VALENTINE DAY – WHEN THE LOVEBUG BIT THE BARTLINGS
Fred was not one to get into Valentine Day but he married a woman who was. So when the children were young and all under our roof Valentine Day was a day to celebrate. This was the evening we ate in the dining room using a white tablecloth and red candles. And I believe I splurged and bought fresh flowers, not from a florist because it would have been too expensive but at the grocery store. The menu was carefully selected carrying out the red and white theme – ham and scalloped potatoes or spaghetti or lasagna, red Kool-aid, the only concession was green beans or peas or corn. Dessert was heart shaped cookies with pink frosting or strawberries over vanilla ice cream. I bought each person a gift and shopped at Murphy’s in the Midway. I thought it was so classy to have a general store that had an escalator. Also it impressed me that it had a row of chairs for the older gents to sit while their wives were shopping. The presents were modest: anklets with lace around the cuff, barrettes, “intimate apparel” as it is referred to now; it used to be called underwear, sox or t-shirts for Fred and son “Freddy,” cute little necklaces, mittens if anyone needed them or caps. They were wrapped in white tissue paper with red curling ribbon and ceremoniously opened one at a time with oh’s and ah’s. At the dinner table that evening there was a lot of chatter about the valentine exchange at school that day. Who got one from whom and who did’nt get one from whom and what was written in the Valentine. After supper they got out all their Valentines and read them and compared them – some were made by the children themselves and these were set aside on a special pile. Then the children were scampered upstairs to go to bed, get the clothes out for the next day. Valentines were put away in a special place, we kissed them good-night. Fritz and I talked about our schedules for the next day – or the children’s schedules, cleaned up the kitchen, went upstairs and then quietly closed our bedroom door.