VALENTINES DAY REMEMBERED

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Musing with Cecil Buffington

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 February 5, 2012

Musing with Cecil Buffington

Valentine’s Day 55 Years ago at Jefferson High school

With another Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it stands to reason, being somewhat of a history buff , ( no pun intended ), it will conjure up memories of some of the Valentine day’s that stand out in my mind.

I think the kids in my early classes at Jefferson exchanged Valentines up until about the seventh grade. Then, Junior high came and we moved on to more teenage interests like sports, looking for that special boy/girl friend or just trying to adapt to the changing of classrooms for every class.

I well remember my sixth grade class in 1957. Ms. Witherspoon was my teacher. A sweet, dark haired lady that I found to be very student oriented as she put up with the crazy guy likes of Douglas Shoemake, Roger Dixon, Jerry Ledford, E.J Edwards, Buck Tolbert, myself and the assorted just turned teen misfits that made up that Class of ‘57.

Some of the sweet young ladies in that class were Doris Sears, Martha Anglin, Madalyne Venable, Mary Ann Johnson, Mary Ann Crenshaw and Peggy Strickland. To tell you the truth, I can’t remember the rest of that particular class in that 55 years was a long, long time ago.

This was a time when Valentines Day was a special day. While many of the kids in the class would simply give valentines to everyone in the room, some only passed them out to special friends. Some junior macho guys I knew would only pass them out to girls.

I usually gave valentines to every one in the class and to some of the other kids in Mrs. Ash and Mrs. Boggs class. They taught the other two sixth grade classes. These classrooms were located directly across the hall from Ms. Witherspoon’s class. I had some special friends in those other classes that I had attended school with during my early years that I felt beholding to give valentines. Some of the greatest disappointments I ever had was when that cute little girl that I sort of had a back of the mind liking for didn’t give me a valentine. And of course, one of the greatest all-time mysteries of my life was when I received that valentine that had “Guess Who” written on the back. I must have asked a dozen classmates if they knew who sent me that valentine. Some gave me back a knowing-like smile, but I never found out the identity of “Guess Who”.

Like many of the old traditions of my youth, the passing of valentines went the way of the dinosaur as integration, the banning of prayer in school and other childhood activities became either banned or just discontinued. The “old” days became the “modern” days and traditions died a slow and painful death.

When integration hit Jefferson High School in the late 60’s, it became just too large a burden to maintain the old tradition as the whites would give valentines to whites and blacks would give valentines to blacks. It was a practice that begat divisiveness. A virtual nationwide ban of swapping of valentines sort of became an unwritten law as the 70’s moved into the 80’s.

Now I hear it is done somewhat on a non-formal basis between some of the kids in school, but not in any great ceremonious function as was prevalent during my grammar school days in the 50’s.

Current trends and traditions will continue to move forward. Valentine’s Day will become even less of a meaningful holiday as we move into the 20’s and 30’s. This is conjecture on my part, of course, but there is one thing I am relatively sure of. After 55 years, I have finally accepted the fact that I’ll probably never learn he identity of  “Guess Who".

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Typical boy to girl valentine from 1955.

Generic valentine for all genders to all genders.

You had to give your teacher a valentine. 

Typical boy to girl valentine from 1955.

Typical girl to boy valentines from 1955.

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