Friday, August 10, 2012

- Crayola Crayons

Today I went to print something out at work and someone had left a picture and a box of old crayons for us to color while we wait.
I think that's Thor.

The first crayon I saw in the box was spring green and just like that, a wave of nostalgia washed over me.

When I was young I had a babysitter named Nina.  She lived down the street and started watching me and Aaron shortly before Trevor was born.  Nina and her husband Poppa, or Piggy as she called him, quickly became like a third set of grandparents.  Every day after school I would get off the bus at her house and we would hang out there until Mom or Dad got off work.  One time, after I got off the bus, I decided to run to the house, but it had rained earlier and I slipped in the grass and busted it (or "floundered" as we call it in my family) in front of all the kids that were still on the bus.  I still remember the sting of embarrassment I felt that afternoon.

Nina was a big fan of coloring.  She had an old round tin filled with Crayola crayons and I remember how every time you opened it the smell of crayons would flood your senses.  It's funny to realize how smells are connected to your memories.  Nina had more coloring books than I can remember.  I'm pretty sure my coloring preferences at the time revolved around Barbie, but I distinctly remember a 'Twas the Night Before Christmas one that we did some of our best coloring in.

I always had a natural talent for coloring in the lines.  I think it was the second grade when I won a Halloween coloring yeah, I was pretty good.  But Nina took my coloring to a higher level.  She colored clouds white.  She meticulously outlined her shapes before coloring them in.  She always sharpened her crayons so she could get the details colored in while staying in the lines.  Grass wasn't just green - it was Green or Forest Green over the black lines in the grass with Spring Green filled in.

Looking into that box and seeing my old favorites: Lavender, Cornflower, Cadet Blue, and old Spring Green brought me right back to that kitchen table all over again.

And not just their kitchen table in the house down the street, but the one in their house that they moved to out in the "country" - or Castle Hayne.  It reminded me of how Poppa used to love to listen to Aaron sing and would call him "Bubba" and they would sing "Bubba Bubba, I've been thinking, what's gonna keep our feet from stinkin'?  And how we would spend time in their garden watching things grow.  Nina used to make pasta salad with tri-colored rotini, fresh cucumbers and tomatoes from the garden and italian dressing.  For lunch I ate a lot of Tic Tac Toes and pimento cheese sandwiches.  One time I got a stomach virus and threw up my entire lunch in the bathroom sink and Nina cleaned it up with her bare hands.  Then there was the time I choked on a Lifesaver and Poppa picked me up by my ankles and shook me upside down.  I used to watch All My Children with Nina.  When she would drive us back into "town" to our house we would listen to the radio and all sing together.

Trevor grew up at their house.  I remember driving out to pick him up after school and catching up with Nina and Poppa.  Now my family lives in the "country" too - a mere mile and a half from their house.  I used to walk down their street to Prince George Creek and skip rocks and watch the crabs run.  Now, that's where we put in the canoe or kayak to go for a paddle.

Our family dog when we were young was Misty - a fluffy white mutt who had a particular talent for jumping fences.  She was always my Dad's dog more than anyone else's and when she died, he took it the hardest.  For a long time after that he said that he didn't want another dog because he wasn't ready.  Then one day there was a beautiful black lab in the back of someone's truck and when my Dad commented on her, the owner said her name was Nina and that she was free to a good home.  It was shortly after our Nina had passed, and my dad felt like if ever he would be ready for another dog, one named Nina would do the trick.

Sometimes you just can't ignore how full circle life is, and if you try to - the smell of crayons will never let you forget.


Mams said...

Ahh such a sweet post. I still have the Night Before Christmas gigantic coloring book. You should color in it the next time you are home!

Skronsk said...

I loved Misty! I think about her all the time, ya know, working at the humane society and all.

One of my coworkers at the humane society is named 'Nina.' How crazy is that?

There's nothing quite like the waxy, Purple Mountain Majesty, Cerulean, Orange-Red, and Red-Orange aroma of nostalgia!

Laurie Elaine, Ph.D. said...

Cerulean was always one of my favorites - I really liked the way it looked with Jungle Green.