February 14

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On Wednesday morning I awoke before the alarm and laid in bed surfing my memories.  I was in Miss Snell’s second grade class.  Since I was not very good with scissors, my decorated mailbox (shoebox) looked shabby.  I don’t recall if it was a class rule, by every kid got a valentine from each member of our class.

Now this required labor.  We had to punch out cards, write our name on the back, stuff them in miniature envelopes and address them.  Of course, there were only five choices of valentines, meaning at least 4 or 5 students would receive an identical card from me.  I agonized about the one for Meice (Maurice)–the love of my life.  I finally chose a bear holding a heart–it’s message: Be my valentine. I underlined BE.

When it came time to open our shoeboxes, the boys were busily eating homeroom mom cupcakes, and we girls were searching for the onecard from our love.  I read and reread the nondescript message on the card from Meice.  I cherished it.

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At 11:00 AM, I went to my hair dresser appointment and shared my memory with her.  Her response: “my husband doesn’t like Valentine’s Day.”

Wow!  Who doesn’t? “What’s up with that, Addie?”

“Chip went to a small, rural elementary school in Iowa.  He was short, with a slight build.  When he opened his shoebox, he had one or two cards.  Others would have many.”

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Hard to believe.  Today Chip is a beefcake, highly successful entrepreneur.  However, even at fifty years old, he is a broken little boy, due to unconscious cruelty of other children.  Next year I’ll send Chip a box of chocolates!

Then my Valentine’s Day got worse:  Parkland, Florida.  Seventeen children and faculty assassinated by a sick 19-year-old with an AK-15.  My pleasant memories of February 14th have been shattered forever.

When is enough, enough?

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