Beginning January 1, 2013

Stop by and let us know what you think of the new look!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

First Love

By Emly Forrest

When I was a little girl (back in the Stone Age), Valentine’s Day was a big deal. With Christmas firmly behind us, and summer vacation still a dim glow on the horizon, a day of candy and cards expressing affection seemed the perfect remedy for the mid-winter Midwestern blahs.

Each year at school, we made elaborate containers to hold all the valentines we were sure to get from all the members of our class. I remember days of gluing red tissue paper on an ordinary shoe box, cutting a hole in its top for a mail slot and blinging it up with glitter, paper hearts and stars. Once all the boxes were done, the teacher lined them up on a table under the classroom windows, ready for the big day. Day after day, the girls all daydreamed about who would get the biggest, fanciest card. And hoped that a special card would come from that one particular boy—the object of many a crush.

As it would happen, I came down with a cold the day before the much anticipated card exchange. My mother fretted, putting her hand to my forehead repeatedly, rubbing Vick’s on my chest and filling me with ginger ale and chicken soup. She made it clear I was not going to school the following day—Valentine’s Day or not—if I had not improved.

The next morning, my fever was still in place. Mother shook her head and ordered me to bed for the day. I was heartbroken. While everyone in my class would know the joy and excitement of the day of love, I’d be tucked in with a book and a teddy, Valentine-less. All my hopes and dreams were shattered.

I moped the whole day, missing all the fun. Later in the afternoon, I heard the school bus rumbling up our road, but took scant notice when it stopped to deposit the neighbor boy. A moment later, I heard a knock on our door, then Mom talking to someone. Soon she came to my bedroom with my Valentine’s box in her hand.

“Eddie from next door thought you might like this, so he picked it up before he got on the bus,” she explained. Good old Eddie! My pal and best friend. It was at that moment that I realized I was crazy about him.

Those days are long gone and Eddie and I have lost contact over the years. But his thoughtfulness has remained a gauge of what love really should be throughout my life.

Emly Forrest is the author of The Last Resort (2010) and Irish Ice (Coming in March 2011), both available at Please visit her website at or contact her at


Melissa Blue said...

Oh, how sweet!! I remember being very excited about our school Valentine parties too.

Isabelle said...

That is so sweet. Things have changed so much. My daughter's school doesn't allow the exchange of Valentine cards because some kids may get more than others and that could lead to hurt feelings. Everything is supposed to be equal. I prefer the fun of decorating the heart to hold the Valentine cards and the excitement of receiving them.

Maria Zannini said...

What a good friend, and such a sweet memory.

Jean P said...

What a wonderful memory to have.

skpetal at hotmail dot com

JM said...

Ahh, how sweet! Valentine's was always a scary day for me. One year I prayed for the boy I liked to give me a valentine, and he didn't. But he sat with me at lunch that day and gave me a special one.
Now you have to give everybody in the class a card, so there isn't as much signifigance to the holiday.

Piper Denna said...

Ohh, what a cute story. I always feel so bad for the kids who are sick when the holiday parties come up. My daughter came down with a high fever one Halloween right before the school parade started. I was on my way to watch the parade and ended up hauling her home instead.

Sounds like Eddie was a keeper. But who knows whether he'd be alright with his wife sleeping with Paul Newman... so you did good. :)

desitheblonde said...

wow that great hope you in joyed it
my bf gave me one year a heart necklace and i did not see it on my pillow my dog did and i do not take it off unless for surgery

Sherry Gloag said...

what a great ending to a frustrating day for you. No wonder he became your hero. Good luck with your new book :-)

Laura Kaye said...

Cute story! And yowza, that Irish Ice cover is hot!

Diane Craver said...

Love your post, Emily! Such a precious memory. When I was in grade school (and it really was the stone age in my case) I loved decorating my box that held the valentines.

Your book cover is gorgeous - good luck on sales.

LuAnn said...

What a precious memory! Do you know what became of your good friend?

reading_frenzy at yahoo dot com

Emly Forrest said...

No LuAnn, no clue what's happened to Eddie. Last I heard (about twenty years ago), he'd married and had kids. Good on him.

Emly Forrest said...

Yeah, I like the cover too, Laura!