“So, like a forgotten fire, a childhood can always flare up again within us.”  Gaston Bachelard

Usually, I hate those times when insomnia visits me.  I toss and turn in the futile effort to go back to sleep, then ultimately surrender and get out of bed.  Once up, the challenge is deciding what to do with myself.  Noise is a consideration since I don’t want to wake my hubby.  Putting on a load of laundry is always a safe bet.  Get the coffee brewing, check.  Now what?  This time I noticed some packages of Scratch Art I had purchased several weeks ago as I was wandering around my local Hobby Lobby.  I wasn’t feeling in the mood for regular Zentangle, but this might be interesting…and oh so quiet.  As I began to scratch away the velvety black to reveal the rainbow beneath, my mind went back to third grade.

My third grade teacher, Mrs. Hebert, was very young and I just loved her.  She was the first teacher who seemed equally concerned with our creative as well as academic growth.  She had gone to Hawaii for her honeymoon over the summer and she brought that trip into our classroom.  We spent weeks learning about poi, hula dancing, volcanoes, island life and making toilet paper leis.  Her bulletin boards were artistic and unique – inspiring for me.  I carried it all home and worked to make my bedroom walls look as wonderful as those boards.  Many family members got toilet paper leis as gifts.  She was the one who introduced all of us to the fun we could have with crayons, paper and toothpick.  First, we would get out our favorite colors – at least four or five.  Then we would color big blocks of each on our paper in random patterns.  Next, we colored over the whole thing with a black crayon.  I quickly learned it was best to get a good thick layer of crayon on the paper for this technique.  The goal was to have no color at all showing – no mean feat if you’ve ever tried it.  That took forever and chewed up quite a few black crayons.  Finally came the magic, carefully scratching away the black with our toothpick to reveal the color beneath.  The simplest line drawings became wondrous works of art when done this way.  At least in my third grade eyes.  I went through many boxes of crayons that year and was forever looking for more black ones.  It’s a good thing they didn’t make Scratch Art back then, I would have spent every penny of my allowance and had to resort to selling empty Coke bottles to support my scratch habit.  I just wish I had known about Zentangle back then, cause this is very 1970’s groovy.  My third grade self is pretty proud of this one.