Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Complimentary Colors and a Story: Candyland

As I continue through the workshop Color, Beyond the Basics, I painted and stenciled a page of my art journal with an exercise in complimentary colors:

(click for details)

(click for details)

There are two shots, because the turquoise paint has a pearl finish and consequently it makes it hard to get a true picture. I collaged some torn rice paper with Japanese figures in the bottom right corner, and used a mixture of Crimson and Azo Nickle Gold for the orangish shade.

37th in the Tuesday Story Series

As I have mentioned before, my parents were raised during the Great Depression, and knew how to make things last, and how to "make do", sometimes to the disappointment of the children who did not want to "make do" but wanted to be more like other people we knew. One thing my parents were not very good at, however, was passing on the skill of how to make and save money. For some of us, simply telling us was not sufficient without showing us why or how to budget.

When I was about eleven years old, my father decided, unbeknownst to me, that it was time I learned about the responsibility of paid work. I knew what work was, I was the oldest of six children and there were innumerable chores to be done. And I think we received a very small allowance. But now, Dad thought I should be ready for the next step - go out and make some money. I had been looking forward to the age when I would be considered old enough to babysit, but he had something else in mind.

Returning home from school one day, I saw a very large carton in the living room. After asking what it was, we were told we had to wait until Dad came home and he would explain it. I still didn't know it had anything to do with me (and also it may have included my brother, who was a year younger, I really don't remember, but I don't think so). When Dad finally arrived, he made a ceremony out of opening the box and we all looked inside and there was ....
CANDY! Tins and tins of something called Peanut Butter Pillows. Dad explained that I would be selling the candy door to door and I would make a small profit off of each can I sold. He went on about the great opportunity of earning my own money and how he would help me open a savings account. 

After the initial disappointment of realizing it wasn't "our" candy, I thought making money sounded pretty good to me! We lived on a street which at the time was a dead end, and was about a mile long, so there were plenty of houses to buy my product. Mom and Dad purchased the first can, and Dad promised to take some to work, but I had to do the rest. 

So soon I was pulling my red wagon, loaded with tins of candy. Who wouldn't want to buy some of this delicious treat? We had each had a couple of pieces the night before and it was very tasty! Most of the immediate neighbors bought a tin, but as I went up the street, people were less and less interested. And I realized I was also very much not a door to door salesperson. I hated being told no, having them smile and shut the door. Some didn't bother to smile. It was a long afternoon. 

I trudged back home and told my Mom that I did not want to do this anymore.  I had sold several, but the amount in the box began to take on gigantic proportions. Mom said Dad thought it would be good for my character and so I had to do it; "But I never said I wanted to do it!" I exclaimed, and received The Look which made any further discussion improbable.  I took cans to school, I trundled my wagon up and down the street, sometimes trying to sell a second can to someone who had been kind enough to buy a can before. My initial, brief enthusiasm dwindled down to one statement when someone answered their doorbell:

"You don't want to buy any candy, do you?" usually muttered with my eyes cast downwards. 

I hated the sight of that candy. I hated walking up and down the street while my friends were playing. Some of them pointed and laughed, or tried to get me to give them a can. I think my father finally took pity on me, because the last few cans disappeared rather quickly and the box was empty at last! I had cleared $25 of my own (this was the 1950's, remember) and he took me down to the bank to open a savings account. He gave a little speech about adding to it and seeing my money grow. I was just glad it was over! And I really hadn't learned a thing except that I hated that kind of work!

Years later, when our daughter was old enough, we gave her a little divided box, and began to teach her about budgeting with her allowance money. One of the important aspects of a budget is to set aside "fun money", not just for essentials and that was one of the categories in her box. At 28, she handles her money very well, and has no debt to anyone, something I had to learn the hard way, I'm afraid!

Oh, and if you would like to try some of Peanut Butter Pillows, order it here!

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!


  1. Love the colors and chuckle at the slling aspect.
    Mine was a item called Poppycock,still around I think.
    People liked my samples but didn't want to buy any.
    Hugs and Memorie's

  2. Hahahahaha, I didn't know you went through that! I empathize with you. Remember the vegetable stand at Bayfront? I hated going door to door with vegetables and seeing my friends playing on Saturday. I love your art, the colors are great! Love you!


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