Disclaimer: The teacher was a lovely woman in every way and a perfectly wonderful, engaging, charming educator.
Disclaimer disclaimer: But obviously had issues.
Disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer: Also, she looks exactly like a waitress at the pub around the corner so every time I go get a beer I remember this story.
It went something like this.
As Valentine's Day approaches, I would like you all to talk to your children about being especially careful of other's feelings. Many children dream about Valentine's Day being a day to express their affection for someone special. Sadly though, other children use it as an opportunity for cruelty! They might purposely avoid giving a Valentine to someone...or even...send a Valentine with a negative message.
(Right about here is when I said, "Huh? Really? Freaking dreaming about it?" "opportunity for cruelty? OPPORTUNITY? For CRUELTY?" Also... do they even make valentines with negative messages? What are they? Scooby Doo looking at Shaggy and saying "Dude, you reek like bong water and van mattress, take a shower, a-hole." I almost crumpled the letter up right there, but I forged ahead. Because I am a good parent.)
I speak from experience. I remember a particularly horrible Valentine's Day in my own elementary school years when one student had a "crush" on another and when her feelings were not returned by the object of her affection she was teased mercilessly and cried on the playground for an entire recess.
(Hmmm. You seem to remember this in great detail. Almost as if it had happened to someone rather close to you. So, what happened? You brought in homemade cookies and a dozen roses to the math teacher and he told you he was 30? And married? To a dude? Or was it that your evil twin who is now a cocktail waitress around the corner wrote you a mean valentine and read it in front of the class? Something along the lines of "Mommy says I'm the pretty one and you're going to end up alone?")
For that reason, please have your child bring enough valentines for the entire class, and do not put a "to" name on them OR a "from" name. This way, everyone will get equal attention from all members of the class and no feelings will be hurt.
Your Child's Miserably Lonely to this Day Teacher
And that right there is why the Japanese are getting ahead.
I don't actually know what that means.
But I do know that in 1977 I would've been particularly thankful to have a teacher like this, because instead of an anonymous Holly Hobbie or Mickey Mouse card, I got a creepy big lumpy envelope from a chubby freckled kid. Inside was the kind of card you'd buy your grandmother, all covered in plastic with a photograph of flowers and some gooey poem about love. On the interior, he'd taped an Avon necklace. My stomach hurt for three weeks and I almost quit school. But I didn't make him cry on the playground.
Because I believe in love.
I don't actually know what that means either.