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In my box

conversation candy hearts4

photo by Catherine Castle (c)

Chances are you will receive something sweet this Valentine’s Day. It’s been a long time since I received a heart-shaped box of Valentine chocolates because I’ve been watching the sweets. It’s been even longer since I dropped “conversation heart” candy into the lunch boxes of my husband and daughter, so I thought it might be fun to post some Valentine candy lore on Sweethearts candy this Valentine’s season.

 

In preparation for this post, I bought a small box of “conversation hearts.” I’ve got five years to eat them, as they have a shelf that long. After all, they’re only sugar with coloring and flavoring in them. Hard as a rock, the candies have most likely broken a few teeth somewhere in the history of eating. The message-bearing, heart-shaped wafers were first created in 1866, and are made by the same company that makes Necco Wafers. Necco Wafers were a favorite childhood treat of mine. Unfortunately, there are no chocolate or licorice flavored “Sweethearts”, which is the proper name of the candy.

Sweetheart sayings have been added to and dropped over the years in an effort to keep up with the culture and reflect how people communicate. The company has added even added a Spanish version. Every year they produce billions of candy hearts. Nearly 10 new candy “conversation heart” sayings are introduced each year, and they welcome customer input finding new sayings.

In my box I found some tried and true messages like TRUE LOVE, BE MINE, I LOVE YOU, and CRAZY 4 U, which immediately started Patsy Cline’s famous song “Crazy” running through my head. There were also some were different sayings than what I’d had as a child, such as PUGS AND KITTENS (can’t forget the furry Valentines), LET’S READ (don’t know what that’s got to do with love), LUV 2 DANCE, TXT ME, and a drawing of a MUSTACHE.

Intrigued, I went on a search to discover other messages on the candy over the years. I found a list of their most notable retired sayings, which included such stellar sayings as HEP CAT, DIG ME, GROOVY, and FAX ME. Now those dropped me right back into the 60s and 70s.

Some other interesting messages over the years were GO HOME, GO FISH, WALK ON BY, TAKE A WALK, which I thought might be handy if you wanted to break up, not make up. I was also intrigued by MUCH ADO, as in much ado about nothing? Humm. Not sure that’s a message you’d want to send your true love, either.

There were a few cuties such as URA TIGER, URA QT. I had to say the second one aloud a couple of times before it sank in. I GOT YOU BABE  took me straight to Sonny and Cher, even though WALK ON BY (also a song title) didn’t do the same.

The one that confused me the most was BE MY ICON. I mean, really, be my religious image? I suppose if you used the second definition of icon–a small picture on a computer display that suggests the purpose of an available function–it makes some sense. Be available to me, please? But until I looked up the word’s secondary meaning I couldn’t make this one work at all.

Along the way I discovered you can personalize your message . Imagine getting a bag of Sweethearts with wedding proposals written on them. What girl could resist 450 sugary candy hearts with messages like MARRY ME, YOURS FOREVER, and I LOVE YOU?  I say 450 because that’s the smallest amount of personalized Sweethearts one can buy for $39.99. Four-hundred and fifty karats encased in gold would be harder to resist, but, hey, not every guy has deep pockets.

Ever the writer, I always tried to create sentences using the hearts and put them in my daughter’s and husband’s lunch bags. Using the 40 heart messages in my small box, this is what I came up with.

DREAM BIG, SWEET PEA. I LOVE YOU. XOXO.

DATE NIGHT. ASK ME. OOH LA. LUV 2 DANCE.

SWEET STUFF, WAIT…LET’S READ.

TXT ME. MISS YOU.

WICKED COOL (MUSTACHE)

BE MINE. GIGGLE.

PUGS AND KITTENS HUG ME.

FIRST KISS, TRUE LOVE.

BE MINE. I LOVE YOU

What about you? Have you indulged in this Valentine’s Day tradition this year, either eating them or creating messages?

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