Changing Colors

Changing Colors

At my desk in front of me is a never been used, fresh box of 64 different brilliant non-toxic Crayola Crayons with the built-in sharpener. I store them in my equally brilliant Crayola crayon box that has pictures of happy animated smiling crayons on the cover and a white rectangle name-tag space that says THIS BOX BELONGS TO: and I scrawled my name in permanent marker- Wendi.

That box of crayons is mine and I’m not sharing.

Oh…by the way…hidden in my closet where none of my kids can find it, I also have the eight Crayola color crayons that were retired in 1990 and are in the Collector’s Colors Limited Edition Collection. I’m not sharing them either.

This drives my kids crazy. (Well, my oldest two are used to me by now, but the youngest two have a ways to go) They are still of the belief that the minute you get a new box of crayons you should color with them until you have worn down all of the sharp uniform points and then run them through that tempting built-in sharpener ripping off the little bits of paper as you go until all of the crayons are short, naked, broken, discarded and none of the colors in the four cardboard boxes match up anymore or have any rhyme or reason to them and the box itself looks as if it has been flung on to a battlefield and lost.

Desecration of the crayon boxes happens all over the world. It is particularly rampant in September when less then reverent children get their new fresh crayon boxes to go back to school with all of their other school supplies. For one or two glorious giddy days, they fawn over their new prized possessions as if school supplies held the keys to all knowledge of mankind. Then, before the first homework assignments have been handed out, the shiny glow has worn off and the supplies, the markers, colored pencils and the forgotten crayons have been flung to the bottom of the desks and lockers to become part of the dreaded nightmare that is their education. It’s just all part of the stuff.

I was NOT that child.

The smell of a fresh box of crayons was and still is like the greasepaint for an actor on stage. The hope of 64 Crayola possibilities and the endless combinations and dreams that imagination could create was a fire ignited that raged with enthusiasm through out my entire being. It was the beginning of a spark that spread into a love of discovery and wonder and took in all that I learned to associate with school.

I loved school.

I loved September because September meant going to school. Not back to school. I never thought of it as going back to school. In my mind, it was moving forward in school. Advancing on a path to the next great adventure, the next door opening, the next road taken. A kaleidoscope of choices, of places to hear about, a world that unfolded before my eyes chapter by chapter, year by year.

And when each year would pause for the summer break, I was the strange and different child who would cry, sad and heartbroken, as if to discover that all of the crayons in the box were broken. I couldn’t wait for my new box of crayons and my school supplies to come and the adventure to begin again.

My school bus days are long behind me now. Except for the children of my own that get on them. Still…every year…at the first change of color in the leaves, the first hint of coolness in the breeze, a part of me yearns for a fresh box of crayons, my own new school supplies and new classes to get those learning juices going again. Even as the playfulness of summer is still fresh in my mind there is another part of me, the perpetual student, heading off to the bookstore for new books to read, thirsting for knowledge, chomping at the bit for the next discovery in the chapter of life.

It’s almost September. The Labor Day Weekend will be here soon with celebration, family and good friends. Early this morning, I took out my own fresh journal that I felt compelled to buy and began writing down new lists, new beginnings. It’s the start of a new time of year after all. Time to begin again, wipe the slate clean. Start fresh…with a new box of possibilities…

I come up to the office and I open up the box. It has been sitting here waiting for me, as I knew it would. Just as it has been for the last several years. I carefully lift open the top and peek inside.  Every crayon point is poised and ready. Every crayon in its original space. As if to say…In case of emergency…Color Here. I inhale deeply the aroma of paraffin wax and paper and shiver slightly as that childhood thrill brings a smile. My own box of possibilities. Ready any time I need it. Every day. 64 ways to begin again…with endless combinations…as far as my dreams, imaginations and desire to learn will take me.

It’s never too late.

What will September bring for you?

