Hearts and flowers, Valentines and books
The TALE: Tehachapi Art, Literature and Entertainment
February 2, 2019
Valentine's are not only for children and sweethearts. So, if you have neither in your life, don't despair. There are wonderful alternatives in creating a happy Valentine's Day...
In my elementary school years, Valentine's Day brought both joy and bitter disappointments. Boxes were decorated by students with lacy paper doilies and hearts of red, white and pink. As these boxes were lined up with names clearly printed on each, classmates delivered their Valentines. Some brought for all. Others only delivered to their favorite friends. If you received lots of Valentines, you were happy. If you received few, disappointment sometimes led to tears.
Today, students are instructed to bring a Valentine for each student and are given lists with names of all their classmates, so no one is left out. That is kind. I suggest we make Valentine's Day a day to be kind and caring and recognize all kinds of people and all kinds of love. Love of family and friends, neighbors and co-workers. Celebrate this love by sharing. Share a favorite recipe, a well-loved book, a favorite song or piece of art. Give out your own Valentines.
With you, my readers, I am sharing glorious pink, a novel about special neighbors, examples of letter writing and a few words about Victorian Valentines.
The Victorian era occurred during the reign of Queen Victoria (June 20, 1837 to January 22, 1901). Big sun hats with festive ribbons and bows, and dapper straw hats and striped suits were gaily paraded. Time was happily spent enjoying the arts, participating in lively discussions of new ideas, reviewing books and reading poetry aloud. These were the marks of Victorian society. They excelled in bestowing beautiful bouquets of flowers and gifts, delivered with cards filled with flowery sentiment. Their Valentines were decorated with the sweet faces of children and cupids accompanied by roses and hearts. Very romantic and many became iconic works of art. Replicas of these Valentines can be purchased online or in specialty stores and would be a memorable way of telling someone you love them or expressing your love to those of any age and gender, parent, sibling, neighbor, friend, showing you appreciate them in your life.
Those Victorians knew how to write a letter! Their letters could be as flowery as their Valentines, using descriptive adjectives that made their prose sing like music. In today's busy world, letter writing is all but extinct. A dying art. But it can be resurrected, as we still have paper and the postage stamp! If you need help in remembering good prompts and process, check out the novel titled, "The Lost Art of Letter Writing" by Menna van Praag, weaving a story around the power of a letter, or "The Forever Letter" by Elana Zaiman. She directs her readers to write what matters from the heart. Don't despair if you can't find boxes of stationary. Make your own or find special papers and envelopes for purchase online or in craft stores. And don't hesitate to practice your best writing in texts and emails. There is no law that an email can't have a formal salutation and closing, with some flowery adjectives and punctuation in between!
"The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, envelops you into the lives of a special group of people, a love of town and home and an appreciation of neighbors, with a historical perspective of lives in Europe during and after world war. The story begins with letters. It becomes a love story between people, a love story of community, an example of how love can hold up and embrace a varied group of people in trying times. This book makes you want to join a book club or start one of your own, as memories and comradery are exampled so warm and inviting.
Last but not least, I share with you "Pinkalicious" by Victoria and Elizabeth Kann. This is my favorite read-aloud book. What is better than joyously celebrating pink for Valentine's Day? The pink cupcakes are perfect. Yum! Yes, there is a price to pay for eating too many pink cupcakes, but joining in on the fun is well worth the price.
I wish you all a Happy Valentine's Day and... Good books. Good reading.
*Midge Lyn'dee is a fictional character used for the purpose of entertainment though the reviews are real and sincere.