A Crime of Crayons

A Crayon Crime

It seemed in 1973 everyone in school had 64 crayons – everyone – except me. On the day in question, desperation had clouded my judgement. It had corrupted my creative sensibility. I was ten at the time and in dire need of 64 colors. I had Crayola’s 24 pack which included colors for growing robust apple trees, fluid blue skies and abstract butterflies. It wasn’t enough. I needed more pigment. I coveted the built-in sharpener too.

Crayola BoxOne day while shopping with my mother and 2 other siblings, fate waxing at my feet, divine intervention struck. On this ominous morning, I glanced down at the beige store tiles. My disbelieving eyes engaged my sleeping brain. My little fingers snatched up the crumpled dollar on the floor. Much to my horror I discovered it was one-half of a paper dollar, and the other half was nowhere in sight. Nothing mattered. My heart was jolting in 64 magnificent colors. My brain was a prism of planning. “Art cannot be stopped,” my greying conscience defended. While Mom busied herself shopping and shepherding my two younger siblings around cans of tomatoes, I cleverly rolled the dollar into a cylinder.

There wasn’t much time. Grocery cart loading for a family of eight was nearly done. I told Mom I needed the bathroom. I flew to the school supply section, grabbed Crayola’s 64 box then sprinted to the register hoping to make an express purchase. I handed the masterfully rolled dollar to a young cashier. I didn’t know how much the crayons cost and I didn’t wait. I grabbed my fabulous box and bolted toward the exit doors.

In hindsight, I should’ve selected the silver-haired cashier. The swift employee ran after me as did my mother. My crime was foiled on the spot. I had to return the crayons. I had to write a letter of apology. And, I was grounded.

So there I was stuck in my room with just 24 crayons and two weeks to think about all the colors I didn’t have.
Crayon Crime

23 thoughts on “A Crime of Crayons

  1. This is a great story, AM — I must have missed it last April (my loss) — and so perfectly told. Terrific art, too. I love these childhood stories because they reveal such a strong “character,” the “AnnMarie” of a time gone by, yet these childhood stories are what make the adult, and in your case I’d say the lesson was well learned — you realized you were an artist who needed more color, and you were clever enough to understand that. (You also learned that mothers can move when they need to!) 🙂 Yes, there’s the guilt thing, but you weren’t “guilty,” because in your young mind you did what you had to do for your art — the mark of a true artist. 🙂 [I stood in Target yesterday trying to decide which “art” materials to buy for my niece — what she wanted — and I’ll admit that box of 64 Crayolas kept calling my name.]


    • Good Morning, Deb.
      My childhood memory is horrid but there are certain memories that are implanted like this one. I remember the utter embarrassment after my plan was foiled. 🙂
      There’s nothing like a new box of crayons and today there are also such great little art sets to put one on the path to creating…
      Your niece will appreciate anything from her fab aunt I’m sure 🙂
      AM 🙂
      Terrific Tuesday!


      • You know, Bob has a similar kind of tale, but it involves socks, 🙂 There’s nothing like a little Catholic guilt to help one remember the past (Bob was even an alter boy!), but sometimes circumstances warrant swift, creative action — and darn it all, 64 different colors! Re: my niece — if she remembers anything after that sugar-laden Frozen cake, I’d be surprised! Auntie abstained; Auntie don’t do blue icing! 🙂


      • I’d love to hear the Sock Story! I can see a splendid graphic with it too (hint, hint). Yes, Catholic guilt is hardwired through the DNA strands early.
        It’s not a kiddie b’day cake unless is has at the minimum at least one sugary hue…!
        AM 🙂
        coffee, coffee, coffee…


  2. Oh, that reminds me of something I did in desperation in my youth. It was worse…it was a crime against a friend. <:-( I had forgotten about it until I read this post!


    • Hi Glenda!
      Did you color her in crayons 😉 I’d love to hear the story someday. Hope it all worked out in the end. Ah, the things we do in our youth that shape us into malleable adults
      AnnMarie 🙂
      ps Hope all is well in your wool world & now I forgot if they’re called knitting needles or …


  3. LOL That story reminds me of the one heard throughout the South about bass boats. If you’ve got a 12 footer you dream of a 14 footer. If you’ve got a 14 footer you dream of a 16 footer. I could go on & on but you get the idea, we’re never really satisfied until we’ve got the biggest, baddest thing out there.

    Sadly, I find myself afflicted with that syndrome concerning cameras. Then I hear of my poor sister forced to go back to work at age 75 with a broken clothes dryer she can’t afford to fix. She’s hanging everything on a backyard clothes. 😦 Kinda puts things in perspective doesn’t it?


    • Hi Bob,
      Yup, we want the next, biggest, brightest, thingamahooey…
      If kiddies knew their $120 sneakers are made with a few bucks worth of material…
      I know it’s difficult restraining ones self when it comes to a passion – and I definitely understand how you cherish your cameras 🙂
      Then there are those with so very little and you’re absolutely right, it does put and should keep things in perspective. Your sister has you though and that’s worth much.
      In our town, a family lost everything to a house fire. People are trying to help out. I went through my loaded kitchen and will be delivering dishes, mugs… in hopes it gets them over the hump. I have too much in my silly kitchen…why…I don’t even like to cook…
      AnnMarie 🙂
      Terrific Tuesday and I hope your sister gets back on her feet soon. I’ll keep her in my thoughts.


      • I do what I can with what I have. I gave away a carload of clothes before this past move to my new home. I’ve given away leather motorcycle clothing, sleeping bags to the homess and self inflating air mattresses. I’m paring my possessions down to what I need as I grow older. I’m really now going camping and sleeping on the ground anymore so I clean house. It goes to a worthy cause.


      • You’re kind and generous in spirit, Sir. 🙂
        When my husband and I brought our donations to the center today, it was amazing to see all the items already donated. People can be wonderfully warm human beings 🙂
        AnnMarie 🙂


    • Oh, yeah – I’d forgotten about the silver, gold and that magical bronze. Those were the coolest!
      Thanks for reminding me. I’m smiling as I plink this thought to you 🙂
      AnnMarie 🙂
      I hope you broke in 2015 with cheese doodles!


  4. Pingback: my crayon box | anntogether

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