February 14th

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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 shoebox valentine box looked shabby.  I don’t recall whether it was a class rule, but every kid got a card from each member of our class.

Now, this required labor.  We had to punch out a card, write our name on the back, stuff it in a miniature envelope and address it.  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–the love of my life.  I chose a bear holding a heart–it’s message: Be my valentine.  I underlined “BE.”

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

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

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

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

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Hmm. Hard to believe.  Today Chip is a beefcake, highly successful entrepreneur.  However, even at 50 years old, he is a broken little boy, due to the unconscious cruelty of other children.  Had I known this story I would have sent Chip a box of chocolates!

Unfortunately, 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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