Thursday, September 21, 2023

First Day Blues (and Reds and Yellows and Greens and Purples and ...)

 I'm still reminiscing about school days and every year when school starts up, I always reflect upon my own "dear old golden rule days" back in the 1970's.  Throw in this recent find, and I'm instantly transported back to my first day of school at Point Elementary in South St. Louis County, Missouri.

This pre-UPC code box of 64 Crayons (with Built-In Sharpener) brings to mind an event that happened on my first day of school.  If only I had a photo with which to illustrate my story... Oh! I do!  Thanks, Mom!

This is my sister and me.  She was going into 4th grade and I was starting Kindergarten.

As you can see, I'm excited.  I'm dressed sharply, I have a fresh bowl-cut hair-do and I have my nap mat in hand. I only had 1/2 day Kindergarten, so I'm not sure why we needed to nap.  My sister has her yarn hair ribbons in place, a new outfit and purse, a notebook and a brand new box of 48 Crayola Crayons (64 was too extravagant for my family. Who needs all those colors?!)

When the bus arrived, I eagerly boarded with my sister.  As I mentioned in my previous post, school was up the road less than a mile away, so we were there in a couple minutes.  After disembarking from the bus, we were lined up in the playground and directed to different entrances.  Suddenly, my sister was no longer by my side.  She was going in a door on the opposite side of the playground from me.  Teachers were shuffling our line along toward the entrance and suddenly I panicked.  I ran across the playground to my sister, colliding with her and knocking all 48 (no less than 47) crayons out of her hands strewing them across the ground. My sister started crying and yelling at me (not necessarily in that order). I don't recall if a teacher corraled me or if my sister's yelling drove me back to my entrance.  I remember nothing else of that day, but still have a clear vision of those crayons laying on the ground on that fateful day.

If I had looked closely, I might have seen these colors that are no longer available. Most of these colors were retired in 1990:

Why were these colors retired? According to a Crayola spokesperson:
“We picked out the colors that the kids wanted us to put in the box, and then we had to decide which ones to pull out and which ones had other colors that were fairly close to them already,”

I have to admit, the inclusion of both orange-yellow and yellow-orange as well as orange-red and red-orange always baffled me. 

"Indian Red", which every child in America thought was intended to be used for coloring Native Americans in their "Cowboys & Indians" coloring books, was retired in 1999 due to this misconception.  It was actually named after a dye found in India.

One other color change was made in 1962 when "flesh" became "peach" (for obvious reasons).  This box has "peach", so it is post 1962.

Like these colors, my memories of school are slowly fading.  But thinking back on that day, I don't feel too bad for my sister.  Consider it revenge for the time she asked me if I wanted to play "52-card Pickup".


  1. The other removals make sense, but no "Lemon Yellow"?? how are kids supposed to color in the lemons on lemon trees, or pictures of lemonade? Or the SUN, for pete's sake?? As for the need for a nap on the half-day, i don't think the nap was for you, it was to give the poor teacher a break! She probably needed to go out and have a cigarette after dealing with 20-odd kindergarteners for a couple hours.

    1. >no "Lemon Yellow"??
      I distinctly recall finding uses for that color as well.
      > it was to give the poor teacher a break!
      She never got a break from me. I never fell asleep. I also was never selected for being the quietest napper to "wake" everyone else up.

    2. i was just thinking: do you remember your teacher's name? i remember my kindergarten teacher's name (Mrs. Crane), but i have no other specific memory of her other than i liked her. she seemed old to me, but i bet she was not. i actually remember nothing more about kindergarten than that, lol.

    3. > do you remember your teacher's name
      Yes: Mrs. Richter. She was legally blind or at least had very poor eyesight. I remember her yelling at me for not coloring an area that I had, but in yellow. I don't think she could see it. I recall a few things about Kindergarten. I remember playing barrel of monkeys with a girl and a ride-on toy that I was never able to play with because someone always grabbed it first at recess and wouldn't get off until recess was over. I also remember I was never called upon to wake up the other students after napping. Oh, and I remember them bringing cartons of milk to the room around 10 a.m. every day. I actually remember quite a bit.

  2. Love the typical big sis smug expression on her face--Glad you were able to knock her down a few pegs--er, crayons.

    What's in the envelope? First day of school, and already making with the "Epstein's mother" excuse notes.

    1. >Glad you were able to knock her down a few pegs--er, crayons.
      She probably knocked me down a few pegs when she go home that day. Come to think of it, that may be why I don't remember anything else about that day...
      >What's in the envelope
      I wondered that myself. I'm guessing maybe vital information (Name, address, contact info, etc.) although I'd be surprised they'd trust that with me.


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