By Lynette George

By Lynette George

Herald Democrat

In a continually changing world, it’s nice to know that there are still a few traditions that have withstood the test of time. Some of them will be highlighted on Friday – Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day cards – whether fancy, ornate works of art or cute, single-sheet cutouts featuring love-smitten critters and such – are still going strong. School kids still hand out those endearing little cards to their classmates and teachers, just like they did when I was young.

I was always a little nervous when we’d have our class Valentine’s Day party. I always ended up with the love-smitten skunk card or maybe a heart-wearing piglet from whichever poor boy was the love of my life … at least for that week. That was always a bit discouraging since I’d usually spent a whole 10 minutes picking out just the right card – usually with a cute puppy or kitten to give said sweetheart.

Speaking of sweethearts, those heart-shaped candies with the sayings are still a hot Valentine’s Day item. As a youngster, I always felt sorry for the poor person who was sitting at a desk, writing on every one of those hearts. It never occurred to me there was a machine that did it.

"Sweethearts" candy — made by the New England Confectionery Company (Necco for short) — got its start in 1901. However, the type of machinery used to cut those little hearts was actually invented in 1847 by an Oliver R. Chase. His brother, Daniel, started printing sayings on the shaped little candies in 1866 when he designed a machine similar to a press. At that time, the printed candies were most often used for weddings.

After Sweethearts hit the market at the turn of the century, they became a Valentine’s Day tradition that continues today. Those familiar sayings such as "Be Mine" and "Kiss Me" are still favorites.

Though the Sweethearts are still going strong, Necco has added a few sayings to its candies, selected from hundreds of suggestions each year. The now familiar letters "LOL" can be found, along with other more modern sayings. The candies have also been featured in a variety of TV shows, movies and video games, using specialized sayings relative to that particular program.

Happy birthday Thursday to Aniya and Makaliah Galloway, Jillian Goff and David Patterson, all of Denison; Brian Sisemore, Linda Copley Sneed of Tom Bean; Will Carson, Sharon Sutherland, Julia Pace, Floyd Griffin Jr. and Ann Rowe, all of Sherman; Vicki Wilson Mulkey and Connie Akin, both of Aubrey.