Valentine's Day was going to be a sad day, an embarrassing day for Kate. Bad enough they had just moved from Iowa all the way to a strange town called Phoenix. Bad enough they were staying in a run-down motel on Saguaro Lane. Kate was the “new girl” at school.
Oh, the secretary in the office was nice. She smiled as mom made out the papers, smiled as she walked the two of them to Room 3. And both women smiled when Kate was handed over to the teacher as twenty-five students stared at the newcomer.
With a free lunch ticket in her hand promising a meal to help settle her nervous stomach Kate was grateful for a loud bell calling for recess. She sat alone as the students filed out the door in straight and quiet lines. Shortly, the teacher returned and began the routine of settling the new third grader into the classroom.
Later, on the walk home after school Kate was alone with her thoughts and her big, new, blue notebook that held The List. The teacher had softly explained that Friday was the Valentine Party. The Valentine box would be opened, cookies and punch provided by some mother volunteers. The List was the names of all the girls and boys in Room 3.
“Of course, you have been so busy moving and getting settled, none of the children will be expecting a Valentine from you. Don’t worry about that, at all,” was what Mrs. Johnson said.
On Valentine’s Day two children were selected to pass out the cards from the hearts-and-flowers decorated box on teacher’s desk. Each student received as many cards as they had friends in the room, plus two. Each student went home with one card saying, “I Luv U,” and signed in cursive by the teacher. The other card was greeted with hidden surprise and smiles, then quickly tucked into each big, blue notebook. No one showed this card around. No one knew they all said, “I think you are special. From Your Secret Friend.”
What a relief. Kate had two cards to show mom and sister Samantha. She held her head high as she lined up quietly for dismissal.
Mrs. Johnson smiled to see her children leave, then turned to face her own pile of Valentines on her desk. She’d admired each one as they were brought to her, but the most fun always was watching the students open theirs. The Secret Friend idea would remain her secret.
Can you keep a secret? Can you make someone’s Valentine’s Day special? Look for Kate; perhaps by now she lives in your town.
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by Elaine Hardt ©2007