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Ringgold County's Oral Legend & Memories Project

Valentine's Day, 1958

I was in the 1st grade and we had just moved from Indianola to Grand River. My first day in the new school was two days before Valentine's day. My new class was excited, being caught up in preparations for Valentine's Day.

I, however, was missing my former classmates. Even if I did make a Valentine's Day box, I didn't think I'd get any Valentines, being so new to this classroom. Okay, maybe I'd get one from Mrs. Dentler, our teacher.

Reluctantly and with a heavy heart, I went through the motions. I sat at the dining room table beside my grandmother who was helping my sister and me make our Valentine boxes. I spent more time playing with the glue stuck on my fingers than applying it to our cut-outs. It was a hopeless gesture to make a box that would be fairly empty come Valentine's Day.

Just about as useless as trying to pick out the right Valentine to give to my new classmates. I didn't know any of them. Mrs. Dentler had given me a list of my classmates' names. But that's about all it was. A list. I didn't know who any of them were.

Come Valentine's Day and the hour to distribute our Valentines, the class had been worked up into a low rumble. You could feel the excitement in the air. It was almost static.

Fortunately for me, my classmates had put their names on their Valentine boxes. It was simply a matter of matching up names on the envelopes in my hands with the names on the boxes. Mrs. Dentler helped me whenever a box didn't have a name on it.

Once my Valentines had been delivered, I slowly walked back to my desk. I knew that there wouldn't be much of anything in my box.

I sat down and looked around, watching my classmates savor the contents of their overflowing Valentine boxes.

I took a deep breath and peeked into my Valentine box.

Lo and behold! It was filled almost to the top!

There must have been a mistake. Surely all of those Valentines weren't for me!

But they were. My name had been written on each and every Valentine I pulled out of my box!

When the bell rang to let us know that our school day was over, I proudly carried my Valentine box and Valentines to the cloak room. I said something to the girl whose coat was hanging next to mine.

She laughed, telling me that Mrs. Dentler had sent a note home with each of my classmates, advising their mothers that they needed to add one more name to the list of classmates - mine!

Mrs. Dentler was my special Valentine in 1958.

~ Sharon R. Becker

To contribute to "Tales from the Front Porch: Ringgold County's Oral Legend & Memories Project"
contact Sharon R. Becker at
Please include the word "Ringgold - Front Porch" in the subject line. Thank you.

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