Connecting the Dots: The love tree

February 12, 2012


Erin Outcalt

By ERIN OUTCALT columnist


I have to admit that I love playing games on Facebook. You know the ones that seem to bring one “challenge” after another to keep you hooked building your own farm, city or kingdom? For the holidays there are always special items you can earn and decorate your virtual kingdom with to give it some extra bling. Right now with Valentine’s Day around the corner there are oodles of girly things that I desperately want to decorate my virtual kingdom with: pink swans, heart ponds and then there is the love tree. Yes, the love tree. I felt my heart skip a beat when I saw that beautiful tree and then it sank when I realized it was a special item you had to pay real money for (which I will not do no matter how addicted I am to a game!).


I had to ask myself why the love tree was of such importance to me. Why did it stir up such emotion? Well beyond the fact that it is pretty and pink which is obviously a great combination to begin with I recalled that growing up there was a fallen tree in the school playground that was named the love tree. I had completely forgotten all about the love tree until coming across the virtual one on Facebook. The real love tree was rather large with a long limb protruding off the trunk and had been lying flat on the ground in the school yard throughout my elementary school days. Eventually someone must have deemed it a liability and had it removed.


The love tree captured the names and relationships of many a child over the years. Hearts were carved in the old tree along with devotions claiming true love always (which were probably then scratched back out when the relationship abruptly ended.). The love tree was also the site where those carefully crafted love notes could be exchanged. Or rather exchanged by the true friends that were sent to give the note to your beloved because back then we were all to chicken to deliver the note ourselves!


I giggle at the content of the love notes now because they were more like a questionnaire at that age. I like you. Do you like me? Check the box: Yes, no, maybe. Should maybe have even been a choice? Relationships were short and sweet for sure. At first recess you were “going together” and by second recess you had broken up. I still haven’t figured out where people were going but it was going to be together!


I heard “stories” of kissing at the love tree although I myself never experienced that thrill. Looking back I think that there was more talk of kissing on the love tree than actual kissing. Whatever the case may be the love tree was the place where many children found and later lost their one “true” love. If that old tree could talk I’m sure it would have a lot of great stories to tell because it sure contained a lot of love and a lot of memories!


As I look back to those days of love in its most innocent and immature stages it makes me grateful for the experiences I have gained along the way in my own life. The roller coaster ride that is love has sure provided me with some valuable memories. Not all are fond memories but they have all given me a sense of what true love is all about, when there is true love in a relationship there is never a box in the note to be checked “maybe.”

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