Monday, August 27, 2012

A Box of Crayons

When my son was six, some boys were making fun of him as we were leaving his karate class and walking towards the van.  He had tears in his eyes and asked me why he was so different?
He asked, "Mommy what is wrong with me?"

The first thing that came to my head was something I read from "All I really needed to know I learned in Kindergarten".  I simply cannot tell my story alone. There are others that are so eloquently written and deserve to be shared prior to mine.

A Box of Crayons
While walking in a toy store the day before today, 
I overheard a crayon box with many things to say.

“I don’t like red!” said yellow. And green said, “Nor do I!” 
And no one here likes orange, But no one knows quite why.

“We are a box of crayons That don’t really get along,” 
Said blue to all the others “Something here is wrong!”

Well, I bought that box of crayons And took it home with me 
And laid out all the crayons So the crayons could all see.

They watched me as I colored with red and blue and green
 and black and white and orange and every color in between.
They watched as green became the grass and blue became the sky. 
The yellow sun was shining bright on white clouds drifting by.

Colors changing as they touched, Becoming something new. 
They watched me as I colored. They watched till I was through.

And when I’d finally finished, I began to walk away. 
And as I did the crayon box Had something more to say...

“I do like red!” said the yellow and green said, “So do I!”
 “And blue you are terrific so high up in the sky.”
“We are a box of crayons each of us unique, 
but when we get together the picture is complete.”

Poem inspired by The Crayon Box that Talked, a story by Shane Derolf and Michael Letzig

Wouldn’t it be terrible? Wouldn’t it be sad? If just one single color was the color that we had? If everything was purple? Or red? Or blue? Or green? If yellow, pink, or orange was all that could be seen? Can you just imagine how dull our world would be if just one single color was all we got to see?

Small Wonders: Life and the Crayon box
...It sure would be convenient if things were black and white, if every decision and circumstance we come upon could be boiled down to a simple choice between A and B, with the obvious answer being made clear.
We do get those decisions on occasion — Slurpee over Icee, red zinfandel over white, Patron tequila over Jose Cuervo. But I'd say the majority of our choices and relationships are not black and white. Fate, chance and experience throw red, blue and burnt sienna at us too.
The world is a mosaic of struggles. Our relationships and personal situations are unique and convoluted. It's made that much more so because each one of us brings our own crayon box to the play date. You have the 64-color box with the built-in sharpener, and I only have the eight-count jumbo collection filled with dulled stubs. But I may have some colors you don't, some flavors and experiences that you already went through, or different colors that you've never seen before. And you, assuredly, have a few that I've never used on my canvas.
We can control only so much of what comes our way in the shrinking time we have; can only draw with the colors in our box. But if we're lucky, some other kids let us see inside their boxes, maybe even let us borrow a little part of them to take with us to use on our big picture. That's when we get to see just how brilliant a world can be when we stop seeing things in black and white alone.
Politics are magenta. Religion is desert sand. Justice is fuzzy wuzzy.The environment is forest green. Love is pink flamingo. Society is jazzberry jam. And friendships are raw umber.
We can live a life with only two crayons, surround ourselves only with those who agree with us, refuse to accept anything outside the lines we've drawn for ourselves, and toss from our lives those who don't. We can.
But something tells me that the world, and our brief passing through it, is made so much richer and worthwhile by drawing with other crayons once in a while, accepting each other for who we are and loving each other no less.
I've got a crayon on my desk... It's red-orange, a heartwarming combination of colors that are neither black nor white, but resembling earth, fire and time. And the smell of it takes me back to a place that I will never forget; a childhood and life filled with dreams and fond memories. I hope you like it. It's yours if you ever want to borrow it.
Life, packed in a box of crayons
 Sharron Sparks Boyle

Recent graduates have one thing in common. At one time, and not so many years ago, they knew that magic lives in a box of Crayons. It doesn’t matter if one is eight or eighty; the tinted wax sticks bring smiles, brightness and color to the world. Last week my granddaughter, a recent kindergarten graduate, and I carefully picked our favorite crayons to color a flower and a sky. Suddenly I remembered that magic. 

I realized how much the Crayons I have used from my earliest memories have painted my life, my thinking processes and who I am today. Modern writers have described how colors can impact self-image and direction in life. Musician and author Shel Silverstein’s verse “Colors,” goes like this: “My skin is kind of sort of brownish pinkish yellowish white. 

My eyes are grayish blueish green, But I’m told they look orange in the night. My hair is reddish blondish brown, but it’s silver when it’s wet. And all the colors I am inside have not been invented yet.”

