All the valentine-ing yesterday made me want to share this story, even though it's a day late:
When I used to go to co-op, we got a huge influx of generic valentines every year. Remember the store-bought valentines in packs of 100 that have like, little cheap candies and stickers attached to them? When we got home, we would sort them, find the (semi) cool ones, save them, and throw away the rest (and throw away the ones we saved a couple weeks later). They were never very important to us, except the ones from our friends and people we somewhat liked.
I remember one unfortunate new girl who brought valentines for everybody in the class labeled with the recipient's name. I have no idea how she got all the names(maybe from somebody's roster?), but we had to go through all 30+ of them and figure out who the heck was who, and then go around and help her deliver them. It was somewhat hilarious and awkward to go to somebody we didn't know, throw a valentine at them, yell "THAT"S FROM LILIAN" and run off.
Fast forward to now, when I don't (maybe rarely?) go to co-op and don't get any valentines from people anymore. XD I was digging through my stuff in my desk that I don't use and don't open, except when I clean it, and I found a generic cheap store bought valentine, a pink square of shiny paper with a heart and some drawing on it, with nothing in the "To" field. It used to have a pink lollipop attached to it. It looked just like every other generic valentine I had ever received. But it was different.
Last year, dance fell on Valentine's day. Since I didn't go to co-op then either, that was the only place I could conceivably get valentines. And sure enough, when I got there, people were running around passing out valentines like only sugar-hyped, carefree, elementary school kids can do.
Of course, there weren't any for me. I didn't have any friends at the studio then. I was still older and worse at dancing than everybody else in the class. I didn't want any, either. Who wants a cheap thing with cheap candy anyway? But it somehow still felt bad to be watching everybody else load up on sucrose and cellophane while I put on my shoes and hoped no one noticed me while feeling sorry for myself. What was I doing here anyway? I thought. I left the valentine scene years ago. I should just go back to my friendless valentineless existence now.
Then I heard someone say "Happy Valentine's Day!" and I saw a kid from the class that I didn't know that well, maybe 11 or 12 years old, holding it out. She was the only kid who brought one for everybody in the class, and the only one I received that Valentine's Day.
I didn't eat the lollipop, but I still save that valentine as a reminder that even store-bought generic paradigms of mass-production can still make a difference to somebody. This year I sent out a bunch of ecards, particularly to people I knew who were homeschooled like me and were likely to not get valentines this year.
In memory of that kid! :)