Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


My Worst Valentines Memory (Part 3 of 3)

Filed under: Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 5:44 am

It wasn’t long after that when the term ended. I got my report card, so I knew that I would get a High Achievement certificate and my coveted 100% Attendance certificate. When Miss Ellis read my name I was so happy. I walked up to receive my attendance award. I was so proud of all that I had done. I had suffered through Halloween and even the surprise horror of Valentine’s Day. I was so happy when I stood in front of the class that I kissed my 100% Attendance certificate. I even held it up for everyone else to see.

I don’t remember the name of the boy who said it. It cut me so deeply that you would think that I would remember his name forever, but he is faceless and nameless in my memory. Maybe the grief and anger blinded me. He said, “Geez, it’s just a 100% Attendance Award.” I tried to say to him that it was hard for me to get that award, but the vision of sitting in the room while all the kids were walking in the Halloween parade struck me on the side of the head. The vision of coming to class when I was sick and miserable struck me on the other side of the head. The vision of all the kids exchanging Valentines while I sat, loveless in my desk socked me right in the nose.

After that, the tears just flowed. I remember Miss Ellis trying to explain to the boy that some awards are harder for some people to get. It didn’t help. It just highlighted the fact that I was different. Getting 100% Attendance next term would be just as much of a struggle. It would be a struggle my whole life. I just let the tears burst out of me while I rushed back to my desk. I hid my certificate so that no one could see it.

I was never able to explain to that kid why my award was so important to me. I’m sure that it was just something that he got every term with no hassle or problems. Maybe he was one of those children who was blessed with eternal health, strong teeth and the socially accepted religion in Utah. He had no concept of how hard it was for me to sit in that room while everyone else was part of the party. No amount of tear-soaked words could have explained that feeling of being left out.

I think I was fifteen years old. Dad had left our lives. When my parents divorced, the divorce decree stated that at age twelve, Stacey and I could choose whatever religion we wanted. I had dumped the Jehovah Witnesses on my twelfth birthday. It hadn’t been a question in my mind. I was cleaning out the bottom cupboard in the kitchen when I found it: Trudy Rushton’s Valentine from fourth grade. It had been six years and the ache was still fresh. I think I’m still angry at my dad for making me hide the only Valentine I ever got for fear that it would be burned. I’m even angry at my mom for not protecting me from his psychosis. That’s why I hate Valentine’s Day.



  1. I’m sad for your heart today. I know the pain of being haunted by things in childhood that your heart just can’t forget. Sigh. I’ll think good things for you today, Laura.

    Comment by Zuly — 2/14/2004 @ 9:30 am

  2. Thank you for your heartfelt story. I felt bad for you and wish that someone had given you the love and empathy you needed. However, life is full of trials, and we grow because of them. God is a loving father and wants only what is good for you. People, even good, Gof-fearing people, are human and, hence, prone to err. Christ said we must forgive others for we all are imperfect and must be forgiven of our errors. It’s sometimes forgotten that Christ also said the greater sin lies in the person who does not forgive. Despite his faults, your father undoubtedly loved you and still loves you. Your religious teachers surely wanted the best for you as misguided as they might have been. And don’t ever forget that God loves you. I personally doubt that God would ever consign one of his loved children to hell for accepting a Valentine’s card. I would love my own children regardless of their actions. They might be punished, either naturally by the natural consequences of their behavior, or by someone in authority. But I would always love them and would always want them to be happy.

    Comment by Rich — 5/20/2007 @ 12:37 pm

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