I’m a nostalgic person, I regularly wish to go back in time to the memories I think so fondly of and relive them all again. All through secondary school I kept a box where I would hoard away little keepsakes from life; from birthday cards to little doodles I attempted to hide away mementos from my school days. At twelve I began placing little items into a shoe box which in later years was replaced by a floral cardboard box, I’m not exactly sure what my aim was at the time but I continued preserving these memories right up until I finished school. In that cardboard box (which I’m pretty sure contained coffee mugs at one point) hides away six years of my teenage life. I’m turning twenty-two shortly, in a greater sense that’s still relatively young but to pick up items that at one point I felt were of significance to keep feels almost stupendous.
Here’s a rundown of the memories I stored away:
- Several birthday cards: My personal favourite is the 18th birthday card I got from my friends in school as they have personalised messages alongside each name.
- All my letters I received in the Gaeltacht: For anyone who is not from Ireland and has never heard of the Gaeltacht, it’s pretty much a Irish language School/Camp where many teenagers go for three weeks to speak/learn Irish. My family and friends would write me letters when I was gone.
- Mementos from my school musical: In my fourth year of school we did the musical ‘All Shook Up’ which is a 60’s set musical made up of Elvis songs. I kept little newspaper clippings wrote about the musical, a DVD of the musical and my pink ribbon that I wore in my hair.
- Tokens from our school tours: We went to Paris in second year and London in fourth year. I kept a ticket from seeing Dirty Dancing in the West End Theatre and a map of one of the shopping centres we were in from London. While from France I kept an itinerary for the week, an Eiffel Tower key-ring and I also kept a little journal that documents the week (we had to write a little diary entry in french each day for our french class, it also contains postcards of the places I visited).
- Doodles and Writings: I wasn’t very good at art but I held onto a few pieces I drew. English was one of my favourite subjects though and I kept some old stories and bits of poems I wrote for both school and fun.
- Boat tickets: These were for my three visits to Clare Island which are some of my favourite school memories. This was the first place I got drunk.
- School journals: When you’re in school they seem really boring but I find it funny reading any teacher complaints or notes from friends in there now. I also used to decorate the back pages of mine with song lyrics.
- A diary: I kept this during my first year in school. It’s ridiculously embarrassing but funny to be reading through the (very non-existent) dramas of my twelve/thirteen year old self. I’m pretty sure I read Anne Franks Diary around that time and became fixated on writing down about my day.
- Leaving Cert Exam keepsakes: I kept a few bits from my final year state exams like Macbeth quotes I wrote out to learn, my music practical song lyrics, my French oral document (it was a photo I had to bring into the oral to discuss), my Irish oral poem and Straith Pictiúr (that’s a series of photos we have to explain to the examiner).
- Bits and Bobs: The time I won bingo, a speech I did for a public speaking competition, a third place medal in the three legged race from my school’s sports day, a name badge from a substance abuse training day, concert tickets, a signature I have of a musician I like, a drawing one of my friends did, a sorry card from another friend (I honestly don’t remember what happened but I do remember she bought me a cookie to go with the card), a medal from a mini-marathon, my first wage slip, a beer key-ring a friend brought me from Copenhagen and my graduation mass booklet.