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Party offers respite from Valentine's Day

February 14, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN - At 13 years old, Kaleb Singleton already feels a little jaded by Valentine's Day.

"I've got some bad memories from elementary school," the Hagerstown eighth-grader said. Besides, he added, it's overly commercial.

"To me, it seems to be just a time when the people who work at Hallmark get raises."

Kaleb was one of a handful of teens who gathered Wednesday at the Washington County Free Library's Teen Loft for an offbeat Un-Valentine's Day party that offered temporary respite from the season's barrage of red and pink.

"We wanted to do something that was related to Valentine's Day, but also makes fun of it and is an excuse to get together," said children's librarian Catherine Hall, who helped organize and host the event.

Activities included making roses out of red and black duct tape and creating anti-Valentines that featured some of Shakespeare's least romantic verses.

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"I'll pray a thousand prayers for thy death," read the card created by 19-year-old Josh Royer of Funkstown, who chose the dark quotation from "Measure for Measure."

Royer, too, said he was put off by the commercialization of love around Valentine's Day. At his job at a local grocery store, he said he is sickened by the amount of money he sees shoppers spending on candy, and feels assaulted by the abundance of pink and red merchandise.

"They pick the grayest month to put up red decorations," he said. "It's gray for a reason. I don't like the sun shining down every time you look up."

Librarian Maria Smucker said she hoped the event would make a fun alternative for teens who share Royer's feelings.

"Not everyone really wants to celebrate or enjoys Valentine's Day," she said. "This is a chance not to take it too seriously."

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