What the heck does Be My Valentine even mean? People run around with heart shaped balloons, flowers and such. But what does Be My Valentine really entail? I always get a kick out of the kid Valentines that come twenty to a box and kids give them to grandma and maybe even the family dog. Again, they say Be my Valentine, but what the heck does it really mean? Certainly giving flowers to a girlfriend or going out to dinner with one’s wife has different meaning than a kid giving one of those silly little cards to some girl in the second grade.
Back in the second grade I sat next to Angela Cartwright. And, like most boys at that age, I kind of thought girls were sort of yucky. But Angela turned out to be really nice. At recess there were a group of kids who played on the monkey bars. They wouldn’t play with me. But Angela would. She was particularly fond of hopscotch. She would even sit with me at lunch sometimes. Those other kids sure wouldn’t. On Valentine’s Day Angela gave me one of those kid Valentine cards. I thought that was really nice of her. I gave her one, too.
Then a couple days later Angela said she had to go for an operation. There was something wrong with her stomach. Well, I’d had an appendectomy the previous summer. I didn’t miss any school because it was summer, but I figured she’d need time to recover if it was anything like my appendectomy. So that day during recess she drove away with her mother. I never saw Angela again. I don’t know what became of her. She wasn’t back the next school year. I guess her family could’ve moved and she went to some other school. The more likely answer was the operation didn’t go so well and Angela died. Nothing was ever said about what became of Angela. I’m sure no one had the guts to tell a room full of second graders Angela died. It was easier to say nothing and hope we forgot her.
I’ll never know what actually happened to her. But I never forgot her. Over 50 years later I still remember her and find myself thinking about her when Valentine’s Day rolls around. She gave me a Valentine’s card. I don’t remember the card itself, just that she gave me one.
Oh, the kids on the monkey bars never did let me play with them.