Friday, February 10, 2012

COLLECTION #162: Valentines and Vintage School Books

I remember so well the excitement and anticipation of Valentine's Day when I was a little girl in grade school. The fun of making or buying cards, picking which ones would go to which person, finding a 'special' one for that little boy I had a crush on, and best of all... receiving a bunch of cute Valentine cards from all of my friends. The process went something like this: bring the signed & sealed Valentines to school on Valentine's Day. Place them all into the special, previously decorated Valentine box or bag. Wait an eternity until time for the Valentine party. Someone who was previously designated as the postman, hands out all the cards, walking around the room, up and down the aisles, torturing us with his or her slowness and capricious way of distribution. Then, when they are all passed out, the opening begins. Some of the cards are handmade, obviously a lot of time and thought went into these cards. (Some children made them themselves due to financial considerations, but in my book, the handmade ones were awesome!) Some cards just had a name scrawled in childish letters on the back. Others might include a little note: "to my best friend", or "I like you". Some weren't signed at all, but had a cryptic message: "guess who?" or "an admirer". In my school it was encouraged for the children to give a card to each student, so that no one would be left out. So, it was rare for a child to go home with fewer than 20-25 cards on Valentine's afternoon. Usually, after the cards were given out, there would be a Valentine's party, complete with pink, heart shaped cookies and punch or milk.

I would gaze at my cards for hours, looking at the cute images of cowgirls, birds, kitties, and the like. One memorable card was from my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Owen, who gave me a Mickey Mouse card. What I loved wasn't the card, but her beautiful handwriting. The way she wrote my name made me feel so special.

Even at that early age, I preferred the cards printed on heavy, matte stock, to the cheaper, shinier cards.

 Since Valentine's Day was celebrated so colorfully at school, I thought it would be fun to feature some of my school books that contain Valentine stories, songs, and activities. I even have one school primer, by Lyons and Carnahan, called Valentine Day. It was published in 1934. I adore the sweet illustrations.

I think one of the reasons I collect vintage Valentines today, is because of those happy school memories. I don't collect sophisticated, grown up romantic cards- only the cute cards designed for school children. They are the happiest cards of all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your collection. The old cards and books were so much prettier then the ones today. You sound a lot like me