In Honor of Valentine’s Day, I Revisit Elementary School and those Conversational Candy Hearts!
Updated: Sep 2, 2022
Nothing says love like the taste of a “chalky” heart
Photo by Obi Onyeador on Unsplash
When I think of Valentine’s Day, I think of those little candy hearts. You know the ones with the sayings like, Love Me, Cutie Pie, Crush On You, etc. I believe the comedian Jim Gaffigan said it best when he compared the taste of these as tiny antacids labeled with “Hug Me” on them. It didn’t matter the color or the saying, they all tasted exactly the same.
I don’t know about you, but Valentine’s Day was not unlike Christmas in February when you were young. I have pretty vivid memories of this little holiday breaking up the monotony of a Michigan winter, if just for one day. These memories come flooding back as I see the excitement welling up from my two young children. It instantly takes me back to grade school and thoughts of those little candy hearts and this mini-holiday in February.
It all starts with buying Valentines, or simple character-driven cards, with sayings like “be my valentine” to be handed out to their classroom friends. Not sure if it was a Transformer, Charlie Brown, or GI Joe Valentine offering when I was younger, but you would get a full set with some variety. I remember having a crush on someone at the time, and there was always a “Special” card to be given, in addition to plenty of “Be Mine” candy hearts.
Photo by Laura Ockel on Unsplash
Of course, they also have to design a very elaborate mailbox to receive the Valentines for themselves. I remember this being an in-class project of which you were given colorful construction paper, a pair of scissors, most likely paste, and certainly crayons. Nowadays, this has become an at-home project. My kids spent the better part of a weekend constructing their little marvels. I think my son made a raging tank, and my daughter made a peaceful train. Each of these was made out of a random Amazon or tissue box.
Photo by Anna Kolosyuk on Unsplash
You can’t tell me the teachers themselves don’t welcome the break from a typical school day topped off by a small party of sorts. I remember it being a bit of a free-for-all and the teacher just sitting back waiting for their mailbox to fill with Valentines. All the while, the kids were scarfing down the candy, and the day was getting even more lively.
So Valentine’s Day always brings me back to those candy hearts, which have been a staple at Valentine’s Day for over a century. Valentine’s Day 2019 found no conversational hearts on the shelves as Spangler Candy had just bought the rights to the Necco brand of candy.
Abby Thiel wrote a nice article on this here:
Luckily, these hearts returned in 2020 and are going strong with many new sayings and that same taste. Today you can expect more motivational sayings like “Way 2 Go”, “Be You”, and “Don’t Quit”. You either love them or hate them but you have to appreciate their longevity!