, Roy Westfall, Donna Jean Yount, Miss Barnes (music teacher). Mrs. Violet Manney (Religious Education Teacher)

Wow! Memories come flooding in as I type the names. A few names I do not remember at all. Marilyn died last year. Vivian and I occasionally touch base. I saw Bobby and Vivian at the 20th reunion. None are on Facebook.

There are several things of note here. First of all and probably most important is a note I scribbled at age 6 next to Dickie Neff’s name: P.S. I love you. Another thing I noted was that class members were referred to as ‘he’. The 60’s would change that. We were not required to send to everyone in our class contrary to the rules in the elementary school today. Parties were called Valentine Parties instead of seasonal class party. Religious education was taught in the school.

In my old, tattered scrapbook, Valentines are glued to the pages. Names 56 years older are hidden beneath the cards. Verses are old fashioned:
A gal should share her umbrella with her ever-lovin’ fella. U 4 me. Me 4 U; Brushing teeth will make them shine. Gee won’t you be my valentine; I’m at sea because of thee.

Politically incorrect:

Red headed girl dressed as an Indian: Valentine’s Day is here and I won’t ‘squaw’k if you are near.

I vaguely remember the parties. We read and re-read the cards. I read Dickie’s over and over again looking for deeper meaning….he just signed it Dickie Neff.

This week I have been helping my granddaughters make Valentines for the family. Stickers, colored paper, heart patterns, colored pencils, heart-shaped buttons, markers, blank cards with envelopes. Each card was designed thoughtfully. Verses were nonsensical and goofy. Gabby wanted to make cards for the entire world. Sydney was content with her few. There were no ‘wrongs'.

It is a new day and age. Kids are taught to be thoughtful to other children. Card makers are responsible with their verses. The kids no longer make Valentine Boxes. Cards will be delivered child to child. Thank you’s will follow. Responsible teaching.

I love looking back at my old scrapbook. I journey into the events that made me the me I am today. I even still think I like Dickie Neff. I remember most of these people as ragtag kids from the farm….a difficult time on the farm.

This scrapbook is a history book of the 50’s, a history of a girl on Neff Road.

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