Conversational Candy Heart(break)s
By GRAHAM WALTER
As Alfred Tennyson said so eloquently regarding love, “Tis better to have loved and lost, / Than never to have loved at all.” Clearly, and with all due respect intended towards the great writer, his words are most aptly characterized by the love and pain associated with the elementary school (and oftentimes beyond) tradition of passing out Necco’s Sweethearts Candies and the temporary loss of a tradition older than anyone living today.
Likely, Sir Tennyson did not experience of the child-like thrill exchanging candies amongst friends and crushes alike, even as few people actually ate the candies. The clichés written became so popular that they can be seen in shows and stories ranging from Charlie Brown to the Simpsons. They were simple messages that included expressions such as “ALL MINE” or “HUG ME,” and they have been made for over 150 years. Last year, Necco produced roughly 8 million candy hearts which sold out in about six weeks. They have actually outsold heart-shaped chocolates for two consecutive years.
Unfortunately, as reported on by the Boston Globe, the Necco candy factories were abruptly shut down as the company’s owners switched hands twice. Having to change owners two times in such a short amount of time, Necco’s beloved candies will not be manufactured this Valentine’s day in order to reorganize the company and ensure the long-term future for the candy hearts.
While expected to make a return next year, several candy shops are purchasing the “BE MINE” candies through alternative suppliers. The new owner of Necco, Spangler Co., has released a statement on their website that any candy you see will have been made before July 2018.
Not to fear, however, as there will still be plenty of other candies with sayings inscribed with sugar this year: Nabisco has released some limited edition Oreos and Krispy Kreme doughnuts also put out a line of heart-shaped doughnuts that include several classic expressions. Sour Patch Kids hearts attempted to target the younger generations with expressions such “DM ME” (Direct message me, popular on apps such as Instagram or Twitter) or “Friend Zone.” In some ways, the temporary disappearance of this candy forces one to think of their own mortality. A staple candy of several generations is becoming less and less relevant with derivative powerhouse brands imposing their own sayings/candies into the candy market. While they all derive from a source of comfort, the tradition is slowly lost for now.
Graham Walter ’21 ([email protected]) is feeling bittersweet about the loss of candy hearts this Valentine’s Day.