Love, Shoeboxes, and Candy


Reese Levine, Staff Writer

Now, I know that it would probably make more sense for a girl to write a column that comes out on Valentine’s Day. They could talk about the love that it symbolizes and how this is the year that they will have the perfect day with that guy they have always had a crush on. But frankly, I don’t really care much about that, and if anyone has a problem with that, they can bring it up with the editor who scheduled me for today. (Hint: It’s Tamar.) Instead, I’m here to talk about what Valentine’s Day was about when we were younger, and what it should still be about: candy.

Remember how in elementary school we all used to decorate shoeboxes to take to school, along with candy for everyone else in the class? Yeah, me too.

Valentine’s Day was one of my favorite days. I got to go around the room putting the candy my parents gave me into shoeboxes whose owners I pretended to care about, and then hustle back to my own shoebox, which held indescribable wonders inside. I’d spend a few minutes comparing my own haul with that of my friends, before belatedly realizing that obviously we all got exactly the same candy.

Next, I’d see who had given the best candy-the biggest lollipop, the most delicious chocolate. Accordingly, I would assign ranks to all of my classmates, and be nicer to those higher up on the list for at least the rest of the day. And all those personalized notes that they had spent hours slaving over, trying to remember how to spell my name? Those went into the recycling, where they rightfully belonged.

This brings me to my least favorite part of Valentine’s Day. The night before my parents would make me sit down and sign and address every single note. Based on my own careless handling of my classmate’s notes, this always seemed like a waste of effort to me. But I continued to force myself through this unpleasant task because I knew that it would be worth it in the morning.

The only other thing that we were supposed to do to get ready for Valentine’s Day was decorate our shoebox, for an undecorated shoebox would be blasphemous and result in expulsion from the school. Luckily, even at my young age I was able to come up with a solution. After decorating my shoebox with some pink construction paper and hastily cut out hearts, as well as fretting about how wide to make the slit in the top to optimize candy-placing efficiency, I never did so again. Every year, I took out the same old shoebox I had made in kindergarten and brought it to school again. Each time my teacher never noticed that I had used the same shoebox the year before, and each time, I reveled in my trickery.

Now, the only things that seem to make a girl happy on Valentine’s Day are a pair of diamond earrings and a romantic movie that they can cry their eyes out to. Honestly, I don’t have enough money for plastic earrings, and although I saw The Vow in theater, romantic movies don’t hold much appeal for me. But if I remember that you happened to be on my nice list in elementary school, I might be able to find a piece of candy or a lollipop around the house that I could give you. Conversely, if you happen to find in your heart to spare me something sweet, you can find me sitting in the Mirador room, procrastinating on my articles for the next issue. I’ll be there, waiting with an empty shoebox in my hand.