When I was a little kid. A kid in Grade School. I remember each Valentines Day we´d have a Valentines Day Party in our classroom. I think the Mom´s brought in refreshments and the last couple of hours in the afternoon on Valentines Day were devoted to frolicing about, playing lovey-dovey games and opening the individual Valentine mail boxes we had wrapped and decorated for OURSELVES! Yes, there they were all those former shoe boxes now all decorated with cupids, hearts and various throbs of electriclike love designs! Surely you remember them, that is, if you were a kid when kid´s were still celebrating holidays like Valentines day in Grade School?
Anyway, those little ¨mailboxes¨ , one each for each pupil in the class, actually received the paper valentines from fellow classmembers. Some of the Valentines came in sets of Valentines and they all looked alike and all I had to do was sign my name, after Happy Valentines Day, seal the envelope and then address it, one for each classmate, and then deposit them in the lavishly gushy shoe boxes with the mail slot on top...of course, for SPECIAL friends, there were always larger, individual Valentines that would upstage the everyday/ordinary ones that everyone else would receive.
Oh, how I worried day after day (Valentines were deposited in secret during recess/etc) that on the final day during the party when I opened my VALENTINE BOX, mine would be empty...yes, it´s true...fret, fret, fret, I was aware that I was ¨different¨ from the others at a very early age and I knew I couldn´t give BIG valentines to those secret recipients that I longed to give them to...and, of course nobody would know that I wanted a BIG VALENTINE from one, or two, of them too!
Well, it wasn´t as bad as all of that but I did worry about being ¨different¨ and being alone with my heartshaped unexplained longings. ALAS! When the boxes were delivered, each one, one by one, to our desks during the Red Glazed Heart Shaped Sugar Cookie Party, my BOX was always full. Filled with all the cards personally addressed to me from my fellow happy Valentines Day well-wishers...boys, girls and teachers too...it wasn´t a cause for worry as it turned out because year after year many of you, boys, girls (and later older versions too) remained/became my Valentines.
You know who you are and since I´m now into my sixtyth (something) Valentines Day celebration I wish to tell you that I LOVE and APPRECIATE every one of you...you have been my Valentines, year after year and my Valentine box runneth over with love from many of you...let me count the ways that I love you tooeth...millions of ways I love you and I am thankful for each one of you...thanks be to God for all of you...I need not have worried, you´ve always been there for me when my heart opened (fear and despair falls away from me).
You are a big deal.
Love to you,
Lenny, Len, Leonard, Leonardo, Leo (all of us)
Valentines Day 2012
*Alex J. Hart , the final family owner of Hart's Department Stores , died peacefully on Aug. 8 in Saratoga, one month and a day shy of...
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