I am very much in to color. Green has been my favorite color since I knew what colors were (I probably liked it before I knew what it was called.) Color in general has always been important to me! Early on, I knew all my color words, and really enjoyed playing with crayons and markers. Eventually, I was fortunate enough to be able to obtain a collection of paint charts, which of course, are mostly various shades of green (what else?!) I will walk you through the story of how this collection came to be.
The story starts in 1987 when my parents wanted to remodel the living room at our house on Shippensburg Road. It was decorated in colors that were out of style (harvest gold and avocado green), with the furniture mostly being “hand-me-downs.” My parents went to Trostle’s Furniture Store, and had a decorator named Pat come, and work with them to update the room. My parents like the color blue, so they chose blue and rose as the main colors. Besides new furniture, new carpet, a silk peach blossom tree, a silk Ficus tree, a blue cornice board, and new draperies, they needed to paint the walls and the chair rail that was installed on the wall. They received paint charts of various shades of white for the wall (who knew how many shades of white there could be; Crayola only has one), as well as many blue shades. Throughout the year, the room was painted and new furniture was ordered. Drapes and the chair rail were installed, and the artificial plants added. One fond memory I have of the room is sitting on the rose-colored wing chair looking at my Big Fat Books (a lot of folded paper with a road scene drawn on its pages).
Over the next several years, my parents worked on various other projects. You see, my parents enjoyed updating rooms in the house.
Finally in the summer of 1990, my room was fixed up! It originally had brown paneling and thick shag carpet; the way it was when it became my room. I originally slept in what was now Dave’s room with my room being a den for Dad. I wanted my room painted green. My parents said that I needed a pale shade as darker shades would make the room seem smaller and darker. We chose Green Ice, A Glidden paint.
One summer’s evening, Mom, who is a “night owl” and wasn’t working at the time, started to work on my bedroom. First the holes in the paneling were spackled, then the walls were primed and painted. For these nights I slept on the floor on a mattress in Dave’s bedroom. For whatever the reason, it bothered me that there wasn’t any “green” in Dave’s bedroom, though I was only there to sleep. A green plant in a harvest gold container from another room was brought in, so that his room would have some green in it. Dave had a plush teddy bear that played “Braham’s Lullaby” when the string was pulled. He seemed fascinated by this, and I also enjoyed listening to it. So, I would get Dave to pull the string on his bear. While the music was playing, I would lie there looking towards the doorway, then to where Dave was, next to the green plant, and back again in repetition (I did this every time he pulled the string), before falling asleep for the night.
Eventually my room was painted, and I could sleep in there again. I liked the Green Ice paint. It was reminiscent of Crayola’s Sea Green. Though I enjoyed looking at the paint chart for the paint before the project began, I didn’t see the chart anywhere afterwards.
In August, Crayola made the announcement that they were retiring eight colors, and replacing them with eight new colors. I was really excited. Mom cut the article out of the newspaper, and made it into a booklet for me. Of course, the new shade of green promised, Jungle Green, really excited me. I couldn’t wait to see it! Another thing I did when in bed at night was imagine that I was looking at various boxes of crayons containing large numbers of colors. Additionally, I would take construction paper, and draw the crayon shape with various colors to make “crayons” in unique colors. Finally, I was able to get a box of crayons that contained the new colors at People’s Drugstore—by the way, I absolutely loved, Jungle Green! I still do.
I also had another opportunity. My parents found the paint charts and folder they had from redoing the living room, and let me have them. It was novel having a bunch of new colors to look at. One thing was missing. None of the colors were green! One time when we went to Triangle, which was a store similar to Lowe’s or Home Depot, I was able to select some green paint charts. These quickly became my favorite. My collection had started. When my parents would go to Triangle, I would get a selection of Green Paint Charts. Though I don’t remember the brand of the first set, the second time I got charts by Pittsburgh Paint. I remember that they had some interesting colors. Green Splash was a brighter version of Crayola’s Yellow Green, while Sprite was more like Crayola’s Green Yellow. There was a chart that contained the color, Cat’s Eye. On a chart of dark shades of green, I remember Dark Ivy and Casino Green.
Riding the school bus can become lackluster sometimes. After all, it’s the same route over and over again, and I didn’t have a social life on the bus. Some students would talk, and others would seat-hop. “Get out of the aisle!” (or as I thought he was saying, “owl”) was a common phrase used by the bus driver. At the time, I wondered what the owl was, what was wrong with sitting there, and why children liked it so much. Anyway, what I did on the bus during the winter of 1991 was think about going to Triangle to get paint charts. Part of the bus route went over the mountain. The bus crossed PA 233, which is a road that intersects U.S. 30. Since crossing PA 233 on Route 30 could mean going to Triangle in Chambersburg, when the bus crossed it in the mountain, that’s what I would think about during the bus ride.
On a third trip to Triangle, I had a chance to get the final type of green paint charts, the Glidden ones. Finally, I had the highly valued chart with Green Ice on it, the color of my bedroom! An interesting side note is that I also discovered a color called Schooner, which I guess was based on the color of a boat. Anyway, Dad would call me “Schooners” sometimes as a nickname, so this color had a unique meaning to me as well.
What would I do with the paint charts? I’d look at them, and pretend that they were crayon colors in a huge box of crayons that I would be getting. I noticed how similar some of the colors were to existing Crayola colors. Some colors had interesting names. The next natural thing to do once I was finished collecting the green charts, was to collect some paint charts of other colors. So, I chose some other colors in the Pittsburgh Paint and Glidden brands.
In 1993 my parents decided to build a new house. Moving day was in September of 1994, which corresponded with the first day of eighth grade. We were moving from Shippensburg Road to our current location. Unfortunately, like a number of other things, the paint charts were never seen after the move. On the positive side, Crayola continued to produce new colors including Magic Scents, 96 count and 120 count crayons. I still had an opportunity to see new colors, and this time around with them being crayons, I could actually color with them.
Starting in 2006, my parents hired a new decorator (Laura) to decorate a number of rooms in the house. This included refreshing the family room, and creating a color scheme to tie the family room, and the newly built sunroom together. Painting the walls was part of the project. After hearing about my interest in colors and paint charts, the interior designer kindly gave me one of her extra“binders” with all of the paint colors that she had at her disposal when she would pick paint for her clients’ spaces. Once again, I had a nice selection of paint charts, this time connected together in a container that would keep them nice. This time the brand was Sherwin Williams.
Recently, I had another opportunity to get paint charts for my collection. I chose some paint charts on three trips to Lowe’s. This time they are Valspar, and again Sherwin Williams. I keep them in a desk drawer, so I have easy access to them from my computer. I am hoping someday to make a spreadsheet of all the colors I have on the charts, as well as crayon and marker colors to make an ultimate list of colors.
As my story of how I started to collect paint charts comes to a close, I realized that it became a hobby of mine. I enjoy all the various colors, especially the shades of green. It is amazing how many different shades there can be of a single color! It’s amazing how simple events of updating rooms in a house could evolve to me collecting paint charts. I guess it’s no surprise that I like them as I have always liked color since I was very little.
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