When I was in the 6th grade we had an awesome teacher named Ms. Barclay. She had taught school as a young lady, married, had 3 kids and recently lost her husband. Though I didn't realize it at the time...she probably had to go back to work after his death...I didn't know any of that though..only that she was a new teacher in my school and I was assigned to her class. This was before the days of changing classes except for math so my classmates and I were stuck with each other and with her...all day every day. It soon became apparent that she was like no teacher I had had before....She allowed us to arrange our desks in creative ways...divided us into fun groups to work together on classwork...extended recess and did lots of other new and exciting things that I had never experienced before in school. I was assigned to a group of about 5 girls...some of them quite popular( but we didn't know that term at the time). We turned our desks to face each other in a circle and had tons of fun from there on. I can't be sure but I think we were Ms Barclay's favorites...We worked hard, made good grades, were eager to please and very sweet little 11 yrs olds...so when we concocted the idea of a Valentine's Day party...she agreed. Of course we had always had V Day parties in school, we exchanged valentine cards with our classmates and our moms brought in cupcakes and juice. (this was the old days people, when a card saying "Be Mine" only meant that you were friends and nothing sexual was implied). This, however, was to be a different kind of party!
I don't remember how it all come to be but somehow my group of 5 organized the whole thing and assigned everyone in the class to a duty.
V Day fell on a Friday that year and when the big day arrived so did we with cookies, cakes, candy, punch, music and of course valentines. I well remember, I made round cookies with pink or white frosting and a candy heart in the middle of each one. They were beautiful! In my memory it seems like it lasted all day but I'm sure the party was limited in time. We probably had lunch at our desks, which we always, did then it was on! Til school was out at 2:15 we partied...we pushed back the desks, put on the music, played games and chowed down on sweets til it was time to catch our buses home. The actual valentine card exchange is a ghost of a memory but the gay abandon of the day and the age remain vivid imprints in my mind, I mean Larry S. actually climbed on top of the science table to dance and sing Build Me Up Buttercup and Brown Eyed Girl!! I ate so much junk I was sick all weekend...LOL
So much in our lives was changing...we were growing up...it was the last time I can remember doing the traditional card exchange and the last time I can remember not knowing who the popular kids were or caring...we all grew up of course and moved on to Junior High and High School...many of us joining new cliques and rarely crossing paths the rest of our school years but forever that teacher, that group of classmates, and that day will live in my memory as one of the best school days EVER!! Thank you, Ms Barclay..where ever you are!!