Fun Fact: March 31st, National Crayon Day Unofficial Holiday- Adults & Kids Celebrate. What was your favorite Crayon Color?-2nd Life Media Alamogordo Town News

Fun Facts: Dateline Alamogordo New Mexico 3/31/2021 Celebrating National Crayon Day with color 

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March 31st is the unofficial national holiday, that is a celebration of color its National Crayon Day. This national celebration of color and art is a perfect day for art teachers across Alamogordo, New Mexico, California and the nation to bring a little color and flare to the classroom. 

Here is an interesting fact as to why Crayons gain importance on this very day of March 31st. While this unofficial holiday is a great fun day to dust off your crayons and spend the day coloring, it can also be sort of a sad day for some people. That’s because Crayola has a tendency to retire old crayon colors on this day. From 1990 through March 2017, Crayola has retired over 50 different colors which include lemon yellow, blue gray, maize, violet blue, raw umber, orange-red, green blue and orange-yellow in 1990; magic mint, blizzard blue, teal blue and mulberry in 2003; and dandelion in 2017.

Coloring is not just for kids. As funny as it sounds the adult coloring craze took off in 2015. Prior to 2012 hardly anyone was even aware that adult coloring books existed. Though there have been adult coloring books in print for decades, they really didn’t experience massive growth until 2015.

The highest growth of the coloring books for adults was in early 2015. This is when the adult coloring books completely exploded in popularity. Many adult coloring books created by different artists and different publishers were side-by-side on the Amazon top seller lists for all book categories.

Something else that has fueled the coloring craze for adults is doctors are claiming there is an  actual benefit to people’s well-being. Many people claim that coloring reduces their day-to-day stress, to an astounding degree.

In fact many therapists, including Carl Young have suggested coloring to their patients because of the therapeutic effects. Some even claim that coloring is more effective than yoga, meditation and even antidepressants. Though there are many other reasons why adults are using coloring books besides the amazing anti-stress benefits that they offer, it is a great benefit to have for anybody in the 21st century.

There is a wider trend than just the coloring book craze. There is a trend where adults are buying things that they had in childhood. For example there’s a new study that 55% of young adult books are bought by adults. This trend in buying things that bring back good memories has spread into the coloring book area and has essentially created a market for adult coloring books.

But back to National Crayon Day and the history of Crayons…

Currently, no one really knows when crayons were invented. All that is known is that the word comes from the mid-17th century and is a conglomerate of two Latin words: “crale” which means chalk and “creta” which means earth. The practice of combining various pigments with oil goes back thousands of years. And it was a method that was employed by a wide range of different cultures – from the Egyptians to the Greeks and Romans. However, these early crayons were not intended as a writing or drawing instrument for school children and therefore, it wasn’t used in the classroom in these civilizations. It was a tool used by adults – mainly by artists. The types of crayons produced back then probably wouldn’t have stood up to the rigor of being used by children anyway. In order for that to happen, a more modern type of crayon had to be invented.

Modern crayons have their roots in the Middle Ages and was often a tool used by artists. These cylinders were shaped like crayons but didn’t have the same composition of the modern crayon. They were mainly composed of charcoal and oil and were more like pastels. Over the years, crayons would evolve as a cross between a pastel and a modern crayon and would be popularly used during the 18th century. Eventually, the charcoal in these crayons would be replaced with various pigments. The biggest breakthrough in crayon technology came about when Joseph Lemercier produced a crayon in 1828 that replaced the oil normally found in crayons with wax instead. This produced a stronger crayon that could hold up to more vigorous drawing.

By the beginning of the 20th century, there were several companies producing wax crayons in the United States. In 1902, Crayola brand of crayons was invented by Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith. The name was created by Mr. Binney’s wife, Alice Stead Binney, who combined the French word for Chalk (craie) with the ole from oleaginous (the paraffin wax used to make the crayons). Crayola offered 19 different boxes with 30 different colors when they first hit the market.

Between 1903 and 1998, Crayola had produced 120 different colors. From 1998 through today, 50 crayon colors have been retired. Today, some of the other brands on the market include Dixon Ticonderoga and Rose Art Crayons. There are also a number generic brands on the market today as well.

Fun facts reprinted with permission from HolidayCalenders.com 

  • The smell of crayons is the 18th most recognizable scent for adults in the U.S.
  • Crayola makes 3 billion crayons a year
  • The favorite crayon color of most Americans is blue
  • The 100-billionth crayon was made by Fred Rogers of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood in 1996.
  • The color of crayon Fred Rogers created was “blue ribbon”
  • In 1962, Crayola changed the name of the color “flesh” to “peach”

So if you are a kid, and adult or an artist like the local artist Rene Sepulveda known for “colorishis” designs and textures we all should celebrate the fun that crayons have brought to each of us beginning as children and for some of us, continuing into adulthood. Today, think back..