Louis L’Amour stated, “All education is self-education. A teacher is only a guide, to point out the way, and no school, no matter how excellent, can give you education. What you receive is like the outlines in a child’s coloring book. You must fill in the colors yourself.”

As I sail along in life, I invent my own unique names for colors as I try to describe the fleeting glimpses of nature’s beauty. The harbors, bays, sounds and oceans I’ve crossed are full of color. The sunsets are phenomena of unparalleled beauty. Each day brings colors of deep blues and greens to bright pinks, oranges and aquamarines. Many of the colors are found in a box of Crayons. Palms, sea grapes, orchids and causarina pines also reflect the spectrum of greens, silvers, and browns created by the Crayon LLC.  

Underway, I create my own names for the ever-changing vistas. Imagine plows through the surf and I invent Sea Foam White. In my mind the color is a bubbly kind of white with tones of gray and green that ever so subtly give body to the color. Sometimes when the sun shines bright, the ocean appears almost purple, not quite the Violet Blue once found in a box of crayons, but more of a Dark Royal Purple Blue. I’ve yet to find the perfect color for the beautiful clear blue waters of the Bahamas. Perhaps Crayola could create a Bahamas Blue that would fit somewhere between Aquamarine, Jungle Green and Pacific Blue.

The magical world of Crayons began when cousins Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith founded a company to produce pigments for industrial use in New York City during 1885. 

Early products used red iron oxide for barn paint and carbon black chemicals to make car tires black. According to Wikipedia, the inexpensive black colorants earned the young company a gold medal at the 1900 Paris Exposition. Slate school pencils were added to the line later that year and soon after experiments with slate waste, cement and talc led to the first dustless white chalk, earning the company another gold medal at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.

The first boxes of Crayons made a debut in 1903 with an eight-color pack. Over time the variety of colors increased, reaching a high of 120 shades 95 years later in 1998. Since that time, Wikipedia states that while new colors have been added, the new hues always replace existing colors.    

Since 1958, 13 colors have been retired, (making a total of 133 colors over time) while others have been re-named.

Crayola retired Blue Gray, Lemon Yellow, Orange Red, Orange Yellow, Violet Blue, Maize, Green Blue, Raw Umber, Thistle, Blizzard Blue, Mulberry, Teal Blue and Magic Mint. Blue Gray and Orange Yellow were two of my favorites. As social awareness and sensitivity to cultural issues rose to the forefront, Crayola reinvented names for several of their colors. 

In 1962, Flesh became Peach for obvious reasons. suggests that 
perhaps the Civil Rights movement may have influenced that move. Indian Red created in 1958 to help fill the new 64-count box was changed to Chestnut in 1999. At the time the company warned children not to warm “this Chestnut over a fire,” as crayons melt at 105 degrees. Earlier Prussian Blue became Midnight to avoid political associations. 

Perhaps it was these changes that Robert Fulghum, author of “All I Really Needed to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten, thought of when he wrote, “We could learn a lot from crayons; some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, while others bright, some have weird names, but they all have learned to live together in the same box.”  

Even as adults many of us still love the smell and feel of Crayons. Both take us back to a time when life was simpler. My niece Sara, and her mother Nancy, recently used Crayons and a blow dryer to create melted Crayon posters. 

As I pick up each of my granddaughter’s crayons from the carousel where they stand like soldiers. I pull out the glasses to read the new colors, Jazzberry, Wild Blue Yonder and Dandelion and of course I have to try them out. 

My granddaughter colors thoughtfully beside me. I imagine the hues that she will chose to color within the outlines of her life. I hope she colors herself with tints of Kindness, Curiosity, Loyalty and Love, Courage, Steadfastness, Patience, and Charity. Thank you Smith and Binney.

The Crayon Wars
A Simple Box of Crayons
Ayngel Overson

An empty box of crayons lay forgotten upon the table. 
This, my friends, is the beginning of our little fable...

Red Versus Blue
This is right, and that is wrong, and thus we have reached an impasse, my friend.
You are so very stubborn, you will not break, you will not bend.
Though anyone could clearly see that the most important color is not you but me
You are as blind as any brick wall could ever hope to be.

Sir, you are mistaken, it is you that has been struck blind.
Blinded by your ignorance, blinded by your mind.
For what lies before you is as plain as the nose on your face,
though by your logic it could be a nose, but you would call it a vase.

A vase and a nose aren't all that different you see,
flowers seem to appeal to them both equally.
If logic is where your argument is based, then logic my friend is dead.
Anyone could plainly see you have but rocks in your head.

