“My childhood smells like a box of Crayola crayons.”

I won’t bore you with a description of today’s weather. Ditto ought to be enough.

We all slept in this morning: Gracie, Fern and I. It was really late or early morning depending on how you look at time before I finally went to bed. It was 10 o’clock when I woke up. Gracie and Fern are already back to napping. Maddie is also napping. She is beside me on the couch and right next to the dog. This is monumental. Gracie has been chasing Maddie since Gracie first walked in the door when she was a puppy. Lately, though, Gracie ignores Maddie more than she chases her. They have even sniffed noses, an intimate move in the animal world. I don’t know if its familiarity after 7 years or just boredom which has caused Gracie to give up the chase. Poor Maddie has finally stopped running.

In grammar school, when I was in the first or second grade, we sometimes colored pictures near Christmas. The pictures were always of the manger scene, no Santa and no reindeer. The nun would have us pull out our boxes of crayons and we’d get busy. I remember I always made the straw yellow, a bit bright, but that was as close I could get to the real color of straw as shading colors was way off in my future. The halo over the Baby Jesus was the same color as the straw; a box of Crayola crayons in those days had limitations. The scene also had Mary and Joseph, the manger, always colored brown, a donkey and a shepherd with a lamb across his shoulders. I colored Mary’s dress blue because every statue had Mary in blue, different shades but still always blue. Joseph wore brown. The shepherd wore green and brown. The lamb wore white.

I’d scrawl my name atΒ the top. It usually went all the way across the paper as I hadn’t yet mastered sizing my letters. Most time only Kathleen R. fit, and it was never written in a straight line. It sloped on the right and started going down the page. It didn’t matter. I was always proud of my work. It was perfect for hanging on the refrigerator art gallery.

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12 Comments on ““My childhood smells like a box of Crayola crayons.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    We always draw a lot before christmas but I can’t remember any one drawing anything religious. Mostly it was the Yule gnome, presents and a dressed tree πŸ™‚ Sometimes we even used pastel crayons but mostly it was our Crayola πŸ™‚ I’ve seen that one now days can buy huge packages Crayola crayons with all different shades, such luxury πŸ™‚

    It’s snowing here today but thankfully less here than at work, I almost got depressed when my car was covered by 4 inches of snow πŸ™‚ I don’t think we’ve gotten one inch here so far and that makes me happy πŸ™‚

    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • Kat Says:

      Christer,
      It was a Catholic grammar school so we were stuck with religion! I’d love having a Yule Gnome.

      The Crayola boxes are huge now. One of my treasures is a commemorative box of crayons with all the original colors which was put out just before Crayola retired some colors.

      No snow yet, but it’s getting colder every day.

      Stay Warm!

  2. Birgit Says:

    Creativity can lead to strange but delicious results:
    “Oh Little Town of Baconham”
    http://www.bornagainpagan.com/photos/058-little-town-of-baconham.jpg

  3. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    One of the best memories of grammar school is the very first day of the new grade when we got our supplies for the year. Pencils, erasers, rulers etc. Best of all was the shiny new flat metal box that contained 8 spanking new Crayola crayons. The inside of the box was sparkling white with no blotches of random crayon color staining it’s pristine surface. The crayons had crisp, colorful wrappers unsullied by rips and wax blobs and all the points were sharp as tacks. The air was redolent with the smell of new wax. It didn’t last more than a week and then the crayons were old and tired and blunt. The wrappers were torn as we sharpened the tips. I have to say I carried a secret resentment of the art teacher because she always had a new box of crayons whenever she came. It just wasn’t fair. πŸ˜‰
    We had a bit of sun up here but it was short-lived and didn’t warm the atmosphere very much. I went nowhere but I did make spaghetti sauce so that’s something.
    Enjoy the day.

    • Kat Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      My new pencil box was also a cherished first day of school memory. It was filled with everything, except the crayons, I would need for school though I never did use the protractor that came with some of them except for tracing around the edges when drawing.

      We always kept the old crayon pieces in a cigar box. It was filled with pieces which had some paper left on the crayon, no paper left, stubs of colors and blunt ending pieces.

      Every Christmas we always got new crayons in our stockings.

  4. flyboybob Says:

    The smell of crayons is one of those odors that trigger memories of being a kid along with double bubble chewing gum and the smell of caps being fired. I always colored the bottom third of any picture green for grass and the top third blue for the sky. This allowed for a nice manila colored space in between to fill in brown trees with green bubbles on top that resembled big lollypops. The stick figure people usually were depicted next to a brown box with a red triangular roof. The box had an open space for the door and a couple of open squares for the windows. I always printed my name at the bottom and got a nice grade.

    I attended public school in Dallas before Madeline Murray O’Hare’s school prayer case prevented schools from promoting religious celebrations. Since Dallas is the buckle on the Bible belt, we had a Christmas tree in the lobby with Manger scenes and decorations in the classrooms. No one even knew that some of us were not Christians, and they didn’t care. Even today many small town Texas school districts don’t prevent public prayer delivered by a minister before football games.

    • Kat Says:

      Bob,
      You are so right about the smell of caps. I had forgotten about that. I didn’t have a gun, but we used rocks to set the caps off. Your drawing sounds much like mine. I was the Picasso of stick figures as I couldn’t draw any other sorts. I can ss your house in my mind’s eye, so similar to mine!

      As I never attended public school I have no idea how the school in my neighborhood decorated for Christmas except for the drawings posted on the windows. They were student art projects for the holidays.

      • Bob Says:

        Public school could either be terrific or terrible depending where you live. When I moved from Dallas to New York during the Christmas break in the eighth grade the difference between schools was shocking. In Dallas we could wear jeans tee shirts and sneakers to school. In New York, at that time, you had to wear dress slacks, dress shoes and ties every day. The academic standards were so much higher in New York’s school system in those days that I had teachers who couldn’t believe that I had ever attended school. In Texas, even today, football is king. In the eighth grade every student in the school was exempt from homework over the weekend if we bought a ticket to the Friday night football game. I always bought the ticket but never attended the game. My math teacher was also the football coach. I think he was just one chapter in the textbook ahead of the students.

  5. Kat Says:

    Bob,
    I think there was a dress code at the public schools when I was a kid. Girls couldn’t wear pants and boys wore pants, never jeans, and shirts with collars.

    I have heard about football in Texas and boys being red-shirted in the 8th grade so they could get bigger and stronger for high school.

    • Bob Says:

      My kids attend the Plano school district which has several High Schools, 9th and 10th grades, and three Senior High Schools which are 11th and 12th. When the city was smaller they only had one Senior High. The purpose of splitting up the grade levels was to feed all the football players from the various High Schools into the one Senior High to have the strongest possible football team. Now that plan didn’t work so well when the population tripled in size πŸ™‚

      The big powerhouse in Texas High School football was Permian High school in Odessa which was the subject of the book and the movie “Friday Night Lights”.


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