Turn Left At The Cornfield

Learning how to hurry up and slow down.

Crayons and Coloring books



One of the best parts of being a parent and, later, a grandparent is being able to sit with a child, a pack of crayons, and to color in a coloring book.  It’s a special time to sit side-by-side and talk about any and every thing, as pictures are filled with whatever colors make one’s heart sing.  If there is a lesson to learn from the young, when coloring a page, it is to choose the colors you like, and to either stay within the lines or treat the lines as a suggestion.  There is something very soothing as black and white pages are changed with bright and bold colors, and decisions about whether the warmer or cooler colors from the spectrum are included in those choices.

Whoever thought of adult coloring books is a genius.  After receiving four ADULT coloring books for Christmas, this ADULT has spent many hours filling in intricate designs with fine point ink pens, markers, and precisely sharpened colored pencils.  There are many different themes for these books, botanical, floral, geometric, or different birds and animals. Seemingly, every interest and passion has a coloring book with page-upon-page of enticing images to fill with both bold and muted colors.  Assuredly, the market for markers, crayons, colored pencils, and pens that would never be found on a child’s craft table has had a lucrative increase in sales.

Memories of the first days of school, when one had the good fortune to have been given a box of sixty-four crayons with the admonition, “These have to last throughout the school year,”rapidly comes to mind when a new package of fine point markers with at least forty color choices is opened.

Our crayons weren’t entrusted to the flimsy crayon box, since our mother had made each of us a fabric crayon holder with individual slots–wide enough for each crayon–sewn along the length of fabric for the number of crayons. The crayon points were protected by a flap that folded over all the crayons before everything was rolled up and fastened with a neatly knotted length of bias tape.

Every child knew which classmate could not be entrusted with one of the beloved crayons.  It was the kid who broke the point by coloring too hard, or, horrors upon horrors broke the entire crayon by putting too much pressure on the middle of the crayon.  Having someone break one of the cherished and pristine crayons caused the same heart-sinking feeling that the first scratch on a new vehicle can still bring.

This was in the age when things were mended, fixed, and kept.  This was when a wardrobe had three categories–church clothes, school clothes, and play clothes–and when patches and holes in one’s clothing wasn’t an indication of affluence and a carefree existence.  It was when socks were darned.  Holes were neatly patched and mended, and ripping or tearing a new dress was devastating, since it was probably one of maybe two new dresses one started the school year wearing.

Shoes weren’t scuffed and shabby looking.  If the school shoes were saddle shoes, with either a black or brown patch in the middle and the heel, the white polish had to be carefully applied to cover any scuffs and black marks on the white parts of the shoe.  Since the sole edges were usually black, they had to be polished, as well.  Polishing saddle shoes required care in painting within the lines, because a sloppy job always required a “do-over” with a scolding about wasting polish.  Shoe laces were carefully removed and washed to return them to the pristine like-new whiteness

This was a time when having a box of sixty-four crayons was considered an “embarrassment of riches,” that required careful stewardship of those precious colors that included various shades of greens, blues, yellows, reds, and oranges.  Having a box of sixty-four crayons provided so many choices when coloring a book that featured Grace Kelly, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, and other famous movie stars, and was vital in creating a new wardrobe for the paper dolls that were carefully kept in the original book so they would remain flat.

Getting a coloring book and opening those markers, pens, and pencils seemed to shrink time back to a time when a box of “sixty-four” was exciting.  The only thing better than sixty-four crayons in a fabric roll is storing new colored pencils in a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer lunchbox, the perfect gift from a four-year-old to a gramma.

” Life is about using the whole box of crayons.”  Unknown

Author: Prairie Writer

No one could have predicted that a fourth generation native Coloradoan, in love with the mountains, would migrate east to the Southeast corner of Iowa; and fall in love with rolling hills and fields. Ten years ago, my husband, the woodsman, and I moved to the 200-acre farm he had inherited in the early 1990s; where we built our dream house over a span of five or six years. One of my hobbies is teaching! Although I retired over ten years ago from being a full-time geography teacher, the teaching bug continues to flow through my veins. I have found the perfect way to teach—substituting—where I enjoy teaching something different every day I’m called. My other hobbies include reading any and every thing; planning and planting our flower gardens; sewing; being “crafty” and creative; finishing furniture pieces crafted by the woodsman; and writing. I was the editor for a pictorial book about Van Buren County, the first year we lived in Iowa. Additionally, I wrote two weekly columns for the local newspaper for eight years. Now, I look forward to writing regular posts about living in the country with a cat, a dog, and a woodsman in my blog, “Turn Left At The Cornfield.”

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.