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It Was A Simpler Time

Day 347 of 365 (Year Two)


When I was a kid, Crayola's largest box of crayons was the 64 color box, with the crayon sharpener in the back. In 1990 they dropped a bunch of colors and added some new ones. I was a bit saddened by the change even then. Gone were Blue Gray, Lemon Yellow, Orange Red, Orange Yellow, Violet Blue, Maize, Green Blue, Raw Umber, and Thistle. Hell, I even remember having a box with the color Flesh, which was eventually changed to Peach and Prussian Blue which was changed to Midnight Blue. I must have had a really old box because Flesh was changed in '62 due to the Civil Rights Movement and Prussian Blue was changed in '58 at the request of a group of teachers and both of those dates were a bit before my time.


For as long as I was a kid, however, Thistle, Raw Umber, Maize, and the rest were some of the standard colors you would find in their 64 Color Box. From 1958 to 1990 the box pretty much remained the same. They added some silliness with the fluorescent colors in '72 and started making a 72 Color Box, but the 64 was pretty much the standard amongst my young peer group. If you had the 64 then you were set.


In '90, when they made the change, a part of me couldn't help being disturbed in thinking that when I had a kid one day she'd never know what the color Maize looked like. Yeah, I know, quite a random though and eleven years early for Savanah's arrival, but the 64 Color Box was really a big part of my childhood. I can't recall how many boxes I went through, but as a young kid interested in art, I drew a lot.


Today as I was picking up after Savanah I started reading some of the new names they have come up with since '90 and I have to say, it was a bit disturbing. At what point did somebody decide that we needed cute and silly names for colors? Pictured here are Tickle Me Pink, Bittersweet, Jungle Green, Shamrock, Wild Strawberry, Wild Blue Yonder, and Outrageous Orange. When did Orange become outrageous? What exactly is the color of Bittersweet? What is the difference between Tickle Me Pink and just plain old Pink? Does plain old Pink still exist?


The list of silly names goes further than these though. In '93 they added Macaroni And Cheese, Razzmatazz Timber Wolf and Purple Mountain's Majesty and more. In '98 we saw Piggy Pink, Pink Flamingo, Cotton Candy, Pink Sherbert, Purple Heart, Shadow, and Outerspace and more. In 2003 we saw Inch Worm, Jazzberry Jam, Mango Tango and Wild Blue Yonder added to the 120 Count Box.


What is the difference between Piggy Pink, Pink Flamingo, Cotton Candy and Pink Sherbert? Do we really need that many shades of pink? When I was a kid Black was the color we used to make shadows, do we really need a separate color for shadows? And just what color is Razzmatazz Timber Wolf? Isn't Yellow good enough for Macaroni and Cheese? Wasn't Sky Blue good enough? Did we have to change it to Wild Blue Yonder? Really?


I sometimes miss the days when Red was just Red and Yellow was just yellow.

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Taken on December 12, 2008