Be My Valentine


Nancy Bryans, Writer, Teen Scene Editor, Production Assistant


Love stories abound in literature, theater, movies and television, all depicting a variety of blossoming relationships, we recognize as love. There may be as many ways to fall in love as there are people, and each person’s story seems to have unique circumstances when described to listeners.

My first encounter with love occurred at age five. My mother deposited me at a family friend’s home while she attended a social function that excluded children. A cute boy answered the door with his attractive mother. The boy and I were to play together in the sunroom until my mother returned. Upon walking into the sunroom, I saw a stack of coloring books. The boy handed me one, asking if I liked it. Wow! It was a Cisco Kid coloring book, my favorite. I decided at that moment I would marry him. We attended first grade together, and on Valentine’s Day as we left our classroom for recess, I cozied up to him, asked him to be my Valentine and kissed him. He smiled and we turned to walk down the hallway. To our dismay, we noticed my older sister staring at us from the opposite end of the hallway. She still teases me about that kiss.

I outgrew my love of The Cisco Kid and that cute boy but not his chestnut handsomeness.  One day while sitting in the family car at the local general store and post office, I spied a young brunette boy bounding down the stairs, examining something held in his hands. This boy wore a military uniform I recognized from the school several of my cousins attended. As this boy rushed to his pretty blond mother’s car, I held my breath. I had fallen in love again at age 12.  This boy and his family I quickly surmised were the new arrivals in our village. Later I queried my grandfather about the family and he guessed my inquisitiveness.

My grandfather loved baseball, and he watched every televised game that often interfered with my watching American Bandstand. We compromised; he taught me about baseball and I taught him the latest dance steps, but I didn’t like baseball and he didn’t dance. One day, with a twinkle in his eye, he insisted we attend a baseball game between our high school and the military school. We sat in the bleachers and I searched the players for that new boy. My old love was on the field but not my new heart throb. Disappointed, I pretended to be interested in the game. Then a man arrived who looked like the new boy, but where was he? Our team was at bat.

A fly ball. The catcher jumped up to catch the ball, tossing off his face mask. Time stood still as I looked at that boy and he looked at me, but the ball kept moving and the catcher missed the ball. Our home team won.

After the game, my grandfather introduced me to the father and the young boy, who offered my grandfather one of his candy bars. Then my heart throb looked at me. We were both speechless, staring into each other’s eyes. Our romance seemed almost as fatal as Romeo and Juliet’s star-crossed relationship, but ours had more twists and turns than the Uncle Wiggly board game. To quote Steve Maraboli: “Our love is sharpened by the stone of our challenges and strengthened by the struggles of our growth.” Despite our romantic vicissitudes beginning at age 14, today we both love to hear each other say those magic words: Be My Valentine!