My first memories of St. Valentine's Day must have been from second grade (I had the same teacher for second through fourth grades, so I can't be sure). I remember making great big Valentine "mailboxes" by folding large pink, white, or red pieces of paper--the kind used for backing on bulletin boards--and cutting them into a heart shape, with the fold at the bottom end, making it not-quite a true heart shape. The side edges were stapled together, and the top front folded down. Our names would be written on them, and we would decorate them with "lace" (pleated streamers glued around the edges), heart-shaped doilies and glitter. These mailboxes would be hung on the wall outside our classrooms so that we could easily place our Valentine messages in our friend's container.
Our classroom was decorated with pink, white, and red streamers, as well as little Valentine men hanging from the lights. Each man's face was a heart, and his arms and legs were created so: two pieces of construction paper, about one-inch wide by 12 inches long were placed at right angles to each other at one end and glued together. Then the bottom piece of paper would be folded over the top; next the other piece would be folded over that, and so on and so forth until it created a spring-loaded limb. The ends were glued together. One end of the limb was glued to the man's face and the other had a small heart glued to it, to be either a hand or a foot. Four of these limbs were made, as arms and legs, and they were hung by colored yarn.
After all the excitement of handing out Valentines, we'd take our own mailboxes down and open up the cards we'd received, while we ate our goodies. I'm sure we had Kool-aid and cupcakes and cookies as refreshments. I know we had word game worksheets such as crossword puzzles and word searches that day...although I'm sure little work got done! I enjoyed getting suckers and chocolate, but never have liked those heart-shaped message candies...they taste like flavored chalk!
What are the memories you have of St. Valentine's Day? Have you written them down for your descendants? I have more prompts for you at my other blog, AnceStories2: Stories of Me for My Descendants.