Okay, I know you

Okay, I know you were all waiting for this with baited breath. It is :
The Story of Brick Red

A day or so into first grade, my teacher gave the class a coloring assignment, wherein we had to color each part of the picture and assigned color. This was cool with me, though a bit backward. I had been drawing with my dad as soon as I could hold a crayon in my chubby little hand. We owned one or two coloring books, but had very little use for them. My real delight came in the form of newsprint sheets the size of a six-year-old, and a gallon bucket of crayons. Coloring in a pre-drawn picture with pre-selected colors wasn't prime, but it sure beat learning math.

The required school supply was a 24 box of crayons. My parents, bless their hearts, had provided me with the Crayola 64 box, with built-in sharpener. I was in love with it. I especially loved the selection of deep hues. I preferred "brick red" to plain red, red-orange to plain orange, "maize to plain yellow, "pine green" to plain green, and "midnight blue" to plain blue and blue-violet to plain purple. However, I still recognized that while the hue might be slightly different, the color was still the color. So when the instructions asked for red, blue, green etc., I used my favorite versions of those colors.

As I was blissfully coloring away, my teacher suddenly swooped down upon me, accusing me of using the wrong colors. This was a woman who terrified me under good circumstances. She had a harsh voice, sensible shoes, a helmet of hair, and a perpetual scowl. I was positive that she was actually the Wicked Witch of the West. ("I'll get you my pretty...") School was a completely new thing to me after the freedom of years at home, and I was shy and scared and afraid of doing something wrong. I tried to explain myself, to justify myself. She told me I was only supposed to have 24 crayons. Fear, shame and anger spilled over into tears. Tears spilled over into hysterics when she yelled at me to stop crying. In short order my six-year-old self was cooling down and hiccuping in the principal's office.

When my tale of woe reached my parents, they were both indignant and amused. My father, the artist, found it particularly ridiculous. There were calls to the school, parental discussions, and then a gentle edict that I limit my color experiments to my free time, and stick with the basic colors for assignments. This was only the first of many instances of my parents going to bat for me and my siblings versus the suits at school, a trend that continued until my brother got out of high school. (Unless you count my Mom vs. the Webster University financial aid office when my sister was in college.)

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This page contains a single entry by Kayjayoh published on March 22, 2002 10:55 PM.

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