And maybe your school didn’t partake in this next lovely tradition, but my 180-student-body high school in small-town Missouri surely did! Does the photo below look at all familiar?!
I guess we had to find ways to entertain ourselves. This was, of course, before the days of Match.com! But seriously, every year, each person would fill out a short questioner with questions on it like: What is your idea of a perfect Friday night? or something like that. Then, on Valentine’s Day, you would go to a little table in the hall, sift through the 180 envelopes until you found the one with your name on it. Then, you'd eagerly snatch it up. At this point, you’re so excited that you turn around to your best friend with the look of a thousand lifetimes of smiles on your face before you go to rip open the envelope. But suddenly, you stop, and a horrifying sense of dread washes over you. You've just remembered that the guy at the top of your list last year was your cousin and that the guys that followed him weren't much better. In fact, you had known all of them long enough to remember that one wet his bed his entire fourth year of life, one sat next to you in Sunday school and picked his nose the whole time and the other gave you a box of chocolates with a frog in it in fifth grade.
Oh, Data Match Day!
But you didn’t expect me to end this story without a happily ever after, did you?! Never! Well, I'm proud to say that on February 14, 2001, my high school sweetheart and I finally outmatched the Data Matcher! With just a little cheating (Okay, every one of our answers might have been the same), I held my breath that day, opened my envelope, peeked at the results through one squinted eye...and sure enough, found HIS name at the top of my list! Talk to the hand, Data Matcher! (Unfortunately, we said things like that in the 00s—the decade we couldn't quite figure out what to call!) But really, life didn't get any better than that! And it still amazes me how something like beating the Data Matcher—even if there was a tiny bit of cheating involved—seemed to right the world again at seventeen!
And if you so happen to find yourself in the reading mood on this “most romantic” day of the year, you can also check out my newly released contemporary romance, For All You Have Left! I promise you’ll find a love story there...and maybe even a happily ever after too!