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

We had a thunderstorm yesterday and some heavy rain. Today is cooler than it has been, and it is damp and cloudy. The high today will be only 75˚. Right now it is 73˚ and showers are predicted. Today is a perfect stay at home and read while curled up on the couch day.

When I was a kid, I loved rainstorms. I loved when the drops pelted the windows in my room so heavily I couldn’t see any of the neighbor’s houses. I’d watch the drops slide down the window until they disappeared into the bottom pane. When it thundered, I always thought of Rip Van Winkle and the men in the mountains playing nine-pins which I guessed from the sound of thunder was a sort of bowling, but I used to imagine candlepins instead. Lightning was always awesome to me. I always hoped I’d see the jagged flash of lightning brighten the sky.

I used to like to color. Every year I’d get a new box of Crayola crayons at the beginning of school and in my Christmas stocking. My mother and I would sit at the kitchen table and color together. She was amazing. Her colors were nuanced. Mine, in comparison, were  straight from the crayon, and I wasn’t all that imaginative. The sky was always blue, the grass always green. Flowers were mostly red and yellow. Hair was brown. I did mix up house colors, but shutters were always black, the chimney brick red. The only thing my mother and I shared was we both colored inside the lines.

My mother and I used to read outloud in a contest to see who could read the furthest without making a mistake. We used to read from the books she got each week at the grocery store. They were hard cover books and each book had three abridged classics. I didn’t realize at the time they were shortened versions, but that didn’t matter much. I was thrilled by them, and those books introduced me to stories like A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, books I probably would never have found on my own at the library. I remember my mother and I would lie on the living room rug and take turns reading. Hoping I’d catch a mistake, my eyes would follow along with the words as my mother read them. She seldom made a mistake, and she would read for the longest time, but eventually she’d make a mistake, and it would be my turn. Much later, I realized my mother made those mistakes on purpose or I’d never get a turn.

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

  1. olof1 Says:

    I’m just waiting for the thunderstorms to arrive here too, they are slowly working their way up north towards me and has already hit the big city where my sister lives and she has lost the power for a while. I always sleep well when thunderstorms comes so it’ll be a good night here 🙂

    I remember the Reader’s Digest books we had (the were called The Best over here, I guess because they had only saved what they thought were the best parts of the books 🙂 🙂 ) and that was the way I read all the classics when I grew up. I later reread the real books of course but like You I would most likely not have read them if it hadn’t been for the Reader’s Digest. No reading out loud here though, we were a reading family but we all sat in our own corners reading quiet for our selves 🙂 🙂

    I too always kept inside the lines when coloring and just couldn’t understand those who actually didn’t care if they crossed those lines 🙂 🙂 I almost got angry at them, after all those lines were there for a reason 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Have a great day!


    • katry Says:

      We have mist right now, no big rain. It is really damp. I just shut the window behind me as I was getting a chilly breeze. I love falling asleep to the sound of the rain.

      Mostly I read in my room where it was away from TV and my younger siblings, but for the contest, we read aloud. Those abridged books did lead me to read all sorts of books I would never have known to read on my own.

      I worked hard at staying inside the lines. It took me until I could really control the crayon. Little kids just can’t do that yet.

      Have a great day!!

  2. Bob Says:

    The heavy rain has missed my neighborhood for the last few days. Areas around us were inundated with rain including a few house fires started by lighting.

    By the time I was in the fourth grade I was reading adult books usually in paperback form. I read all of Uris’s books by 13. I started with Exodus and Battle Cry. I still remember the line in Battle Cry when he was in Marine boot camp and had called his rifle a gun. The Sargent made him stand outside of he barracks for hours repeating out loud, “This is my rifle and this is my gun, one is for fighting the other for fun”. 🙂

    Today is sunny, warm and humid with an increasing chance of rain every day through Tuesday.

    • katry Says:

      We had a bit of misty rain but only for a short while. It is still an ugly damp, chilly day.

      I never thought of them as adult books. I just thought of them as books. I was into reading the classics first including Treasure Island and most of Stevenson. I also got heavy into mysteries, British mysteries first. I remember that whole scene from Battle Cry.

      It is cool still, low 70’s, but the dampness makes it feel cooer.

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