Chapter Two – Primary Colors

The three of us became instant friends after our colorful, playful brawl in primary. Sister Jensen dutifully escorted us each to our homes to explain the situation the “Rainbow Boys” had created on their first day as Sunbeams.

“It was all very playful,” she told Danny’s mother. “In fact, the three boys hit it off quite well. I think they may become very good friends.”

Danny’s mother carefully lifted his arms to inspect the mess of colors and shook her head.

“I’ll try to wash the paint out of these clothes,” she said and sighed. “As for you, young man, it’s off to a long, soapy bath.” She swatted Danny’s behind, and he giggled as he ran from the kitchen.

“Don’t worry too much,” Sister Jensen said. “The shirts are meant to use as paint frocks. It’s time I put all of Kirk’s shirts to good use.”

Danny’s mother tilted her head and nodded. Her eyes looked a little bit sad. The two remained silent for a couple of minutes.

“Oh, I should take Colin home now,” my new primary teacher said.

My mother was very apologetic when Sister Jensen told her what happened. She offered to buy new paints, new shirts, more art supplies, and come help with the children next week. Sister Jensen said it wasn’t necessary, but she would like to invite me over to play with Peter. She even offered to teach me how to paint, and I begged my mom to agree.

“I just finished turning Kirk’s home office into an art studio,” she said. “And I need a few guinea pigs to see if I have what it takes to teach private art lessons.”

“I can pay for the lessons,” Mom replied.

“No, I want to do this for the boys. Colin, Danny, and Peter. Just once a week. How does Thursday at noon sound? I will make them lunch, and they can play together after the art lesson.”

“I guess that would be okay,” Mom said. “But if you ever need more supplies, just let me know.”

Peter’s house didn’t have a basement like mine, and he shared a large bedroom with his two older brothers. He slept in the top of a bunk bed, while the oldest brother had a single bed against the opposite wall. Their mother had the smaller bedroom that was just on the other side of a shared bathroom. Just outside the bedrooms was a big room that served as living room, kitchen, and dining room, and on the other end of the house was a door that led to Sister Jensen’s art studio.

“I have painting shirt for each of you,” Sister Jensen said as we entered the room. “You can keep them here so that they will always be available for our painting lessons.”

She handed each of the three boys a different colored shirt. Peter was given a red shirt, Danny a blue one, and received a yellow one. Sister Jensen said we each had a different color so that we would always know which one belonged to whom.

“The colors you are wearing are called the primary colors,” she said. “They are the special colors because with them you can make any color imaginable.”

She handed each of us a bottle of paint that matched the colors of our shirts. She then gave us each a paint brush and showed our painting easels that had large pieces of paper attached at the top.

“I want you to each dip your paint brush into your bottle and then paint a shape on your paper.”

We each did what our teacher said. Since my color was yellow, I painted big circular sun in the top right corner of my paper. We were then directed to paint the same thing on the other two boys’ papers.

“Those are nice pictures, boys,” Sister Jensen said. “You all have the primary colors—red, yellow, and blue—on your paper now. Now we get to learn how these colors can make other colors.”

She placed three paper cups on a work table and asked us to bring our bottles of paint over. She helped us carefully pour a little bit of two different colors of paint into each cup and then mixed them together with some old Popsicle sticks. I was amazed when I saw the colors turn into green, orange, and purple.

“See how magical that is,” Sister Jensen said. “With these three colors that you are wearing, we can make all of the many beautiful colors we see in this world.”

We then used the other colors to finish painting our first art projects in the class. Being the curious boys that we were, we decided to see what we could do if we mixed even more of the colors together. It was exciting to think we were the first to discover how to make brown and laughed at the color we called poopy green. Finally, after mixing all colors together, we were content to have almost mixed a dark shade of black.

At the end of the lesson, Sister Jensen said she had some sandwiches and chips for us. We needed to clean up, however, before we could eat. Sister Jensen showed us some special pegs where we could hang up our paint shirts until our next lesson and then guided us to a big sink to wash up.

“Look at all of those pretty colors swirling in the water,” she said. “They are so beautiful.”

“That color’s yucky,” I said, pointing to the poopy green splotch on my elbow.

“Oh, no,” Sister Jensen said. “I think all colors are beautiful. We just need to figure out where that color belongs, and then you will see how pretty it is.”


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M. McMann

I am a writer, an artist, an athlete, a brother. I have the crazy dream of making my part of the world a better place. I like to do kind things in secret and observe the joy I bring into other people's lives. I can't stand seeing others being treated unjustly. I hate the direction our government is taking this country. Since when did taking care of those who can't take care of themselves become evil? Everybody deserves to be treated with dignity, and I think we all appreciate when someone else has offered to lift us up. I am your neighbor. I am Mystery McMann.

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