There are ordinary objects, items, products in my life that I will always associate with; they are rooted in my childhood, engraved in memories of my Mother, some are part of day to day activities and experiences that continue today and some have long been absent from my life.
Examples, we had soft drinks delivered in wooden cases to our house in Panama, delivered by the Coca Cola truck, all were Coke products.
When I was young we always drank Coca Cola and Fanta ! Crest toothpaste and Tide Soap for the laundry always present in our house in Altos del Golf. We enjoyed Estrella Azul Vanilla Ice Cream and Brown Derby's from the Dairy Queen. Philadelphia Cream Cheese, the one and only cream cheese that continues with a presence in the fridge today. My Mom had shopping privileges at the PX in the Panama Canal Zone, so we had treats like Scooter Pies. And Milo, in the shiny green container, this was a significant staple in our pantry in Panama.
One item I did not experience when I was growing up in Panama, crayons. Crayola Crayons to be exact. In Panama we used color pencils at school and at home for any art or coloring projects. I am not sure why, not sure if Crayons were not easily available in Panama, or if pencils were the norm.
I became very aware of crayons when I first visited the Mawuvio's school in Ghana in 2011 and I observed the children coloring with joy and enthusiasm that was palpable.
Their interest in all the colors, their interest in ensuring that they are able to color with all the selections possible, their joy in wearing the crayons down to the smallest size and still able to work between their fingers - it was wonderful to observe and be part of that simple joy.
And yes some of the children color with order and stay within the lines, some color in erratic patterns, the boundaries of any shape or form on the page, nothing that matters or make sense to them.
Their goal to transform the page and/or picture into a creation of their own, letting their imaginations play, wonder, and have fun. Some of their favorite subjects to draw and color: suns, moons, stars, trees, birds, dogs, cars, guns, flowers, hearts, crosses, soldiers, soccer balls, planes, helicopters, houses, stick figures of boys and girls and the Ghana flag.
I am going to Ghana in two weeks and I'm taking a supply of new Crayola Crayons. Certainly not a "must have" item for the school, but a must have item for the creative energy and artistic possibilities in all of the children. There is an inherent freedom of expression that comes with coloring, with creating a visual of colors and shapes that excite and that they can call their own.
While the actual coloring activity is momentary, over time, the exercise of individual expression, the experience of owing the interpretation of colors, of how their tiny worlds today can be imagined in different and unique ways; a wonderful opportunity for them to enjoy, imagine and create.
Thanks to Monica and Carla I am packing 2 boxes of Crayola Crayons. They are the ultimate Crayola Caddy, 304 crayons total, 2 sharpeners and all the Crayola colors available today. I will be sure to take some photos of the artwork and post.
I had no idea that crayons had been around for so long, 112 years, since 1903.
The first box included 8 crayons, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, brown and black. It sold for 5 cents. The Crayola named coined by Edwin Binney's wife, Alice. "Craie" is the french word for chalk and "ola" from the word oleaginous. The link below provides more information and photos on all things Crayola Crayons.