Crayon basket – #atozchallenge

C is for Crayon basket. Third of twenty-six posts in the April 2017 Blogging From A to Z Challenge on the theme “Whispering Chimneys: My Altamont childhood” — where my genealogy journey began. Wish me luck! 

Today’s coloring craze is all about taking time out with a meditative practice that sparks creativity.

Thanks to the crayon basket and my babysitter Lois, I took a deep dive into this practice at about age six.

I’m not sure where the crayon basket came from. Maybe it was an old Easter basket that became too small for a growing toddler —  or possibly it once held one of my grandmother’s African violets.

Crayon basket. When other forms of entertainment failed, my parents or grandparents would get out the crayon basket and coloring books. Photo: Molly Charboneau

But I still remember its tight wicker weave, gingham lining and small handle — easy for a child to carry — and the wonderful waxy smell of well-used crayons.

Crayons of last resort

When other forms of entertainment failed, my parents or maternal grandparents — who lived with us — would turn to the crayon basket and coloring books. And when they went out, my babysitter Lois showed me how coloring should be done.

Lois lived with her mom in a house on triangle of land where two roads intersected. We passed her enchanted abode — green with vines and shadowed by trees — on our weekly Sunday drives to St. Madeline Sophie Church.

Sometimes I rode along when my grandmother picked Lois up — always happy that she was coming to babysit. Lois was quiet and unassuming with a touch of gray in her hair. Best of all, she colored like a true artist!

Coloring master class

“Let’s get the crayon basket,” were the magic words that transformed me from a raucous youngster to a rapt pupil as Lois thoughtfully selected her coloring book page and began.

When I colored, the crayon lines showed or I had spots that were darker than the rest.  But not Lois.

She slowly and patiently filled in each space with completely even swaths of color — never a waxy buildup, never a stray mark outside the lines, never a section missed.

“How do you do that?” I’d ask her, eager to learn the technique.

“Watch carefully,” Lois would reply, her mesmerizing hand moving back and forth — evenly distributing the flawless color and teaching me how it was done.

Up next: D is for Dandelion wine: An ancestral brew. Please stop back!

© 2017 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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14 thoughts on “Crayon basket – #atozchallenge”

  1. I love the idea of a crayon basket and I’m going to look in the basement at my saved baskets and choose one – the granddaughters will love it! I’ll have to show them my way of coloring – of staying in the lines. LOL

  2. We had a crayon basket when I was growing up, and so did my grandmother. I wonder if I could still find that crayon basket at my parents house. To be a truly neat colorer, one does need some patience.

    1. It must have been a trend among grandmothers! I think one of my brothers ended up with our original crayon basket. Good luck finding yours…and with the A to Z Challenge.

    1. I’m totally with you on the crayons — along with the rough consistency of those coloring book pages. Thanks for your visit!

  3. I remembering coloring when I was young and loving it. I also seem to remember the older I got, the less artistic I was! 🙂 I am very much an inside-the-lines kinda gal.

    I was also a babysitter, and I don’t remember the color game working that well for me.

    1. Inside of the lines is not necessarily a bad thing — particularly in graphic art, where precision is important. I’m with you on the babysitting, though. Once television hit its stride, crayons seemed to lose their allure among the younger generation.

    1. Glad to hear it! I’ve tried the “new coloring” and find it enjoyable — though for deep relaxation nothing beats meditation. Thanks for visiting!

  4. Her technique sounds very calm and methodical but your sort of messy one was probably more artistic. I remember the joy of getting a new box of 48 crayons and a new coloring book way back when.

    Finding Eliza

    1. Good point! Truth be told, I never did learn to color exactly like Lois. But observing her technique is my earliest memory of taking an interest in art.

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