Whenever we’re out somewhere and the kids have some colouring to keep them occupied, I always check the crayons, looking for the wavy black band.

I’m not sure how old I was when I first encountered Crayola crayons. What I remember most is the names.

Chartreuse. Goldenrod. Periwinkle.

So much choice, so many colours that I’d never even thought about. Not just combinations, like Blue Green or Orange Red, but colours named for things – Carnation Pink, Apricot. And then colours called things that I’d never even heard of before. Well! I was off to the dictionary.

  • Chartreuse – a green-yellow liqueur made by monks (I had to look up ‘liqueur’ as well, the crayons were certainly improving my word power)
  • Goldenrod – a plant with tall spikes of small yellow flowers (no picture in the dictionary, obviously)
  • Periwinkle – a trailing plant with flat blue-violet flowers, also called myrtle, or a sea snail.

A flower and a sea snail! How much excitement can a small child take?

Even now, those three words conjure up that crayony smell, and a feeling of infinite possibilities.

If you would like to indulge in your own nostalgia trip, the full list is at

2 thoughts on “Periwinkle

  1. One of the most liberating comments I ever read on a writing post said that when you have writer’s block, you should go to the store and buy yourself the 64-box of Crayola crayons. (You’re a grownup. You have a job. You’re allowed to buy the stupid big box of crayons for yourself and not for your kids.) Go home and open it.

    Smell them.

    And then go write.

    At that moment in my writer-y life, this made me cry. Amazing how much a field of colors can mean to your seven-year-old mind, and what you can do when you set it free.

    Liked by 1 person

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