Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A 6th Grade Adventure...


Did you know that the color Sea Green is only available in the 64 Crayola box? That's the one with the built-in sharpener on the back. How do I know this? Well, it's not a long story, and I feel like relating it today.

It was 1961. I was in Mr. Miller's 6th grade class at Randall Elementary School in Independence, Missouri. Our assignment was to create a world map. My partner in this project was my best friend, James Johnson.

Mr. Miller gave us a sheet of paper that was about three feet high and six feet wide. He instructed up to draw all of the continents, then all of the countries within those continents, and to color them in any manner we wished. We began drawing and in a short time had located all the continents. Then the work started involving drawing in all the countries. But by the end of the week, we had everything penciled in and had started coloring the countries in a variety of hues.

It took a little time the following week to get everything colored. Plus there was a bit of planning involved when you had several countries that were adjacent to each other so that you didn't have two bordering countries ending up in the same color. By the end of the week we were finished. And it looked great, too! Then James came up with the idea that has since become known as The Sea Green Fiasco. He suggested we color the ocean. I was against it since it would require additional time and effort. But James was persistent, and he painted a rosy picture of how great it would look. So I finally agreed. Obviously, if you're coloring the ocean, there is no other color choice that seems nearly as appropriate as Sea Green.

Since James and I both had 64 Crayola boxes, the only product containing Sea Green, we began filling the massive white area on our map that comprised the watery part of the world. Those two crayons had short lives. They didn't last long enough to complete the Atlantic. It was at about that time I began to realize that we had made a huge blunder and I should have stuck to my guns about leaving the ocean white. Based on the amount of square inches we had covered with the two crayons, a quick calculation in my head told me we were going to need more Sea Green crayons than were currently available in North America in order to finish this map.

But there was no choice but to continue. We were committed now, and we couldn't erase the Sea Green that we'd already scribbled on the paper. So the quest began for other students whose parents had purchased the 64 Crayola box for them. There weren't many in our class. There weren't many more in the entire school. But we finally managed to scrounge up four more of the precious wax sticks in the right color. We used them sparingly, and the intensity of the color lightened as we expanded beyond where our two personal crayons had taken us.

At last, the project was completed when we exhausted the last of the Sea Green crayons. Unfortunately, there was still a white, circular area the size of a grapefruit in the lower right corner. James told the teacher the white circular area represented the moon. This was news to me, so I just nodded when Mr. Miller gave me his questioning look. He bought it.

I often wonder whatever happened to that map. And to James.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Memories. wonderful memories. Wish we could go back sometimes.. .but thankful for memories we are creating now and in the future. I'm going to pray you can fond James Johnson