by Mitch Lee
There it was again… Valentine’s Day, that cursed day of the year that scares every junior high school student.
In 1979, Valentine’s Day was not one of those days a teenage boy remembers fondly.
The dread started at about 6:15 a.m., when I was in the shower and it suddenly dawned on me that the day had arrived.
My toast seemed drier and went down with difficulty knowing that I had to face a whole day of emotions with thirty raging-hormone classmates.
I was not a steady-dating kind of fellow. I had my fair share of school crushes and girls I enjoyed dancing with at various school dances, but not having a steady girlfriend made the day downright uncomfortable.
There were still those girls in my class who handed out little Valentine’s cards to everyone, just as they had done since kindergarten.
And there were a couple over-the-top guys who had flowers delivered to the school to their steady gals.
But, to me, the entire day seemed to create a small pit of sadness for most of us who were not part of that drama.
Oh…and there was drama! God forbid the person who broke up that four-day boyfriend girlfriend commitment of “going out together” on sacrosanct Valentine’s Day.
Not to mention the hours a young gal would spend with the school nurse to end the tears and pull one’s self back together.
To me it all seemed so silly.
These were all my close friends who I enjoyed hanging out with as sort of an extended family. I didn’t need to be tied up in any of this drama and I sorta enjoyed not being a part of it.
On that day carnations were being sold by high school students as a fundraiser.
My three friends and I were working on a stop-motion claymation of Rocky meets Mr. Bill, when three senior ladies approached us with a bucket of the red flowers.
One was pulled from the bucket and given to me with a small anonymous card that read, “I think of you.”
Well, that dreaded day quickly went from full agony to complete horror as my three classmates started teasing me as to whom might have sent it.
The nightmare was complete when I had to walk that flower to my locker to hide it for the rest of the day.
To this day, forty years later, I still don’t know the sender…and I suppose February 14 is still dreaded by most 14-year-old boys.
Mitch Lee, Adirondack native & storyteller,
lives at Inlet. firstname.lastname@example.org