What was your favorite crayon color? Did you have a jumbo 64 box with a sharpener? Fat crayons or skinny? Enjoy your crayon memories.

Author Chris Edwards 3/31/2021 2nd Life Media Alamogordo Town News

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Frenchys Cabin & Indian Wells of New Mexico 1800s

Photos of Frenchys cabin, Indian wells nearby and the 7 mile round trip hike up Dog Canyon…

One of the early settlers of the Dog Canyon area near Alamogordo and White Sands National Monument was a pioneer named Francois-Jean Rochas, known by everyone who knew him as Frenchy.

Rocha, or Frenchy, was born in France in 1843 and emigrated to New Mexico in the 1880s. Frenchy was a sort of recluse/mountain man who was very interesting, brave and a hard-working character.

French was a stubborn little Frenchman who lived like a hermit up in the wild hill country of the Sacramentos. He was perhaps the bravest man who ever lived in the Tularosa country and possibly even all of the Southwest.

He spoke broken English, was never very well-dressed, and seldom went to town. When he did, hardly anyone showed him kindness or even attempted to be friendly.

In the early 1880s, Frenchy had moved to Dog Canyon.

Advised not to move to the area Frenchy did anyhow. He packed his supplies in his old buggy and moved up through the San Augustin Pass and on across the desolate Tularosa sands toward the place in the canyon, some 65 miles west. He probably felt no anxiety or fear about what he was doing. In fact, his whole philosophy of living and dying showed that he wasn’t afraid of whatever fate had to offer.

He built mortarless stone walls to corral his livestock, portions of which snaked along the slopes at the mouth of Little Dog Canyon. Frenchy raised cattle and tended an orchard and vineyard.

The closest neighbor, Oliver Milton Lee, settled in Dog Canyon about the same time as Frenchy.

Lee was born in Buffalo Gap, near Abilene, Texas, on Nov. 8, 1865 and came to New Mexico Territory in the fall of 1884 with his half brother, Perry Altman. They were attracted to New Mexico by the open range, free land and a ready market for horses. Lee, already an established horseman and adept with the revolver, insisted on coming. He was only 18. Later, Lee brought his mother and servants and started the Dog Canyon Ranch.

Oliver and Frenchy jointly developed an irrigation system at Dog Canyon. Ditches carried the precious water to the ranch house and pastures. Ruins of the irrigation conduits still remain along the trail leading into the canyon. This was one of several irrigation systems Oliver established along the western escarpment of the Sacramento Mountains.

As competition for open range, land, and water increased during the late 1800s, violent rivalries sometimes ensued. Soon after Christmas 1884, Frenchy was found dead in his cabin at Dog Canyon. A coroner’s jury concluded it was suicide, but evidence and hearsay suggest it was murder. He was only 51 years old when he died. Some suggest Lee and Frenchy were disagreeing over the water ownership at this time. Other accounts suggest field hands did Frenchy in. No one was ever charged with the murder, and the mystery of his death has never been solved.

The Lincoln County War is an example of those violent times. Lee often became involved in these disputes and was accused by some of cattle rustling and stealing land. In 1896, A.J. Fountain, a prominent judge, local rancher and rival of Lee, was murdered along with his young son Henry in the Tularosa Valley. Sheriff Pat Garrett charged Lee with the murders. Lee evaded capture and refused to surrender, believing that he would not remain alive or receive a fair trial in Dona Anna County. This became known as the fountain murders.

No one knows for sure why Frenchy had left his father, mother, brother, two sisters and the peace of the mountains of France. However, more than likely it was his health that brought him to the arid mountains of the American Southwest, as he often talked about his “catarrh in the head” and “pains in the stomach.”

Frenchy always signed his letters as just plain “Frank.”

Frenchy’s life was not to remain so peaceful, however. His first trouble started on July 1, 1886, when he became involved in a little shoot out. He had suspected that a young man named Morrison, who had been working for him, was stealing from him. Frenchy went to La Luz in Otero County, swore out a warrant and had Morrison arrested.

In any event Morrison was soon free and on his way back to Dog Canyon. Long before daybreak he was behind a rock with his gun, waiting for Frenchy to come outside.

A trail of smoke was soon coming from Frenchy’s stove-pipe chimney as he cooked his breakfast. Later, he went outside and began his work as usual. Morrison waited until he had an opportune time then sent a slug from a Winchester into Frenchy’s body.

