Crayons and Heroin


Perhaps you are thinking right now, “Oh, yes. Of course, today she will write about You’ve Got Mail, and the email address Tom Hanks chooses based on his street address in New York City. And while I do think I could write a fairly decent thesis on this, it’s not today’s topic.

152. This is how many Crayons are in my Ultimate Crayon Collection. I am 34 years old, and I am beside myself over this collection of crayons. 152!

They are arranged in a carousel, all lined up like a rainbow choir. I can see them all at one time, and there is no rifling through a box of riffraff in order to find the purity of what I need. I can choose the lemon yellow, and I can leave its empty spot like a missing tooth in that row. I can work my way down the row, testing and trying each color – from Outer Space to Goldenrod – and then carefully placing each little student back in her assigned seat.

When I was in third grade, my brother was in kindergarten. And I went to his classroom every morning before the bell rang so I could organize his crayons. I’m not even kidding. I have a system, people. Clearly, he did not. Since I had repairs to make every blasted day.

And now I have a new collection. 1. 5. 2.

For days, I’ve carried this carousel with me everywhere I went. And I wish I were kidding, but I’m not… I brought it in the car with me, just in case I should have the chance or opportunity or need to color. But then I worried that maybe they would melt in the sun on the front seat of the car. So I covered them with a sweater, one I could have actually been wearing on chilly afternoons, but such is the sacrifice I was willing ot make. There was something nearly intoxicating about the sight and smell of their ice cream cone shape with the flat top.

There are colors that I love for their names. Periwinkle. Granny Smith Apple. Purple Mountains Majesty. Macaroni and Cheese. Almonds. Olive green. Dandelion. Bittersweet. Purple Heart. Piggy Pink. Inchworm. Tumbleweed.

Oh, to sit at the idea table and brainstorm names for these beauties. Just to say them! I mean, I’m seriously a little over the top right now.Crayons For Painting For Children

There are colors I love just because of their pure beauty. Turquoise blue. Plum. Electric lime. Fuzzy Wuzzy. Mountain Meadow.

And there are colors I love because I have always loved them. Red, my very first favorite. Carnation pink, my love because I could read and spell carnation. Cadet Blue, because it was just the perfect blue for a sailboat that I clearly remember drawing. Burnt Sienna, because it was the color I associated with all things Native American when I was in kindergarten. I don’t know why. Gray because I remember discovering how beautiful it looked next to Carnation Pink, even though I would later insist on changing the vowel in its name.

I finally – and a bit relunctantly, only because they are brand new for just a short window of time and then the perfection is gone – opened the box today and actually began to color.

“Mommy, can I color with you?”

Perhaps you felt your heart jump into your throat right now. Or maybe the leap of my own heart was dramatic enough for all of us. My crayons? Share… my crayons? But they’re my crayons. They’re mine.

And he doesn’t know my system. He’ll move people all around in there, not seating them with their families, and crowding nine in a row like six toes on a foot.

I mean, for crying out loud, he’s the child who has the Crayola Melt ‘n Mold Factory for crayons that are broken and tossed aside, while I am the woman who tries ever-so-hard to keep the pristine shape and I would rather replace a crayon than peel back it’s paper. What? And leave it naked? I think not.

I let him color with me. We finished the page together. And I gave up my need for control by breaking the patterns and coloring outside the lines. Even coloring in different directions sometimes… or at least letting him be so reckless.

And then I put him to bed and colored in solitude.

Perhaps crayons are the closest I will come to heroin.

Tricia Lott Williford

Comments are closed

  1. Dear sister, are you implying that gray should be spelled grey? If so, we are truly kindred spirits!!

  2. I can relate. And just for the record, my crayons are in a separate location from everyone else’s in our home.

  3. At almost 60 I have only recently discovered the world of adult colouring books, and a short while ago a friend directed me to Dover where I discovered hundreds of options. Since the highest mark I ever got in art was a C-, and I love colour, I find colouring a wonderful outlet (and much less expensive than quilting :-).
    That said, I’m wondering if I’ve made a mistake. I recently purchased new coloured pencils and a fine point marker collection because of the coverage.
    Seems like I might be missing out on something wonderful in the world of crayons.
    Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone.

  4. I also love brand new crayons! They are gorgeous and smell so fun and innocent to me. It’s hard to share, but the picture turns out beautiful when more than one heart helps.

  5. You were kind enough to share your box. I do not.

    I lust after the carousel of 152 crayons and settled for the box of 96 that I keep in my bedroom away from the kids, 7, 6, 4.

    Aside from the enjoyment of coloring with crayons I love the smell of a freshly opened box of crayons and am one that also passes the box when they have lost their shape.

    Robbins egg blue, tickle me pink, and periwinkle are among my go to colors. Carnation pink with Gray is always the prefect match.

    Glad to know I’m in good company 🙂

  6. Tricia have you read “The Day the Crayons Quit”? You’ll love it!
    Debbie, mother of a 26, 31, 32 year old kids.

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