March 18, 2020
Colors of Childhood
This morning I began thinking about color and remembering all the vibrant colors from my childhood, and it brightened my mood. We see these colors every day, but when you start to associate them with childhood memories, it can bring a smile to your face, or in some cases, a frown.
Pink brings to mind those Easter egg marshmallow rabbits and baby chicks called Peeps. Again, for me, a let-down as I was never a fan of the spongy texture, but I don’t think I ever had an Easter basket without them surrounded in a sea of fake green grass. I sure did love the splashes of color, though, so appetizing.
Pink reminds me of my favorite jump rope, which was made from thin luminescent rubber with plastic handles on the end. I remember hours of fun jumping rope with cousins and friends.
Probably one of my most treasured toys was a pink Barbie doll-sized convertible. That thing got played with for years, long past average age, I am embarrassed to say. Other girls were chasing boys, and I was still attached to my Barbie dolls and their accessories, which mostly happened to be pink. Pink shoes, pink hair, pink dresses, and skirts. Mom and Grandma Dunker made most of the clothes, and they were better than the store-bought ones.
Pale pink cotton candy fluffy like a cloud was one of my treats usually purchased at the Interior rodeo or on the rare occasion when we got to go to a circus. I was not too fond of the sticky fingers afterward.
When talking pink colors from childhood, you can’t forget about the Bazooka Bubble Gum, bought for a penny. The big hunk of sugar, glucose syrup, and gum base, which was hard to chew in the beginning and then softened into a juicy pile of gunk that you could wrap around your tongue and blow giant bubbles out of your mouth. My brother would often come along and pop my bubble, causing an implosion that stuck to my face and hair. As a bonus, you would find a comic strip inside the wrapper, and you could also collect them and save them for prizes. I remember stacks of these waxy papers, which would often get scattered around the bedroom and amongst the toys.
Who doesn’t remember the vibrant, creamy pink color of Pepto Bismo? For me, it was an almost everyday sight as I suffered from stomach pains and heartburn even as a child. A tablespoon full of the bright liquid would get my heart pumping in anticipation. It always looked so much better than it tasted. Once you got the chalky flavored medicine in your mouth, you had to swallow it or get chewed out by Mom.
Pink reminds me a bit of torture too – curlers – those spongy ones that clipped into your hair.
Our mom would put them in our hair after our bath, and we’d have to go to bed and sleep with them in our hair. They would pull your hair and give you a headache. Even worse were the hard, plastic cylinder curlers where a piece would snap into place to keep the hair trapped inside. Oh, beauty was torture in those days. I remember many pink barrettes, which would often slip down and fall out, as I had such baby-fine hair.
Pink was often the color of us girls’ pajamas, so the color reminds me of bedtime. Little flannel nightgowns with ruffles were often the nighttime attire. I got some pink fuzzy slippers for Christmas more than once, and I remember padding around in them before bedtime.
Hot pink was the color of my sister’s and my brand-new banana bikes we got for Christmas when we were pre-teens. I had never seen anything so shiny and breathtaking in my life. We rode those things all over town, and I remember feeling so lucky and special to have such a prize.
The first childhood memory that comes to mind when thinking of yellow is dandelions in bloom speckling the grass. To me, they were treasures, and I loved picking them and giving them to Mom in a bouquet. Us kids would often make chain necklaces out of the stems. Bright yellow is one of my favorite colors, so to me, they were not weeds; they were just pretties.
Then there were the wildflowers with a dark brown center and yellow petals. We would pluck the petals off while reciting, “He loves me, he loves me not.” Countless times this was done – most of the time, he loved me not, but boy, when he loved me, it was cause for celebration. Most of the time, there wasn’t even a boy in mind when doing the exercise – it could mean someone in the future, like Prince Charming.
Like I said before, Easter also brought yellow Peeps – the little ducks and chicks. I once had a yellow Easter dress made from sheer lightly patterned tulle, and under it, I wore a ruffled can can, an underslip with layers of material which made the skirt of your dress puff out.
A yellow rubber duckie sticks in my memory – I know there always seemed to be one in the bathtub or the toybox. And why it was so much fun to squeeze them and make them squeak, I don’t know, but that’s what you did.
Yellow clackers come to mind for my early teen years. Clackers, which were two super hard rubber balls attached to a short rope that you would hold in your hand and make them go up and down until they clacked together and made a loud noise, were all the rage. It took a little bit of skill to maneuver them, and you could lose or pinch your fingers in the process. Sometimes the clackers would go flying out of your hand and accidentally hit somebody. That’s when they got taken away.
Red, White and Blue:
I have great memories of the 4th of July in Interior, South Dakota. The day would start with our mother dressing us in some cute red, white, and blue outfits that she made. My most vivid memory is of blue shorts with a white tank top that had red stars in it. The outfit was complete with white sandals. I was probably 4 or 5 years old. The rodeo was a big deal, and you would see red, white, and blue colors everywhere around the arena. Many cowboys and cowgirls wore patriotic colors. Our country’s red, white and blue flag would be brought into the arena by a cowboy on a horse, while the National Anthem played. It was always a day full of fun, excitement, and food, like hot dogs, smothered in ketchup and bright yellow mustard, which often dripped onto your clothes, leaving a big stain. It would blend in with the red stain from the snow cones consumed on the scorching hot day.
These are my most vivid childhood memories sparked by color. What colors do you think of from your childhood? What memories do they bring up?