The Frenchman knew instantly what had happened and covered his wound with his hands, as he staggered toward his cabin. A second shot echoed among the canyon walls, the bullet hitting Frenchy in the arm, but the settler somehow made it to his hut where he crawled into his bed.

About 10 o’clock that night Morrison acted again, evidently deciding to finish his murderous task. He broke open the door and dashed inside, quickly finding his man. Frenchy, calm and steady, was ready and waiting. His gun was lined up on the intruder, and moments later, Morrison, carrying a bullet, took off for parts unknown.

Frenchy, in poor condition, eventually made it to the nearest ranch where he told his story. Soon a posse set out to get the would-be killer, and in good time he was in the Las Cruces jail.

In a short time, Frenchy’s wounds had healed and he was back on his place. With 500 head of cattle carrying his Scoop R brand, he was becoming quite prosperous. He did not put up with any nonsense. When neighboring ranchers cattle drifted up the canyon, he chased them off, and during each round up he carefully watched to see if anyone was stealing from him.

One of Frenchy’s neighbors didn’t like the squatter’s ranching methods, and told him how he felt. The Frenchman answered him in his crude English: “You are stealing my cows, if I catch you, I have you arrested!”

Frenchy knew what to expect from brave talk like that, but he was not afraid. The neighbor, a Texan, along with those who rode with him, were baffled by the coolness of the man. They rode off mumbling, “Somebody will get that fool Frenchman if he don’t look out!”

Frenchy stayed, but he began to worry about something else. He hadn’t staked out a claim on his land and he had no legal right to the place.

Frenchy ultimately died on his land. It was declared a suicide but all believe he was murdered and inquiry was inconclusive.

You can hike to see Frenchys cabin it’s a rugged 3100 elevation gain hike and is about 7 miles round trip via Oliver Lee State Park and into Federal Lands of the Lincoln National Forest:

M. Chris Edwards
Cedwards121788@icloud.com
Executive Operations Coach & Author of

1 Football Biography Track & Field Category Top 10 Bestseller

Coach Robert (Bob) Sepulveda: The Early Days

available on Amazon

Remembering the Challenger 35 years later – Author Chris Edwards

The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster was a fatal incident in the United States’ space program that occurred on January 28, 1986, when the Space Shuttle Challenger (OV-099) broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, killing all seven crew members aboard. The crew consisted of five NASA astronauts, and two payload specialists. The mission carried the designation STS-51-L and was the tenth flight for the Challenger orbiter. The Challenger disaster should best be remembered for the sacrifice of seven astronauts who died in the accident-  Judith ResnikDick Scobee, Capt. Michael J. SmithEllison Onizuka,  Ronald McNairChrista McAuliffe, and Gregory Jarvis.

But for those currently in leadership positions, it should also be remembered as a colossal failure of process – a process designed by the best and the brightest. By the people who sent men to the moon. That was a sobering thought on January 28, 1986, and it remains so today.

The space shuttle Challenger disaster remains one of the most evocative events of the American 20th Century—and for more than just the obvious reasons.

Certainly, the 35th anniversary of this tragedy returns to mind a multitude of images, memories and emotions that prompt pause. But it also reminds us of the crucial importance of informed decision making and risk oversight which are as relevant today as they were on January 28, 1986.

As some will remember, the specific, highly technical cause of the Challenger accident was the notorious “O-Ring”; i.e. the failure of the pressure seal in the aft field joint of the right solid rocket motor. The failure was due to a faulty design unacceptably sensitive to a number of factors, including the effects of cold temperature (launchpad temperature was 36 degrees on January 28).

But more important to remember is the decidedly non-technical contributing cause: the multiple risk management errors that fatally flawed the Challenger launch decision. As documented by the presidential review commission, these were not errors arising from system complexities, but rather from the erosion of once-effective and redundant safety protocols. 

Space, space exploration and the benefits are not without risk. The risk is worth the reward however we should never sacrifice safety protocols and redundancy further the governments legislative branch has a responsibility of checks and balances in oversight to ensure safety is in place, contracts are not awarded unfairly and the value to the American people in life and treasure is never taken for granted.

Our hearts continue to bleed for the errors of that fateful day but our quest for what is out there amongst the stars should always continue…

A Photo of the Space Shuttle Challenger lifts off – January 26, 1986 seen on authorchrisedwards.com website.

Our heart pour out to our hero’s of the space program but our minds always look up and forward in the quest forward for what lies above us. We are not alone!