Tales of 100 Hearts

I never linger in sight. Last time I did, Bash screeched his head off the entire march down the stairs from his classroom, and Biff nearly pushed the child ahead of him down the stairs. So I remain around the corner where a small corridor leads to the church’s daycare.

February holds two major events for an elementary school: Valentine’s Day, and the 100th day of school. I don’t remember celebrating the 100th day as a kid, but Blondie assures me this is a big deal that requires special games and treats all revolving around the number 100. O-kay.

The boys’ school was in the spirit, too. I couldn’t stand far enough away to get a complete shot, but I was able to take a few close-ups.


I loved studying the variety of writing styles, of what must have come from adults vs. tweens, of kids vs. teeny ones. And the choices made in both topic and writing fascinated me. Take that pink heart in the bottom photo–why history? And why write it with the teensiest letters possible? One seems to enjoy her cursive “friends” (because I’m guessing a boy’s not going to change font, let alone write the cursive so carefully), while another is equally writing friends so long as it can be in nearly invisible red ink. Two kids apparently like Spirit Week, though one’s definitely younger than the other…

I love the creativity little ones put into spelling words they don’t know, with letters big and proud. And then you have some who wrote at a weird angle–why? And one who really digs the teacher but must have forgotten how to spell her name, so a few letters had to go above the “Mrs.” Then, of course, there’s the over-achiever who had to explain why she picked what she did, and needed to make extra hearts to emphasize her love for it.


Yes, being a Christian school, there were bound to be a few God-related hearts. But the heart in white is the one that really got my attention.

Bo’s certain it was written by a grown-up, but I’m not so sure. I studied that heart quite closely compared to the others, and the letters are a bit stilted and crooked when compared to the other more rounded, brighter teachery lettering.

The political climate of the United States has become a nightmare for many. I’m not going to lie–Wisconsin feels very cut off from it all. Milwaukee’s always been racially tense, Madison’s always been loudly liberal, but the rest of the state is, well, quiet. It can be easy to forget such a basic want is still very much a want everywhere: to be safe. To be where one is wanted, protected, and loved.

Every heart shares a piece of life tied to that school. I look upon how these words are rushed, curled, misshapen, stiff, and cannot help but wonder what else is tied to these hearts. That if I were to pick a heart from the wall I’d find a string, a string leading up and down stairs and around the playground and back into the room where the heart’s maker sits. I’d look upon the maker, tied to all the scraps and bits of life that brought the heart maker to write that word above all words.

And I’m betting I’d find a story.

34 thoughts on “Tales of 100 Hearts

  1. Had to laugh at your comment about weird spellings from kids. Here are two that had me completely stumped when I helped out in second-grade story writing. They were told to sound out words, so what do you reckon are the real meanings of ‘joungc’ and canta’?

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  2. Love it! Also (teacher nerd moment!) love the intro and the description of the necessity of ‘disappearing’ once the kids are dropped off 🙂 HOW many kindergarten mothers stood by the doors, gazing longingly as their little wee ones pitched fits for their benefit as I tried to reassure them over the sobs, “Don’t worry! They’ll be fine. They’ll stop when you go…” My favorite was the 5 year old left with a cell phone…just in case. Guess what she focused on all day instead of acclimating and having fun…BUT ANYWAY, love the piece xo

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    • OH YE GODS. Yeah, the one time I lingered was their 2nd day last year. For all the calming I tried to give, I just riled them up more when I tried to leave. That’s when the boys’ teacher just straight-up said: You gotta leave’em and go. Don’t even say goodbye, just go, and don’t let them see you until drop-off time. So, that’s what I do, and they’ve been better since..mostly. Well sometimes still horrible, but we’re getting there. 😉


  3. My daughter used to scream her head off for upwards of ten minutes so I feel your pain. Here in Central PA — the Bible Belt of PA — people voted overwhelmingly for Trump (some have buyer’s remorse, thank you) not realizing that in the end they would be less safe. It’s funny, the bill of goods people allow themselves to be sold. Sad, though, when children can’t/don’t feel safe. Sadder than most any of it.

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  4. Beautiful, beautiful post! I love the title too: “Tales of 100 Hearts” The vivid line “Every heart shares a piece of life tied to that school.” affected me in such a poignant way.

    It occurred to me you’d be an excellent handwriting analyst, but that would be a waste of your writing talent. ✏️I’d rather see you writing, not checking out the writings of others. 😉
    (When I saw the word “Safety,” I thought an adult wrote it, but you never know!!! 👀)

    Thanks for this lovely post & photographs. my friend. 💗
    Much love,
    SpyDy 🔭

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! Aw, no, I’d be horrible at studying handwriting, although that practice has always fascinated me. Hmmm…maybe when the kids are in college that’ll be my 2nd calling: handwriting analyst! 😛
      Bo’s still in your camp, and it’s true–a teacher in a rush to write SOMEthing could have done that, too. But when I think of the teachers I’ve met there vs. the kids I’ve seen go in there, I still go with my gut that it could be a kid. But that’s the fun of a story, isn’t it? I bet we could create some gooduns from either choice. 😉

      Have a lovely Palm Sunday and Easter in case I miss ya. This week’s going to be INSANE with church and family up the wazoo. Hold on to your coffee! xxxxxxxxxxxxxx Java Jean

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Sunday Post – 9th April 2017 | Brainfluff

  6. I went to a very, very rough school as a kid. Thank goodness they did not have us do the heart thing like the sweet kids who penned their even sweeter words above…it would have involved the constabulary.

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  7. That heart just – stunned me. Partly because I wasn’t expecting it, partly because it gives the exact degree of our cultural temperature; anyway, apparently I’m an over-achiever too and I’ll stop explaining. Thank you for taking and sharing and showing and telling.

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    • Yes, me too! I’d stare at that word for several minutes for every pick-up until the hearts came down for spring. (That sounds like the title to a sad poem…anyway.) Such a strong word written with unsure angles, and on a white heart–no blending in here. So very curious to me.


  8. Wisconsin sounds like Yorkshire. Watching the surrounding political maelstrom gaining momentum outside our borders. Our schools have never done anything with Valentines. Had to laugh today being the 14th Feb our son got up and uttered his first words ‘worst day ever, hate it, all cos someone wants to make some money’. Wow….

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