As a kid, I used to look forward to Valentine’s Day almost as much as Halloween. I remember that every class at my school had a contest for the best valentine box. Each class displayed their winning boxes on a table by the front doors for everyone to admire. I think I was in the 4th grade before I realized that many of the parents had a heavy hand in making some of the boxes. Not mine. My mom helped me with ideas and finding stuff around the house to use but she left the creating up to me. One year, I made a coffee grinder valentine box, complete with a drawer at the bottom to put my valentines. I remember making the hand crank and the funnel top out of foil and covering the grinder box with pink flannel. It was cute but the drawer was rather small and it didn't slide too well.
When I brought it to school and placed it on the heat register that ran the length of our classroom, my friends pointed and whispered. At first I took it as a compliment but in truth, they had no idea what it was. The teacher surmised it was a coffee grinder but most of the kids had never seen one before. After the judging, which occurred during our lunch, I rushed to my pink coffee grinder to find that I hadn't won, not even an honorable mention. During the party, after the valentines and treats were passed out, my teacher came over to me and asked me about my box. She asked me several questions about how I got the idea and how I made it. After she probed a second time if I was sure I made it myself did I realize I was being interrogated. It felt worse that my teacher didn't believe me that I had made it myself than not winning honorable mention. But it was a good lesson. It was just a silly valentine box. From then on, my valentine boxes consisted of a shoe box covered in pink tissue paper with a slit on the top.