Young artists fashion valentine boxes
Today let us take a bit of time and recall valentine boxes of our past. Not the heart- shaped ones filled with candy and decorated with frilly lace and roses – and sometimes even dolls – but rather the valentine boxes we created for school. Actually, my teachers referred to them as “mailboxes for valentines” as we delivered valentines to all of our classmates. Upon discovering that romance and adventure could involve glue, colored paper, cardboard boxes and plenty of creativity, I decided to give Valentine’s Day a bit more priority. It was in third grade that we began to create a special valentine mailbox. Since it was a home project, my mom began sharing ideas for my valentine box.
Mom was like a magnet for cardboard. She had grown up during the Great Depression and like many other folks, she experienced a connection with need. She did her best to banish that bad habit of loading up the trash with items that could possibly be reused. In one of the back closets at our laundromat was a neighborhood of empty soapboxes, plastic bottles and other normally discarded household cardboard. It was from this stash we selected boxes for this project.
Being a lover of coffee from an early age, I had decided I should have a coffee percolator as my valentine mailbox. My brothers and even their friends tried to talk me into a rocket, a TV, or even a race car. Nothing doing! It was going to be a percolator.
Mom totally understood how important it was to me to create this special valentine box. After a day of children and household duties, that did not detour her from helping me create this cool valentine mailbox. As her energy started to fade, she allowed herself to dip into the energy of being creative. This along with a bit of perked coffee, a quick spray of Heaven Scent perfume, and she was ready to roll.
Working diligently on my project was great, but having mom working along side me was heaven. This was one of the very sweet times I shared with my Mother. She was my partner front and center on this project. Once again when a child and parent connect it provides for an unlimited amount of contentment. Joy, laughter and creativity resided in our kitchen as comfortably as our stove.
She was undaunted and had plenty of gumption. Her mind and hands were in sync taking on the challenges of an oatmeal container, paper towel cylinders and strips of cardboard. Before long she had fashioned these items into a very attractive percolator valentine box. I witnessed first hand the passions and perils of ordinary dull cardboard being transformed into a pleasing showcase valentine mailbox. Construction was done with good old-fashioned Elmer’s glue, a roll of Scotch tape and sharp scissors. Who knows what wonders she would have created with the availability of double stick tape, glue sticks, hot glue guns, and today’s powerhouse of bondersGorilla Glue! In our laundromat, bulk soap came in large round cardboard containers. I have a feeling Gorilla Glue would have been the catalyst for her to transform these round containers into the leaning Tower of Pisa valentine box!
While in school, creating interesting valentine mailboxes was close to my heart. Fashioned from discarded cardboard came a diner, a piano, and a cake complete with a pedestal cake plate. All were in the color combination of red, white and pink! It warms my heart on a slate gray February day to think of these cardboard masterpieces. Take a moment and recall a few valentine mailboxes from your past. Surely someone must have had a boom box, birdhouse, purse or robot fashioned box.
Love is that wonderful intangible something which has inspired great love letters, poets, painters, singers, cooks, and yes, many an elementary valentine mailbox artist.
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