Happy Valentine’s Day

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Turnip and Lettuce valentineMy first crush was on the cutest boy in the fifth grade class, and guess what! He gave me a valentine! But…he also gave one to everyone else in the class. That notwithstanding, I saved it for years, even though it was one of those that came in a package of 50 for a dollar at the five and ten cent store. It was just a cutout with a picture of some vegetables. The verse read, “Don’t turnip your nose at me, lettuce us be friends.” Sort of like the picture.

Have you ever gotten a valentine from the wrong guy? The one you didn’t like. Or, because the right one didn’t call, have you gone to the Valentine dance with one of those you couldn’t stand, who never failed to look at you with adoring calf eyes? Julie, the heroine in my novel did. This month in honor of St. Valentine’s Day, I am including a short cutting from the book, which I hope will give you an idea of the fun that is to come.



(from In Those First Bright Days of Elvis)

On the night of the dance, Eugene came to the door dressed in a white sport coat and bearing a small box of flowers. Mamma watched, beaming, as he took out the corsage

and fumbled with the pin stuck in the backing.

“Let me pin it on,” he said and moved toward me, lust pulsing in his eyes. The next second the palm of his hand was resting on my breast.

“Jeez Louise!” I yelped, jumping backward.

“Julie!” Mamma said. “What’s the matter with you? Let Eugene pin on the corsage.”

“Dream on.” I snatched the flower and the pin and did it myself.


* * *


“That was pretty sneaky,” I said, as he started the car and pulled away from the curb.

He turned fake-innocent eyes on me. “What was?”

“Using the corsage as a cover for feeling me up.”

“I was just bracing my hand so it wouldn’t shake. Besides, how else am I going to get a feel?” He twisted one end of an imaginary moustache.

“You are disgusting.”

He cackled. “How do you like this car?”

“At least it goes forward.”

“It’s my father’s, and I know, it’s just a plain old car. Someday I’ll have a white convertible with a blue ragtop, leather seat covers, and an automatic transmission. Then will you let me . . . uh . . . pin your corsage on?”

“No. Keep your hands off me.”

“Julie, you’re so weird.”

I’m weird?”

“I bet you’d go steady with me, if I asked you, but I’m not asking.”

I shook my head in despair.


* *  *

I would love to hear your experiences with the “wrong” guy on Valentine’s Day, or the right one, if you prefer. Leave it in the “comments” section.

Happy Valentine’s Day. See you next month.




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elaine tomasi
elaine tomasi
7 years ago

It was 1974 I meet a nice guy at the bus stop. We dated a few times and had a nice time with him. For Valentine Day he gave me some flowers with a note that said ‘ To a cute little monkey” Guess what I did not go out with him again. I’m not a monkey !!!! Elaine

Kathy Myers
Kathy Myers
7 years ago

Really fun scene, Josephine — thanks for the Valentine treat! But you really didn’t have your first crush till 5th grade? I was way ahead of you, starting in Kindergarten (maybe earlier). I remember in 1st Grade ambushing one of the hapless objects of my affection and kissing him in the cloakroom. And in 2nd Grade I named my cat after another one of my crushes. In 3rd Grade I guess I was bored with all the same little grade school boys because I then developed a crush on one of my dad’s grown-up friends! Sheesh! But I think I… Read more »

Viki Woodworth
Viki Woodworth
7 years ago

My freshman year in high school a boy insisted on carrying my books and walking me home. His last name was Little. I was taller than him, and I’m five feet tall. I was mortified. I don’t remember how I convinced him to go away, but I did.
I’m looking forward to reading your book, Josephine!

Donna B
Donna B
7 years ago

I love this- and I already like the heroine. I remember one Valentine with Mr. Right (same as The Present Mr. Right, but flashback to college sweetheart days):
I was totally surprised when I received a Valentine gift of a beautiful polished stone heart necklace, and a package of white chocolate rabbits. I had mentioned both a few weeks prior- and was SO touched that he remembered two of my favorite things. Who could resist a guy like that??!