A flashback of elementary Valentine’s Day

January 18, 2023 — by Kathy Wang
Photo by Kathy Wang
A typical store-bought Valentine’s card.
Sophomore recalls decorating paper bags and gossiping with friends as an elementary school student.

Hey! It’s almost Valentine’s Day. Are you planning on doing absolutely nothing? Well, in case you’re looking for something to do on this rather dull day, let me help you unlock a core childhood memory: It’s the evening before Valentine’s Day in fourth grade, and your 9-year-old self is carefully cutting out puppy-themed Valentine’s cards, bought from your mom’s previous trip to CVS. You frantically scribble your name after the “from:” and your classmate’s name after the “to:” on the cards decorated with phrases like “I woof you” or “Woof you be my Valentine?” One of the highlights being saving your favorite puppy-themed card with the not-so-secret, secret message, “I totally dig you!” along with your neatest handwriting for your crush… 

Finally, it’s the day of love: Valentine’s Day. Pink and red paper garlands hang across the classroom ceiling and glittery sequins litter the dusty tiled floor. The classroom is filled with chatter as students decorate empty paper bags, soon to be filled with each other’s valentines.

You argue with your friend over the glitter glue, both eager to have the cutest looking bag. 

At last, your teacher says what you’ve been waiting to hear all day: “Time to pass out Valentine’s cards!” Filled with excitement, students crowd around the desks, dropping their Valentine’s cards into each other’s accessorized bags. 

Every so often, you check your bag, silently counting the amount of candy compared to the pile of cards, stickers and pencils. The best part is snacking on candy hearts while picking out cards one by one with friends, analyzing the nonexistent “secret message” you may have gotten from your crush.

After five years of not experiencing this heartwarming feeling, the sight of tacky Valentines and taste of bland candy hearts always flood me with the nostalgia of an elementary school Valentine’s Day. 

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