Valentine's Day. . . the day of love right? Many years ago, 22 to be exact, I was a senior in high school. Just prior to Valentine's Day our student council representative got on the intercom during morning announcements and told us about an upcoming fundraiser. Student council was going to sell carnations for an entire week.
It was further explained that there would be three colors available: red, pink, and white. Red was to signify love, pink said, “I really like you" and white was for friendship. The carnations could be ordered ahead of time but wouldn't be delivered until Valentine's Day during homeroom.
The whole school buzzed with excitement over the prospect of it. Everyone discussed it but the girls couldn't contain themselves as they wondered which lucky girl would get the most red ones. Little snippets of conversations could be heard floating through the hallways:
"I bet she will send some to him!"
"I am going to send her six red ones!"
"Do you think he will send one to me?"
"I am going to get a white one for each of my friends. "
"Do you think he will send her a pink one or a red one?"
"I wonder who will get the most?"
The conversations continued in this manner until the first day of sales. On that particular day a certain group of girls started gossiping and acting cruel. I am sure you might be able to imagine the kind of girls I am talking about as they can be found in every high school across America.
They view themselves as pretty, perfect and popular but in truth are very shallow and unhappy individuals. I had a feeling you would know what I meant! Anyway, these girls aimed their barbs towards another girl in our class. This girl was neither homely, nor attractive but she had such non-distinctive looks that she kind of just blended into her surroundings. In fact when I really think about it, nothing about her looks nor the way she acted warranted much attention. She was quiet and to my knowledge never said anything unkind about anyone. I knew she was a good student because I sat close enough to her in a few of my classes to notice that her papers were always branded with A's when they were handed back to her.
In voices just loud enough to be heard, they mentioned this girl by name and joked that they knew for sure she wouldn't get a single flower. The girl just lowered her head and pretended not to hear but I knew she did. It broke my heart to witness their gross display of humor as they mocked her over and over that day and in fact, for the rest of the week. I toyed with the idea of sending the girl a white carnation but I must admit that I wasn't brave enough. I knew what they were doing was wrong but I didn't know what to do, so like everyone else, I did nothing.
The big day finally arrived and I was excited as everyone else but a little nervous too. What if I didn't have a single carnation delivered to me during homeroom. I knew if that happened, I would die of embarrassment! I had ordered a white carnation for each of my friends and I was secretly hoping that they at least did the same for me. Of course there was a certain boy I was hoping to get one from too!
That day we were told that the fundraiser was a huge success and that homeroom would need to be extended so all of the flowers could be delivered. Each member of the student council was armed with carnations and they roamed from room to room delivering the blooms.
I chatted with my friend for what seemed like an eternity before our door was opened for the first time. We held a collective breath and exhaled in unison as only one flower was delivered, a white one for my homeroom teacher! The student council members continued to come in and out of our room.
Our first big flower delivery was 4 carnations for a boy sitting to my right. I couldn't believe a boy was the first one in the room to get red! The carnations continued to trickle in.
After receiving 3 white carnations and realizing I wouldn't have to die from embarrassment of not getting any, my attention was drawn to the girl next to me. You know the one I mean, the smart one that the other girls had harassed all week. She sat perfectly still with her hands folded in front of her on her desk. I wondered if I should lean over and give her one of my flowers but I didn't want to embarrass her.
It was during these musings when I saw three red carnations being placed on her desk. She looked up and smiled but just continued to sit there; she didn't even reach out and touch them! I wasn't the only one that had noticed either; people were starting to whisper and point in her direction.
I could tell the other girls were a bit jealous because not a single girl in the class had received more than one red carnation at this point. Then things really started to get wild. Each time a student council member came in, at least one of the carnations in their stack was for her and they were all red!
At this point as best as I could tell, she had 7 red carnations stacked neatly on her desk. The class started getting a little rowdy and each time a red carnation was placed on her desk, we all cheered. OK, the boys cheered, the girls mostly just glared.
I knew I was witnessing something great and I tried to seek out the “gossip girls" just to see their reactions to this unexpected twist of events. There were three of them in our class and two of them had a few pink and white carnations on their desk and the third had a handful of white ones. I was thrilled by what was happening but I had to also wonder who had sent her all of the carnations. . . . did she have a secret admirer?
My thoughts were interrupted by the crackle of the intercom and the voice of our principal wishing us a Happy Valentine's Day. He went on to explain that all of the carnations had been distributed and then in his long-winded manner, thanked the Student Council for a job well done.
I heard a commotion behind me as one of the “gossip girls" got up out of her chair and ran out of the room. I heard later that one of the boys teased her about not getting any red carnations which made her start to cry. I didn't even feel bad for her as my attention was focused on the pile of red carnations sitting on the desk next to me. What I noticed next was the smile on the girl's face. It truly was a great day!
I don't know for sure but I heard she was given 24 red carnations that day. We don't know who gave them to her but I am glad someone did. I will never forget her nor will I forget that day. Oh, I did fairly well too. I received a handful of white carnations and I got a special pink one. Yes, it was from a guy, not the guy I was secretly hoping to get one from but from a great friend of mine that was hoping to make my day special. And you know what? It was special!
If you have been inspired by my story and would like to send flowers to a loved one this Valentine’s day, please visit me at Valentine's Day Flowers
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Candee Stark is a Reading Specialist in a local elementary school and has spent the last two and a half years earning her masters degree. Her new passion is her indoor herb garden. Visit her at Flowers & Garden if you would like to read more flower gardening articles