I remember a simpler time when Valentines were constructed with love and a lot of glue on Mama’s kitchen table. Though not as brightly colored nor Halmark perfect in picture or verse, none the less, each was cherished. Red construction paper hearts and silhouette creations, embellished with paint or crayons glued to Mama’s fancy paper doilies, were tucked into envelopes made of typing paper from Daddy’s desk. Simple messages conveyed sentiments of the day, and were sweetened with glued on candy hearts. I Love You, Be Mine, Just For You, Be My Valentine, Love and Kisses, XOXO -heartfelt wishes, if only for the day. Carefully folded perfume scented tissue paper carnations, with lipstick dabbed tip, secured with pipe cleaner stems were lovingly presented to mothers, grandmothers, aunts, teachers and that very special someone. There was even one for dad, complete with a safety pin to secure it to his lapel. At the end of the school day, book bags and lunch boxes were filled with warm wishes and a few sweet treats, for on this day no one went home feeling forgotten or unloved.
Today, creating that special Valentine means a trip to the store instead of Mama’s table and Daddy’s desk. There, red and white hearts and flowers replaced red and green Christmas decorations before we welcomed the new year. Rows of personalized Valentine cards for every “special someone”, including four legged friends magically replaced Christmas cards. There are even make your own Valentine kits with stick on pictures and letters. Shelves filled with heart shaped boxes of chocolates and confectionaries, candy hearts, and stuffed animals cry out to be bought. Bedazzled tee shirts express sentiments reminiscent of yesteryear candy hearts. Not to worry, theycan still be found amid the candy mix. Heart shaped ballons, pink and red cupcakes and cookies, chocolate dipped strawberries, roses, and carnations in pink, red,and white- both real and artificial have replaced those made of tissue paper. Rest assured, there is something for your special someone, no matter how little or how much you have to spend. But the true meaning of Valentine’s day remains . It is about cost, but about the true sentiment of friendship love, and caring that brings a smile and warms the heart, if only for a day.