David Bruce: Valentine’s Day Anecdotes

On Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1993, Naiomi Johnston gave birth to a daughter. After giving birth, she recuperated in the hospital. Her husband, Darryl, and her three-year-old son, Donald, were in their home in Midland, Ontario, where the weather was very cold and the snowdrifts were very high. Donald wanted to see his new sister, and without telling his father, he got up very early and set out in his toy electric car. The car did not get very far, but Donald decided to walk to the hospital. Quickly, he learned just how cold the weather was. He started crying. His father got up, realized that Donald was missing, and contacted the police. According to Kirk Wood of the Ontario Provincial Police, little Donald was probably no more than 30 minutes from death. Fortunately, Brian Holmes, a neighbor of the Johnstons, was outside with Samantha, his six-year-old German shepherd. Samantha took off on her own. Mr. Holmes figured that she was chasing rabbits, but instead Samantha found Donald. Samantha went to Donald, who put his arms around her neck, and Samantha led Donald to Mr. Holmes, who took Donald inside his farmhouse to get warm and to reunite him with his father.

Even celebrities had (and have) bad days, weeks, and more. When Canadian actress Neve Campbell was nine years old, her elementary class had a Valentine’s Day during which students could buy a cookie for a nickel and give it to a classmate. The teacher would call the student to the front of the class, and the student would get the cookie and the name of the friend who had bought it for them. On this horrible Valentine’s Day, Neve’s name was called only once — for a cookie that her teacher had bought her. Neve says, “I was devastated. No one would spend five cents to send me a cookie.” Later, while she was attending the National Ballet School, her unpopularity continued. The male dancers wrote a song that listed all the girls from prettiest to ugliest. The last verse — which went, “Neve-aagh! Neve-aagh!” — revealed that the boys thought that Neve was the ugliest girl in class. Of course, Neve turned out pretty well. Few, if any, people think that the co-star of the TV series “Party of Five” and the movie “Wild Things” is anything other than beautiful.

Toni Dukes, an African-American, is a 911 dispatcher in San Francisco who uses her own money to give gifts to homeless and other needy people. In zip-lock bags she places a hat and gloves and a package of Kleenex. On the outside she writes in black marker “From the Heart.” She carries around many zip-lock bags containing gifts so that she can fulfill requests. She then will ask a needy person if he or she wants a gift, and if the answer is yes, she asks the person his or her size and favorite color. She does this a few times a month, and she notes that often the people are as grateful to have someone to talk to for a few minutes as they are to receive the gifts, hundreds of which she has given away. Near Valentine’s Day in 2008, she saw a woman and said to her, “Hello, ma’am. Would you like a pair of gloves and a hat?” The woman asked, “Free?” Ms. Dukes replied, “From the heart—it’s a Valentine’s present.”

On Valentine’s Day, 14 February 2013, Carlos and Barbara Landeros of Vallejo, California found a camera bag while they were visiting the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. They waited 45 minutes in case the owner showed up, and then they opened the bag. Inside the bag were credit cards and over $11,000. Barbara said, “I got nervous at first — it could be drug money. I was scared.” The couple gave the bag to the police, who located the owner of the bag: a Chinese tourist named Mark. The money, however, was not all his: He had been holding the money of several other Chinese tourists. Mark sent Carlos and Barbara Landeros a reward: a check. Unfortunately, the romantic Valentine’s Day dinner that Carlos and Barbara Landeros had planned did not happen. Finding the bag and turning it in to police took time, and then they got tied up in traffic. So where did they end up eating their Valentine’s Day dinner? McDonald’s.

Glenn Allen Sims, an Alvin Ailey dancer, says that he lives by Mr. Ailey’s motto: “Dance comes from the people, and it should be delivered back to the people.” He enjoys people telling him after a performance, “That really moved me.” Once, a woman who was unable to walk, told him, “Watching you onstage, I was able to move in my imagination.” By the way, Glenn became determined to take dance lessons when he was a 4th grader. A really cute dance teacher showed up at his school. She was so cute that for Valentine’s Day Glenn and other boys gave her gifts although they were not (yet) in her class.

Feminist and riot grrrl Red Chidgey performed a notable piece of activism one Valentine’s Day. She set up a table as if for a dinner party complete with plates and silverware settings. On each plate she had written two things: 1) a myth of rape and 2) a reality of rape. The activism was successful: Many people worked their way around the table, reading each plate.

French-cooking expert Julia Child and her husband seldom got their Christmas cards done in time to mail, so instead of Christmas cards they would send Valentine’s Day cards to their friends. One card shows the happy couple taking a bubble bath together.

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2 Responses to David Bruce: Valentine’s Day Anecdotes

  1. Jace Clifford Plume (aka Shannon Paige) says:

    Hey I used to be Shannon. Its Jace now, but I’ve heard this story many times. He wasn’t near death though, he was young but smart enough to bundle up and only gone maybe 20minutes before dad went to look. The neighbours dog did find him and keep him warm and the neighbour and dad both found him cause her barking. Oh and it was actually Feb 13th. I’m not a damn Valentine’s baby. Been gettin vday shit for my bday all my life, but it two separate days damnit!

    • Thank you so much for writing. My source for the story is this: Source: Brad and Sherry Hansen Steiger, Animal Miracles: Inspira-tional and Heroic True Stories, pp. 81-84. Once something is in print, mistakes can be repeated (or I may have made a mistake in rewriting some of the material).

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