from nowhere today, came pieces of the ancient memory of a nine year old arriving new to a school on the fourteenth of february. the classroom was all decorated with pinks and reds and the room was abuzz with talk of the upcoming party after lunch. the teacher had a kind face and a pleasant manner, but i remember being apprehensive - we had moved around a lot and it was always hard for me to make new friends in a new place.
those were the days when there were neighborhood schools, stay-at-home mothers, and no need for lunch programs. when i came back to school after lunch, a beautifully decorated box was sitting on my desk, and inside were valentine cards from all my new classmates. i don't remember learning the details of how all that came to be, but i do remember the welcoming feeling of acceptance from a room full of strangers. years later, i suspect that it all had to do with my new teacher, mrs. stanton. and i silently thanked her again today for her kindness to an anxious child so many, many years ago.