CharlieMC (charliemc) wrote,

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Happy Valentine's Day!

Yes. I know why Valentine's Day was created. Don't bother telling me! But I like it, anyway, thank you very much! (smile)

Okay, then! So if you're not into the holiday, please don't bother reading...

Yes. I know why so many people are negative about Valentine's Day. They find it depressing, because they aren't in a 'romantic relationship.' They find it depressing, because they recently broke up with a lover. They find it depressing, because it focuses on only one day of the year as an expression of romantic love.

Before I get into all of that, let me reminisce for a moment...

Marilyn mistressmarilyn and I were recently talking about all the reasons why Valentine's Day was always a favorite day when we were in grade school. Each child had a list of every other child in their class that they took home. You bought boxes of Valentines and spent time in advance making one for each of your fellow students. Nobody was excluded, though you might give your favorite Valentines to your best friends -- or the person you had a crush on. (smile)

Edit: I just spoke on the phone with sister Sue, who admitted that Valentine's Day was equally exciting for her when she was in school. Interesting, isn't it? And we spoke about her granddaughter Nicole, who will soon be eight. She was quite excited to head to school this morning with her Valentines all made out -- and candy to include with them. (grin)

The Valentine Party was always so much fun! Your teacher would have had each of you create some sort of 'mailbox' in which to receive your Valentines, and these ranged from decorated brown paper sacks to two ornate red construction paper hearts, glued or stapled together to make a container.

Remember lace paper Doilies? Some were round and others heart-shaped. You'd use these to make your own, hand-crafted Valentines, carefully cut from construction paper of pink or red. (My mother used to keep these until the paper lace had become quite ragged and sad, though no less loved...)

I remember fancy cupcakes and a room decked out with crepe paper and silouttes of cupids. None of the kids were depressed about love. They were excited to see what Valentines were hidden in their mailboxes! They were happy to be eating cupcakes in their classroom. They had hand-made Valentines to take home to and share with family members they loved.

This year I made some refrigerator magnets to share with family, friends and neighbors. I used craft foam and stiff felt and good old Elmer's glue -- along with red glitter, glitter pens and pieces of costume jewelry that have been in the family forever.

The jewelry is great fun! Some of these belonged to my Grandma Elsie, Aunt Dorothy or my Mom. One heart-shaped locket is engraved on the back: Dot From Irene - 12-25-52. Rather than glue it on the magnet, I attached it with glittery red pipe cleaner, so it could dangle. (That way you can flip it over and read the engraving.) My great aunt Irene gave it to my dear Aunt Dorothy for Christmas the year I was born. Until now it's been squirreled away in a box of mementos, but now we'll bring it out every Valentine's Day to stick up on our refridgerator. Beside it will be the magnet with a rectangular-shaped locket containing tiny photos of my sister Sue as a child, my Grandpa Harry and my mother as a young mother. (It belonged to my Grandma Elsie and reads 'This is Your Life' on the front.)

I decided to wear the gold locket with the heart-shaped ruby for the auction on Saturday, so it's now relegated to my jewelry box, rather than a magnet for Valentine's Day. (And later a box for holiday decorations that I'll store under the staircase and bring out each year.) I'm hopeful I'll wear it now and then. Otherwise I might end up sorry it isn't being brought out annually with the other decorations! (grin)

So, what's my personal bottom line concerning Valentine's Day?

I decided to make some crafts and decorate again this year. I don't think I've decorated for Valentine's Day since we moved out from Mom and Dad's house, to tell the truth. But our mother loved holidays and loved decorating for them. And Valentine's Day was a special favorite for her.

My sister Sue was bemused by this sudden interest after years of basically ignoring the day, or barely recognizing it. She said something to the effect that she didn't have a 'sweetheart,' so she couldn't see why Valentine's Day should interest her.

My response was that I see Valentine's Day as a good time to recognize love in many forms -- not just romantic love. I love a lot of people -- and I don't mind having one day of the year when I can decorate my home and hand out my Valentine gifts in recognition of the love I feel every day.

It doesn't mean I don't love all year long. Hardly! For me, I don't think a day passes that I don't think of how much I love the people in my life. I'm grateful to be loved and to love many people. But how can recognizing Valentine's Day be wrong? It certainly doesn't hurt anyone.

Am I depressed because I don't have an actual 'sweetheart' this year? No, I'm not. Yes, it's wonderful when you have romantic love in your life. But love of any kind is important and meaningful, as far as I'm concerned.

My mother didn't recognize Valentine's Day because of my dad. (Or not just because of dad, anyway!) For her it was a celebration of her love for others -- especially her family and friends. Mom always made a special dinner, plus heart-shaped Jello and a heart-shaped cake. There were decorations all over the house. Cupids and hearts strung across the mantle and mounted on the mirrors. She gave Valentines to everyone she loved. Yes, that certainly included Dad, but it didn't stop with him. By the way, when we divided up the contents of the family home, I sent Mom's Valentine decos home with Sue, thinking I'd never bother to use them. Silly me! (smile)

Is it 'frivolous' for people to give one another expensive Valentine gifts?

I suppose it can be. But like any gifts, it's what's behind those gifts that counts. If the person giving them does so with genuine love, then how can the gift be bad? If the person receiving the gift accepts it with more love, then the circle is perfect.

Certainly I'm willing to listen to whatever anyone else has to say -- good or bad -- about this holiday. But it's doubtful my mind will change. I guess it took me some years to recognize the full potential for expressing love, but now that I do I hope I'll pull out my silly hearts and roses and other decorations every year -- just like Mom always did! I can't help thinking how happy it would make my mom that we're carrying on the tradition this year...

Well, I thought I'd share some photos of the various decorations in our home, anyway. (You can click on the smaller image to see the full-sized one...)

Figurine small
This figurine sits on top of our TV cabinet/entertainment center.

kitchen heart small
Made with a heart of starched lace, this hangs over the kitchen table.

back door small
Our back door in the living room is made of glass, looking out on the back yard. We have window clings there, on the windows, on the glass of mirror and the entertainment center.

flag small
We have a Valentine's Day flag hanging on the front of our house, along with lighted hearts in the window and a small wind sock.

lockets small
These are two magnets of the many, many magnets I made this year. As I described, these each have a locket on them.

memento paperweight
This is a memento paperweight I created, using jewelry that belonged to my mother and a base of quartz.

mirror small
Here's the mirror in our living room, covered with window clings.

gifts small
These Valentine gifts are for our neighbors and close friends who live next door. I also made magnets to give to several friends, neighbors and family members.

candles, paperweight, glass rose small
The candles are new this year, but the paperweight is one we gave to Mom many years before she died. The glass rose is one I gave to Marilyn.

fridge small
We decorate for almost every holiday with refrigerator magnets, a long-time family tradition. We have 'every day' magnets that are up much of the year -- then special ones for various holidays. These are all new this year.

Marilyn calls participating in arts and crafts being 'crafty' -- so it's become a joke in the family and among friends. In that vein, I guess you could say that I used to be quite crafty growing up. I probably got some of that from Mom, who loved to create things for the home and to give as gifts. It was great fun to actually put my hand to creating various decorations that we'll now be able to use in future years!

Finally, let me wish everyone a very Happy Valentine's Day. Even if you find the day a foolish one, I hope you'll accept my greeting in the spirit of friendship and love.

Tags: 2006, february-2006

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