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Carol Perkins: The Heart

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By Carol Perkins

How did the heart shape become a symbol of Valentine's Day? Although there are many theories, the one that appealed to me is that the heart contains all our passions and emotions. It is, therefore, only fitting that it became the symbol of love. (The brain depends on the heart.) Another theory is that a scientist was trying to draw the human heart and it ended up with two loops and a point. That makes sense, too. For whatever reason, the shape of a heart is a sign of love.

For Valentine's day, these hearts come in cards, candy boxes, and diamond necklaces. Many women have a heart-shaped necklace surrounded by diamonds in their jewelry box. We wear sweatshirts with "I 'Heart' Hornets" or New York City. We give mugs with hearts, send balloons with hearts, buy teddy bears with hearts, and wear heart-shaped earrings. Valentine's Day is a vast business.

When I was an elementary student, every classroom teacher, along with her students, prepared a Valentine's box covered in crepe papers and hearts.

It was so pretty. All week students brought Valentines they had bought at the Dime Store (no Walmart back then), and "mailed them" by dropping them into a slit on top of the box. The night before they were due, I spread my package on the kitchen table and sorted according to boys, good friends, and other classmates. The ones for boys could say nothing about love. There was always one for the teacher included. Because my mother was a teacher, I knew to give every student a card. Not everyone did that; they gave to friends. Some couldn't afford the cards.

After the teacher "delivered" the mail, students counted and compared. When little Sally, sitting next to me, only had a few on her desk, I knew this method was not right. Finally, school officials ruled that everyone must get a card or no one. I'm guessing students don't "mail" Valentines anymore.

Small things can break hearts, whether not getting a card, an invitation, or a pat on the back. Being slighted can be as painful as a slap in the face. If we learn with our hearts, there will be fewer broken ones.

You can contact Carol at

This story was posted on 2023-02-09 08:50:05
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