And so it was this St. Valentine’s Day. Another contest was announced, another chance for Catholic school kids to mitigate their guilt for having it so good. Sister Veronica Ann made the announcement over the P.A. This year, the school would crown a King and Queen of Hearts. Children would be permitted to purchase hearts made of construction paper for 10 cents a pop and make crowns with the hearts and materials provided in the classroom. The girl and boy who donated the most money and had the largest crowns would be anointed the King and Queen of Hearts.
I had to admit—this contest seemed like a stretch to me. I wished them luck but I was skeptical of its success, especially when our Principal emphasized that the hearts should be purchased with money that we earned all by ourselves. How was I going to do that—I was just ten! I only had $1 that I got from Gramps every week and there was no way I was skipping my customary Saturday at the movies to buy some crummy hearts. I decided to hit Mom up for the extra cash, but Mom was not buying it either.
“You want money for what? Hearts made out of construction paper? What are they going to come up with next? Last week, it was a greasy donut drive. I’ve still got seven boxes of those donuts sitting here—no one will touch them. You know I only buy Burny Brothers baked goods. And the week before that it was the subscription drive for the New World.”
Now Mom was feeling the pinch after the Christmas bills rolled it and was not feeling the love. But I pressed her to dig deep.
“Mom, I will be humiliated if I don’t buy some. I will be the only kid in class without a crown. Come on, please.”
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