By Judith H. Golde
Do you remember Valentine’s Day mailboxes? I do. I remember when we first learned about valentine boxes. Our first-grade teacher at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School in Kenmore asked if someone would like to volunteer to make a special box to be used as a mailbox for our class valentines.
I immediately volunteered because I remembered my sister, Joni, telling my brother and me how she had been chosen to make one for her class several years before.
I raced home and shared the good news that I was in charge of making “the box,” as we referred to it.
First came the search for the right size box. It had to be sturdy, with the top still intact, so we could make a slot for the letters. It couldn’t be too big because I had to carry it to school, but it couldn’t be too small, either. For example, a shoe box would be too little to hold all of the cards.
A trip to the corner store on Lyndale Avenue had Mrs. Crozier, the owner, produce the perfect box. It was about 18 inches tall and 18 inches wide. It was wonderful.
She unpacked the cans from the box, put them on the shelf and handed it to me. I felt certain I had found the right box.
I hurried home with it and with my Mother’s help we began to search the house for treasures with which to decorate it. We found lace doilies on which we mounted red construction paper hearts and cupids. They were another important part of our treasure hunt.
We were ready to begin. First, my Dad taped the bottom of the box shut. Then we covered the box with white shelf paper so the decorations would stand out.
To make each side more colorful, we added red bows and red crepe paper. To make a scalloped edge around the box, we cut out white hearts to put on crepe paper. There were bows, cupid’s arrows, hearts and cupids. Even the part around the opening was decorated. Finally, the decorating was complete.
At school, our teacher gave us paper plates. One was cut in half, the other was left whole. We punched holes around the perimeter of each plate. We were given yarn to connect the plates together to create a mailbox, which we attached to the front of our desks. We decorated the front with a heart.
Our teacher gave us all a list of everyone in our class so we could make sure everyone got a card from each student. Some of us used punch-out books of valentines, while others went to the store to buy a box of already made valentines. A few of my creative friends made their own. I chose cards that featured Mickey Mouse and family.
A couple of days before Valentine’s Day, the box had to be taken to school. My mother carried it for me. All of my classmates were excited and impressed with the decorated box.
The next day, my classmates began to bring in their cards and put them in the mailbox. We were all so excited and could hardly wait for the big day.
On the day of the celebration, our teacher opened the box to get the mail. The cards were delivered to the little mailboxes on our desks. Later that afternoon, during our party, we opened them. We had juice and heart shaped cookies to add to the festivities.
Our teacher said she hated to open the mailbox because it was so pretty. I told her not to worry. “Next year’s box will be even better. I promise!”