Comments

  1. I LOVE this post! I was another little kid like you and grew up to be a mom who surreptitiously reorganized my kids’ crayon boxes to put the proper colors back together in each little brown box. I’ve just gone back to college to finish a bachelor’s degree I started 32 years ago…and I was like a kid in a candy shop when I wandered from store to store to find the perfect, bright & colorful, school supplies—all of them just for ME!
    Jill Colorfulheart\’s last post… Mini Art — Number 9

  2. Lol, Jill,

    I have an obsession with reorganizing the colors. And the smell. I LOVE the way crayons smell. No matter how old I get, back to school means a fresh box of 64 crayons.

    Glad you stopped by!

  3. Wendi – We are so alike! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE office supplies in any bright colors … and even more so I love crayons and markers — When we buy art supplies, I get the crayons, markers, and sharpies for the kids, AND an entire second set just for me, that always stay organized, in the boxes, and hidden!
    Jennifer Bourn\’s last post… Are your social media choices making you look like a jerk?

  4. Wendi, reading this brought me a little slice of happiness! You took right back to the excitement of back to school shopping and getting all those bright shiny objects! What’s the lesson for us business owners? Maybe some fun supplies can make dull projects more fun. Here’s to September!
    Elaine Wellman\’s last post… WHAT I LEARNED FROM AN ASSISTED LIVING WAITRESS ABOUT SERVING MY DAD AND MY CLIENTS

    • Elaine,

      I have another post somewhere, called, “If it’s not Fun, Why are You Doing it?” And it’s so true! We began the lives of entrepreneurs to feed our souls and creative passions, and then sometimes along the way, our passions take a backseat to drudge. Crayons and color and creativity remind us to feed our inner playground. The place where ideas are born.

  5. Wendi, this post just made me smile. I live very near the Crayola Factory and tour it often when guests come to visit. At the end of the tour you watch them make a fresh batch of crayons and then you get a crisp, sharp new crayon to take home. It never ceases to make me happy as can be. Here’s to a classic 64 for every entrepreneur, writer, artist and business person. . .every September.
    Cindy Ratzlaff\’s last post… Speaking as a Marketing Strategy – Brand You

    • Oh man, Cindy, if I lived near the Crayola Factory, that would be like living near Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory for me. Look out crayola version’s of everlasting gobstoppers. I’d be all over the everlasting crayon that never needing sharpening. Could you even imagine?

      They should invent it. Seriously. Like… right now.

  6. Wendi, I loved school too. My husband and my sister and, well, pretty much everyone who knew me then, makes fun of me. But I don’t care! I have to say, though, I do not have the willpower to hold on to things (without using them) like a new box of crayons…Good for you:)
    Kerry Swetmon\’s last post… Procrastination and Prioritization in Sales

    • Oh, but Kerry, it HAS to stay untouched! That’s the magic! But don’t worry, I have another box that is very, very well worn. But still- every color has to go back in its right-full place. And no…. no… I do not wash my hands a million times a day or count the lightswitch every time I flip it off. This only pertains to crayons. :)

  7. The new box of 64!!!! Oh…those were the days. I used to wrestle the entire box from my little brother (a classic crayon user/abuser/descecrator lol) just so I could organize each section by color (in my classic OCD way lol)…

    I think you and Cindy Ratzlaff are definitely onto something… a new box every September! I was like Jennifer Bourn, buying extra sets for my Self last week while back to school shopping at Staples for my 7th grade girl. And Elaine Wellman is right, too that fun supplies can brighten up any marketer’s day.

    Wendi, you totally hit a nerve and hit the jackpot with this post! Thank you so much for the memories and for reminding us that work can be creative fun and vice versa!
    Pamela Wills\’s last post… Turn Around, Already

    • You know what crayons and a blank sheet of paper can do? They can help your brain meditate and dump out problems, creative solutions, sticky, wicky issues that you never even knew were stuck in the shadows of your mind.

      If you ever want to try something cool, try this: Put on some soothing, or interesting music, get out your usable box of 64, make one of those abstract interesting doodle swirls with a black permanent (or any color) marker, than relax somewhere comfy with a glass of goodness and proceed to empty your mind and fill in the spaces. Your mind opens up and goes to amazing places.

      Tip for creatives: Keep that journal and pen close by, :)

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