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Rose Masciello's Autobiography - Chapter Twenty Seven

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                                    Saint Valentine’s Day

It was 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.

At the barbershop my father’s business improved and my mother still enjoyed her part time job at the factory.

We 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.

My 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.”

Those 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.

In the 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
Martin’s blond hair and blue eyes—and he is so funny.”

As for 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.

Well, 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?”

Sally and I answered “Yes, why?”

Tootsie said, “I have some too and I have a great idea.”

Sally asked, “What are the pennies for, and what do they have to do with the boys?’

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 their desks.”

Sally 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
secret.”

We 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.

There 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 pockets.

It was the morning of St. Valentine’s Day. The twins,

my 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.

We 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.

At 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.

The 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 Sally
and Tootsie who were following our three “dream boys.”We watched them closely, waiting to see their surprised look
when they 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. Three
frustrated girls watched their “Romeos” disappear into the horizon. Our plan had fizzled out. Sally said, “I wonder if
we’ll 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.

One 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.”

One 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.

There 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.

One girl answered, “Why would I do such a silly thing?”

The 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. Valentine’s Day.”

Miss Anderson asked the class, “Would anyone of you like to take credit for your generous deed?”

No one 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.

The 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