Me Versus You
Your way of spinning logic, to suit your own device,
leaves my head a-hurting, so here is my advice.
Look at the world around you, and imagine it with no Blue,
the skies, the water, the flowers, all devoid of my particular hue.

You sir are merely Red, a crass and angry color indeed,
the world can live without you; unless they want to bleed.
Anger, war, and violence flash in dark and bitter shades of you.
Look around the battlefield, you'll not find any Blue.

I am the blood, this much is true.
Anger, war, and violence are all devoid of Blue.
Yet blue is the color of sadness, of sorrow, and of pain.
Look among these awful things and you'll not find a red stain.

You forget the rose, my friend, though many colors it can bear.
Yellow, White,
Pink, and Orange, a colorful affair.
Yet only Red speaks of passion, of love, and emotion so divine.
You may have the sky and water, but passion is only mine.

What About Green?
They turned their backs to one another, their noses to the sky.
Each refusing to give an inch, move a muscle, bat an eye.
So firm they were in their mission,
neither noticed the approach of a new addition.
Gentlemen, gentlemen, stop this nonsense now. You are you, and he is he,
but where would the world be without the aid of me?
Green is the color of life, Green is the
grass, Green is the tree.
The world would be dead and Brown without the likes of me.

Black and White World
And what is wrong with Brown, I ask? With nature, wood, and earth?
I might not seem like much to you, but only I represent rebirth.
When winter comes and the other colors die, I remain.
I wait out the season patiently until it is time to bring life again.

Over in the corner, Black and White stood sullen and quiet.
More colors joined the battle, the crayons began to riot.
Each quite certain of their place, each refusing to budge from a single point of view.
Black looked at White and plead, "Whatever shall we do?"

A True Work of Art
White spoke up then, her voice clear, strong, and true.
Where would I be without each and every one of you?
When all of you are needed, how can we say only one is right?
The absence of light is darkness, the absence of darkness is light.

The world was not made to be viewed as merely Black or White,
It was not supposed to be us against them, each of you are right.
The world was made for Red, the world was made for Blue,
and Green, and Brown, and Orange, and every other hue!

Where Have We Gone Wrong?
The crayons lowered their heads and shuffled off to sleep.
Inside their box they settled down, a chastised flock of sheep.
Only Black and White remained outside watching their children rest.
Black asked, "Where did we go wrong? Have we not done our very best?
All of them are different, but they are also all the same.
Why do they attack the differences, passing on the blame?
Where have we gone wrong, when they refuse to see what is right?
We are all the same in darkness, why can't we all be equal in light?"

Life is a box of crayons 
by JoAnn Yohn

Two vibrant pinterest pages:

Life is about using the whole box of crayons

Life is a box of crayons

DIY Melted Crayon Heart Art

Muffin crayons

Glittered heart crayons:

And finally, my own story as my son remembered:

Imagine yourself as a crayon.
Every crayon is different, but yet they all go into the same box.
Some crayons are very popular and the point is completely gone.
Some are bright, some have a perfect point.
Some are small pieces.
There are crayons that have the paper removed.
There are some crayons that have longer names.

Every crayon is different
It doesn't matter.

What does matter is that you are a crayon.
You fit in that box.
How you fit is up to you.
How you look at yourself is up to you.
If you think you are a broken crayon, then you will be a broken crayon and feel sorry for yourself forever.
If you are not the most popular color, that is okay because not all crayons are popular.
Be happy with what you are.
Make what you are work for you, because you are a crayon.
Some boxes have eight and some have over 100.
Each crayon is perfectly beautiful just as they are.

I did tell him he had Asperger's disorder that day.
I told him that it was truly a gift.
He told me it didn't feel like one at that particular moment.
My heart was hurting, it was something that needed to be said.
I didn't know what the future held.

He had to work harder and learn things differently.   
Through the years, he realized how his brain worked and this became his strength.

He was able to "visualize" the crayon story and he chose to live it!
He turned out to be one of the best crayons ever! 

He is a one of a kind - the rarest crayon in the world.  There is no other like him.  They broke the mold after he was born and I wouldn't trade him for the world!

This post is in honor of him.
He left the other day for college.  
My heart aches.  

I loved everything about raising him.
From the first time I held him in my arms and kissed his little baby face until our hug in the dorm. 

I am so blessed to have had the experience of raising him.  
I love him beyond mere words could ever say.

Yes Billy - life is like a box of crayons, no matter which way you tell it,  my version included.  However, it is how you choose to look at it, that matters the most!  I love you!

Thanks for reading!

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