Unwriting The Unwritten Rules

With a set of jacks, a hopscotch marker, and a jump rope in hand, entire afternoons could pass before anyone thought to say, “I’m bored.”

While we envied the skill of the Double-Dutching older girls, we took our turns at the single rope and were content. Pigtails and ponytails flying, we jumped to rhymes still known today: “Teddy Bear,” “Spanish Dancer,” “Cinderella.”

We giggled at verses filled with favorite beaus, kissing, marriage, and baby carriages, but the rhymes weren’t freighted with adult meaning. Their short, easily memorized lines were nothing more than markers for the entrance and exit of jumpers from the ropes. Continue reading

Evangeline Memories

For weeks I’ve watched my blogging friend Proserpina entice her readers into accepting a simple concept – color-based blogs – and encourage them to help create a rich and expressive tapestry of personal preference. “Here is a color,” she says. “Here are its qualities. Here are some references to it in history and the arts. Does it remind you of something? How do you feel about it? How has it decorated your life?”  

Such simple questions, and yet the answers she receives build one upon another to form patterns of exquisite complexity. Readers contribute images of famous paintings, or their grandchild’s refrigerator art. They bring limericks and literature, poetry, personal photographs of beloved objects, memories from days of long-past travel and dreamscapes from journeys yet to come.

With each new color, discoveries are made. When Proserpina designated “Blue” as her first color, I was a bit disappointed. I’ve always considered blue to be my least favorite color and yet as images, videos and snippets of literature were posted, I realized “blue” is too general a term. While I dislike the primary blue of the color wheel, powder blue baby blankets, navy blue and electric blue, I wear denim and covet turquoise jewelry. I’ve reveled in the azure, aqua and cerulean of Carribbean waters and will sit for hours watching the smokey indigo of disappearing sunsets. Clearly, there are distinctions to be made. Continue reading

Crayola ~ Marketing or Madness?


In my previous post, Free the Oxford English 47,156,  I spoke of the beauty of language and the power inherent in a vibrant and wide-ranging vocabularly.  Characterizing language as a palette used by writers to represent reality as surely as Cezanne, Klee or O’Keefe transformed their canvases with color, I suggested a direct relationship between visual arts and the envisioning which every reader enjoys as the pages and paragraphs pass.    Jeanie of The Marmalade Gypsy responded by saying,  “I find  (language as a palette) a beautiful and fascinating concept. There are so many variations of color, and when they blend together, even more. Why say “blue” when azure or teal or slate might tell the story better?  

In her own spell-bound rendering of a late winter sunset, View from the Third-Storey Window says,   “The magic, of course, is color and at least from this window it is brief, intense, and unusual. It is sky-blue-pink. Take those tints right out of the old Crayola box–the one with 64 upright crayons and the sharpener on the outside– “sky blue” and “pink.” Let them swirl and blend, dodging the occasional cloud, yet remain distinct. Try not to let them morph into purple. No hint of gold or yellow remains; the sun is already gone. Sky-blue-pink. Say it as a single word; see it as a single hue.”

All  this talk about color reminds me of a discovery I made last year during the  50th anniversary of Crayola’s famous 64-count box.  Introduced in 1958, the limited edition “50th Birthday Box” contained eight new colors, with names that were created after input from nearly 20,000 youngsters. In a news release announcing the 2008 “Kids Choice Colors” Crayola provided an interpretation of their meaning through their company representatives.  Here’s that interpretation, as reported in businesswire.com:

“Just like professional color experts who predict the year’s hot hues, kids across the country had the chance to voice their own opinion and pick the colors they felt were “in” for 2008. They were invited to participate in an online survey at Bonus.com where they were asked about the things they value and are most interested in. Next,they said what those things would look like as a color and then zoomed in on the shade within each color family (red, blue, green, yellow, brown, pink, orange and purple) that they felt was the coolest. The result? A collection of eight colors was created that draw on everything from kids wanting to play their part in protecting the planet to believing that they can become famous just like the everyday people who achieve stardom on reality shows.”

The 2008 “Kids Choice Colors” include:

“super happy” — Kids don’t want to worry, they just want to be happy — “super happy” — as their color says and they wish the same for others, too.

“fun in the sun” — Riding bikes, playing soccer, skateboarding, and gymnastics – kids said this color means exercise and keeping fit are important … and fun!

“giving tree” — It’s a colorful truth that kids are thinking green, too, and want to play a part in protecting the Earth.

“bear hug” — A hue of harmony as kids want their homes to feel warm and loving just like a great big bear hug.

“awesome” — Means kids think school is cool and getting good grades feels awesome.

“happy ever after” — Kids want to make a difference and create Cinderella moments for others, so everyone’s story has a happy ending.

“famous” — American Idol and shows like it inspired this hue, as kids believe they can become celebrities just like everyday people who become stars.

“best friends” — This shade of purple reveals who kids’ real BFFs are – their parents – and spending time with them is what they enjoy most.

Or so say the marketing gurus at the Crayola Corporation. Continue reading