Feb 7

Remember candy hearts? Let the sweet conversations flow this February

assortment of candy conversation hearts

February is all about hearts! The observance of American Heart Month focuses on heart health, but hearts also abound with celebrating Valentine’s Day. While it is associated with romantic love, Valentine’s Day also sparks expressions of love for family and friends. In our opinion, it is valuable to take every opportunity to let family and friends know we love them. One long standing tradition is to do this with conversation hearts.

Do you remember candy conversation hearts? Stella Parks reminds us “You don’t eat conversations hearts, you experience them. I can remember everything about them without having had a box in years. It starts with the sound. The sugary clatter of countless hearts tumbling end over end, then a long, scraping woosh as they slide from the box, piling in my palm with jubilant clickety clicks.” She goes on to talk about the sweet messages that are imprinted on each one.

What do you know about the history of conversation hearts? An article in Mental Floss states that “The story of conversation hearts began in 1847, when a Boston pharmacist named Oliver Chase longed for a way to get in on the apothecary lozenge craze.” In trying to find a better way to make lozenges, “Oliver had inadvertently created America’s first candy-making machine, and before long, he had abandoned his pharmacy business to crank out miles of what would become New England Confectionery Company (NECCO) wafers.” Heart shapes and printed messages followed.

Can you have some fun with conversation hearts this month? Pour a handful out onto a clean surface and line them up to create a longer message that combines each printed short phrase. Share the message with your loved one and then have them create a message. The website, Together as Family, shares “Valentine’s Day Minute to Win It Games” that are all played with conversation hearts. Have fun with your family and friends trying a game or two.

Ask your older loved one about their memories of conversation hearts. As our blog, “The Art of Conversation with Older Adults,” tells us, “you may be surprised how these questions lead to fascinating conversations that engage your loved ones and help you learn things that you never knew about them.”

We hope you will have fun with conversation hearts in February.