Saint Valentine’s Day
towards the end of the 1930’s that the United States finally began to
shake off the Depression and recovered
their American attitude of
faith in their country.
barbershop my father’s business improved and my mother still enjoyed her
part time job at the factory.
children were carefree. Our only concerns were merely to get promoted at
school, to celebrate birthdays and holidays
and to stay glued to our
radios when our favorite programs were about to begin.
brother and I faithfully listened to a story that featured a masked
hero, a famous horse with great speed, a cloud of
dust and a hearty
“Hi ho Silver, the Lone Ranger Rides again.”
childhood years rolled by and soon Sally, Tootsie and I were going
through our awkward pre-teen years. By the
time we were eleven years
old we found ourselves giggling, for no apparent reason, whenever a cute
teenaged boy passed by.
seventh grade, at the age of twelve, Sally had a “crush” on Allen
Silverman. After all these years I can almost
hear her say in her
high pitched voice “Allen is the handsomest boy in our class, with his
dark hair and eyes, and he is
so quiet and polite.”
Tootsie insisted that Martin Spiegel was the cutest boy in the class,
and every day we’d hear her say, “Oh, I just love
hair and blue eyes—and he is so funny.”
me, I had found my first love. He was a skinny, fragile looking boy,
with a mop of red curly hair, and pale blue
eyes that shone out of a
very serious face covered with freckles. His name was Fred Heese.
here we were with our first “crushes,” our hearts beating faster at the
mention of their names. Now
our big question
was “What do we do about our great infatuations for
these boys who were barely aware that we existed?”
We plotted and
planned and laughed until we cried as we tried
to think of a subtle scheme that would at least make our three
“Romeos” curious as to the identity of the three “Juliets” in their very
own class who were craving for their attention.
Tootsie, drawing her sister and me into a huddle, asked, “Do you girls
have any pennies?”
and I answered “Yes, why?”
Tootsie said, “I have some too and I have a great idea.”
asked, “What are the pennies for, and what do they have to do with the
Tootsie answered, “Well this is my plan. With our pennies we’ll buy some
chocolate kisses, and on St. Valentine’s Day
which is coming up next
week, and before the boys come into class we’ll put a bunch of kisses on
and I shook our heads and said, “No, that’s too risky. One of the other
kids might notice it and there goes our big
agreed that we’d have to find a safer way to vent our passion for the
three unsuspecting young boys.
We didn’t want
to reveal ourselves too quickly, if at all.
Part of the fun and excitement was to keep the boys guessing.
Suddenly, and simultaneously an idea popped into our heads. Harmoniously
we shouted “The Clothes Closet.” We
excitedly planned our strategy
and giggled through every step as we perfected our plan.
was a sliding door clothes closet across the back of our classroom. We’d
take special notice of our favorite boys’
winter jackets and at our
first opportunity we’d slip a handful of chocolate kisses into their
It was the morning of St. Valentine’s Day. The twins,
brother and I trudged through a thick layer of new-fallen snow on our
way to school. Tony, totally unaware of
“the plot” thanked me for
the handful of kisses I handed him as he walked into his own classroom.
three girls entered our classroom, well armed with chocolate kisses,
beating hearts and prepared to commit our
first romantic prank. We
hung up our coats in the closet. The boys had not arrived yet so we kept
our candy kisses in
our school bags until later.
recess time the three boys wearing their jackets marched out to the
playground. When the class started their march
back into the
classroom the twins and I dawdled and lagged behind the rest of the
class. Our “heroes” were at their
seats while we quickly placed our
tokens of love into the pockets of their jackets. We nonchalantly went
back to our seats
and did not dare to glance at each other for fear
that one of us might burst out laughing or in some way raise suspicion
that we secretly were up to no good. I know that the twins and I did
not concentrate on anything that Miss Anderson
was trying to teach
us during the rest of that afternoon.
school bell rang. It was three o’clock and time for dismissal. The
students picked up their coats and jackets as
we nervously watched
Allen, Martin and Fred put on their jackets, walk out of the classroom
and out of the building. I
quickly picked up my little brother who
was waiting for me outside of his classroom, and ran to catch up with
and Tootsie who were following our three “dream boys.”We
watched them closely, waiting to see their surprised look
discovered the candy kisses. All we saw was Allen who pulled a pair of
gloves out of one pocket of his
jacket, Martin pulled a woolen cap
out of his pocket and Fred pulled a woolen scarf out of his coat sleeve.
frustrated girls watched their “Romeos” disappear into the
horizon. Our plan had fizzled out. Sally said, “I wonder if
ever find out about those candy kisses. Maybe the boys will talk about
it tomorrow.”Tootsie and I just
mumbled our words of disappointment.
“What a Valentine’s Day—We should have known better!”The next morning
as the twins and I approached the school building we heard a group
of boys talking in the schoolyard.
boy asked “Did you find any candy kisses in your coat pocket?”
Another boy answered, “No, I didn’t. I think that Allen, Martin and Fred
were the only ones that did.”
girl with a smirk on her face said, “I wonder who the silly lovesick
girls are—or is it one girl with a crush on
three boys?” The
situation had turned into a farce.
was a lot of laughing and whispering as the students filed into the
classroom and took their seats. Martin asked
the girls seated around
him to admit it if they had put the kisses in his pocket.
girl answered, “Why would I do such a silly thing?”
twins and I started to feel foolish, nervous and very fidgety. Miss
Anderson came to the rescue. She said, “Class,
please be quiet. I’d
like to know what is going on here this morning. Is there a problem? If
anyone knows please stand
up and tell the class.”
“Allen, Martin and Fred stood up and explained that when they arrived
home the day before, they found candy kisses
in their pockets. With
proud grins on their faces they said, “We enjoyed the candy but would
like to thank those
responsible for the nice treat on St.
Anderson asked the class, “Would anyone of you like to take credit for
your generous deed?”
stood up. Sally, Tootsie and I were frozen to our seats. Miss Anderson
must have noticed that there were only
three “Juliets” in the class
that were not laughing.
following morning when we entered our classroom there were chocolate
kisses on every single desk. Miss Anderson,
with a twinkle in her
eye, said “Well I see that Saint Valentine paid our class another visit
during the night.”
A few days later she took Sally, Tootsie and me aside. She put her arms
around us and said, “Many years from now Allen,
Martin and Fred will
still smile and wonder who put those candy kisses in their pockets on
St. Valentine’s Day. I’ll
never tell them, it’s our secret.” Now she
was more than our teacher.
She was our friend