I was only eight years old and had just started a new school. I was a shy little girl who was not quick to make new friends, so I didn’t raise my hand in class, sat by myself during lunch and stood on the sidelines while my classmates played.
My second day in class, my teacher clapped her hands and called us to attention to make an announcement. Valentine’s Day was just two days away and we were to decorate a shoe-box to hold the cards we would receive from our classmates. She went on to explain that she would supply the shoe-boxes, but we were to take them home and decorate them ourselves. She also announced that one of the boxes would be selected to be the Best Valentine’s Day Box. The winner would receive a large box of chocolates and their box would be put on display in the class for the rest of the day.
I carried my shoe-box home and then called my Nana. I knew we didn’t have anything to use to decorate my box at home; Nana was an avid sewer and craft-maker. I asked her to help me decorate my box and she said she’d be right over. She brought over a large bag of material, trimmings, buttons, bows and glue. We spent hours decorating my box, while we drank the chocolate milk and cookies that Nana had brought with her.
When we were finished decorating, Nana asked me if I had Valentine’s Day cards to give to my friends. I shook my head. I told her that I didn’t have any friends in school. Nana sighed and grabbed my hand. We went down to the Woolworth’s on the corner of my street and she bought me a box of Valentine’s to give to my classmates. She dropped me off at home with a kiss on the cheek and wished me good luck on the Best Box contest.
I spent the next two days listening to the teacher call on different students and I wrote their names down so that I could be sure to have a card for their box when the big day came. At night, I worked on signing the cards and kept checking the list I had made. I didn’t want to miss giving any of my classmates a card for their box.
Finally, the big day was here. My classmates were excited and spent time admiring each other’s Valentine’s Day box. The teacher then gave us a chance to take our valentines and put them in the boxes that now sat on each students desk. She told us that when we finished, we were to sit back down and she would announce the winner of the Best Box contest. I walked from desk to desk, being careful to put the right card in the right box.
I returned to my seat and couldn’t resist shaking my box to see how many Valentines I had received. It was empty. I placed the box under my seat and a small tear ran down my face. I folded my hands on my desk and waited for the day to be over. All I could think of was how I wanted to go home and be alone with my disappointment.
So, I wasn’t listening when the teacher called my name. She walked over to my desk, picked up my box from under my seat and told me to follow her to the front of the class. Then, she announced to the class that my box had won the contest. I looked up at her with amazement and when she handed me my prize, I could only stare at the huge box of chocolates and listen to the polite applause from my classmates.
Turning to my teacher, I asked if I could share some of the candy with my classmates. She smiled and said that would be fine. So, I walked from desk to desk once again and gave each student a chocolate. I was rewarded with a smile and a thank you from each one of them.
I couldn’t wait to get home and call my Nana, to invite her to share what was left of my box of chocolates and to say thank you for my beautiful box. I left school that day with my empty Valentine’s Day box. But I also walked home with a couple of new friends.
Authors note: I want to wish all of my WordPress friends a very Happy Valentine’s Day!