Want to know what my childhood smelled like? Wax and water color and poster paint. Oh my!
Of all the childhood flotsam that crowds my memories, this is one of the bright standouts. That beautiful school bus yellow plastic spinning caddy, yet another splash of fuel to feed my hyper-organizational fire. This is the favored toy of someone destined to one day strike fear in the hearts of her coworkers because they know that if they move ONE THING on her desk, she will notice (hmm, maybe this is why people are scared of me here…).
There was something so very comforting about knowing that every single piece of the Caddy had its very own place: snug little slots for the crayons (which I always rearranged into proper “Roy G Biv” order and, yes, with the Crayola label facing outward, thank you very much) and magic markers, gopher holes for the poster paints, elongated slot for the water color tray, center slot for your brushes, and little troughs on each side for your paint water.
Beyond feeding my junior OCD, however, was the fact that I wanted more than anything to be artistic when I was little. It’s in my blood, passed on to me through a paternal lineage of artists. Everyone on my dad’s side of the family is so enviably artistic. Developing some pretty decent PhotoShop skillz has helped me blend in a bit better, but when left with nothing but paper and drawing materials, I’m afraid even my best offerings fall a bit short of the mark. Somehow the artistic gene mutated when it reached me and my palette became words rather than paints.
Didn’t matter though. I still loved my Crayola Caddy. I could sit for hours doodling with what was there. Reams and reams of paper filled with fantastically ill-shaped animals and landscapes and dreams. Rainbow swirls like Starbuck’s Eye of Jupiter and Rothko blocks of color piled high with Pollock splashes. I’d paint until my water colors were nothing more than tiny little rings rimming the white underbelly of the tray and the lids of my poster paints had dried and flaked from being open for so long.
I’m actually quite stunned that Crayola no longer makes the Crayola Caddy. I mean, I get that we’re an increasingly digital world, but come on! Kids must still enjoy coloring and painting, don’t they? Crayola does offer something called a “Telescoping Crayon Tower.” That’s just not the same though. Where are the paints? The markers? The awesome center section to hold all your paintbrushes and left-handed scissors that your friends won’t ever be able to use? Where’s the fun?