“Stay True” Little Chalky, Corn-Syrupy Affirmations

Julie Severson

A lot of us are feeling the winter doldrums in full force right now.

Part of it is the cold weather and lack of sun. The other part, for me anyway, a girl who made her debut into this crazy world during the stark of a Minnesota winter is the realization I’m a year older again. If I stand on my tippy toes, I can see through the other side of the half-century mark.

For the past few years, between my late January birthday and Valentine’s Day (which, coincidentally, is my lovely mom’s birthday), my moods swing back and forth as though I’m in the front seat of Steel Venom, that U-shaped inverted roller coaster at Valleyfair my kids coaxed me into riding on a couple of years ago.

All I can say when I feel this way is . . .  Thank goodness for conversation hearts.

You know. Those small sweetheart sugar candies that bring back memories of school Valentine parties and childhood crushes with their quirky messages that make us swoon and release a wellspring of happy neurochemicals in our body.

Each year around this time, I typically grab at least a 10-pack of those little boxes for my kids and a big bag for myself that I hide in my secret sweet spot in the pantry.

After leaving the store,  I climb into my car, lock the doors, rip open the bag, and dig through it for a message that speaks to me, depending on my emotional state or needs at that moment, such as “Chill Out,”  “Be Happy,” or “URA Tiger.”

Then, I lean back against my seat, close my eyes, and allow the little chalky, corn-syrupy affirmation to dissolve on my tongue and spill into my brain bringing back feelings of peace of mind and potential.

Well, it’s fun to imagine they could do that anyway.

Can you believe the history of those conversation hearts dates back to before the Civil War?

It all started when Oliver Chase, founding father of the New England Confectionery Company (NECCO), invented America’s first patented candy machine in 1847. Coincidentally, that’s right around the same time anesthesia was first used for tooth extractions.

Then in the 1860’s, Chase’s brother, Daniel, figured out a way to use a felt roller pad dipped in vegetable oil to press words onto little lozenges produced by that machine.

Imagine living prior to the existence of the candy machine! I shudder at the thought. I don’t know about you, but candy plays a pivotal role in my pursuit of happiness.

Whether I get it from the bottom of a vending machine, during a mad impulse while uploading broccoli heads, frozen pizzas and dog food on conveyor belts, or during a desperate dig in the months-old Halloween stash in the back of my kids’ closet, candy is an essential part of my daily balance.

It must be sort of tricky for those candy heart makers to come up with relevant and unoffensive mottoes with just enough space for two short words. I appreciate their attempts to “Stay True” to the timeless classics such as “Be Mine” and “Kiss Me.” However, like most businesses, they’ve caved here and there to stay in line with current culture.

I can understand that to a point. Replacing “Fax Me” with “Text Me” made sense.  However, I was entirely disheartened when “Let’s Read,”  “Occupy My Heart,” and “Shine Bright”  were retired in favor of various texting lexicons and a mustache emoticon.

What does an imprint of a mustache do for anybody’s endorphin and oxytocin levels?

On a side note, I wonder if “And How” is still around? I never really understood that one.

Each year, Necco receives hundreds of suggestions for new sayings. If I’d thought about it earlier, I would’ve submitted my word of the year for 2016 that I wrote about in my last post:“Hmmmmmm.” They would’ve had to cut out a couple of the M’s, but I’d be ok with that.

Maybe I’ll submit a few suggestions for next year. Here’s my top ten at the moment. This list could change on any given day, though.

  1. Let Go
  2. It’ll Pass
  3. Fuzzy Socks
  4. Hi Adele
  5. How RU?
  6. A New Day
  7. Dine Out
  8. Merlot Me
  9. Be Kind
  10. Amen.

What would you suggest?




Stay True Little Chalky Corn Syrupy Affirmations

This post was syndicated with permission to BonBon Break Media LLC.

Julie Jo Severson, former PR girl, is now mom to a teen, tween, and pretween and a Minnesota-based freelance writer. When she’s not trying to drum up copywriting work on her website, she’s doodling about past, present, and future clinking glasses and making peace at her new blog Carvings on a Desk.