Where I write

Where I write

February 8, 2012

You don't send me flowers anymore because I send them to myself

The day I dreaded most in high school was not the day we were tested to see if we were smart enough to enter college. I wasn't worried about silly stuff like a well paying career to support myself someday. Oh no! What I was worried about was whether or not a boy would send me a carnation on flower day.  This is how it worked back in the 1970s. Boys would purchase the flowers and send them to their favorite girl or girls to be distributed during third period or maybe fourth. A middle aged secretary would come to the classroom door with the flowers and the girls who received the flowers would have their named called. My name was never called. The girls with the flowers would get to carry them all day long to their classes, proof they were admired and loved by a boy, or in some cases, boys.

Here's a page out of my high school yearbook. I'm in there as well as some stupid boys who lost the opportunity to send me a flower. I've met a lot of stupid boys since then, too. I've learned there is no age limit on stupid boys. I've lived with a few, but we shall save that for a future blog.

Did you ever see the scene in Charles Dickens's Christmas Carol where Scrooge is with the ghost of Christmas Past and he is looking back through time when he was a young boy in school? All the other boys are going home for Christmas but young Ebenezer is just sitting there at his desk looking wistfully out the window wishing someone would claim him. That's me except it is 1974 and I'm the girl in the green mini skirt. When I see myself sitting in home economics class (was that a waste of time that was!) waiting for a boy to send me a carnation I feel as if I want to hug that young girl I once was. In her youthful ear I'd whisper, "Sweetie, men will give you plenty of flowers in the future. Don't sweat it. Instead, think about getting out of home economics class and into something that will earn you a decent living because you can't eat flowers or pay the rent with flowers. Start writing that novel now. By the time you are middle-aged you will be a successful writer and be able to buy yourself that red Cadillac."

These are the flowers I purchased for myself recently. I like to buy my own flowers. I've had men buy me flowers. Funny though. I get just as much satisfaction buying my own. Not to say I would turn away a bouquet of roses, but in a few days they always end up dying. Flowers aren't forever.

Here's Elizabeth Taylor as a young woman and she's just a lovely as those roses. If any woman was showered with flowers, it had to be Elizabeth. And yet, in the end, this is how she ended up anyway. Old and single.
I didn't know when I was in high school that it didn't matter how many boys loved you. What mattered was that you loved yourself. This was not taught in Home Economics. How does this pertain to writing? (After all, my blog is called writer waitress.) Sometimes I still feel I am the young girl sitting in a classroom at James B. Conant High School waiting for an editor or a publisher to come and give me a flower, prove to me I'm worthy of the title of successful author. But it doesn't work that way.I had the carnation inside me all the time. We all do. Even those girls in high school who got carnations needed to eventually learn that self-love lesson.

  Since I brought up high school, I have to say I'm really glad now I didn't have a full time boyfriend who sent me carnation because, well, as I've said, I've lived with a couple men (even married one) and they are quite distracting and not nearly as fun as my girlfriends. Men don't giggle as much as the girls or like to shop for shoes and go to lunch and talk about whether or not Madonna should still be doing cartwheels on stage. (you go Madge!)

Here are my bestest high school friends, taken a few decades after graduation. With these girls, I laughed and cried and laughed some more. I wouldn't give you a bushel of carnations for any one of them. (though I would like to be able to wear a green mini skirt again and not have knees that look as wrinkled as one of those Shar Pei dogs. But oh well.)
 Happy Valentine's Day, girls! XO XO


Rita A. said...

Oh the carnations. I remember those. I did get a dozen red roses one year but from a poor guy who's name I didn't even know and really didn't want to know when it came down to it. Alas!
Thanks for the wishes and I'm glad you bought yourself some flowers.

Anonymous said...

I love it when you said it doesn't matter how many boys love. You have to love yourself. This is probably the most important lesson every woman should learn. It's one I wish I learned a bit earlier (I could have saved a lot of heartache in my teen years!).

Your flowers are beautiful! When I lived alone, I bought myself a bouquet a couple times a month. They really brighten a room and a mood! :-)

SunsetCindi said...

Those boys didn't know what they were missing! I hope the schools have done away with things like that. They serve no purpose but for the flower companies to make some money at the expense of breaking girls' hearts.

Glad you get your own flowers now and know that loving yourself is the best thing a woman can do.

Anonymous said...

What a cruel tradition that school had!


Anonymous said...

I've given you a blog award! :-)