I’m a terrible hoarder, I always have been. My year 4 teacher used to call me a squirrel as any notes, doodles, sick notes, chapel service sheets or report cards would end up in my class drawer. As I got older, and carried on collecting everything I thought I’d like to keep for posterity, I started putting them into shoeboxes. I carried this on until about 2 years ago, when I started keeping everything in the bottom of my handbag or wedged in the frame of my mirror. I try to be more selective than I used to be …did I really think that my future self would, on rediscovering a service sheet for the 2002 Harvest Festival, think fondly back on that service, perhaps hum a few of the hymns as I brushed my long red hair? – I had a very specific image of how I would look as a young adult. I would be tall and willowy, have long red hair and great teeth. I conveniently forgot that I would still be me- I have, since I was about 7, been a short, freckly, brown haired hobbit type. Except for when I dyed my hair red -lush, by the way- when I was a slightly rebellious hobbit-type. How I would possibly metamorphose into an elf is something I obviously hadn’t considered.
Yesterday mum pulled about a dozen shoeboxes from the attic and I went through them ruthlessly. Most birthday cards did not survive, and many of my carefully folded and hidden little love letters from my first ‘boyfriends’ (which, when you’re 8 years old means a boy who doesn’t repulse you, whom you might deign to talk to from time to time) finally went in the bin. They mostly consisted of apologies for upsetting me – it seems that as a child, I was a high maintenance ‘girlfriend’. I like to think I was under the influence of some drama-queen, stirring, much-cooler-than-me friends. Actually I was. In prep school (7-13) I wasn’t necessarily one of the cool kids- I was a bit too bookish and malcoordinated for that- but I was best friends (BFF!) with some self-proclaimed queen bees. They grew up to be lovely young women though, and I don’t think I turned out too badly.
Anyway, one of my favourite finds was a notebook in which my 9 year-old self had written a list of ‘Things I Love’ and ‘Things I Hate, no doubt inspired by the Anastacia Krupnik series of books I enjoyed. The list of ‘Things I Love’ was much longer than the list of ‘Things I Hate’, which is encouraging, although a few items had been crossed out and then re-written again further down the list, such as ‘Tom S.‘ (a ‘boyfriend’ who I actually go to uni with now, but only glimpse now and then. He’s a bit cool now, having successfully infiltrated the somewhat nepotist drama societies…not that I’m bitter. Ok, I am, but that’s a can of worms for another post).
The list of ‘Things I Hate’ was both hilarious and perplexing, and has led me to the conclusion that I must have been a bit of a weird child. Slightly crazy, at least. But always very earnest. I think I was an incredibly earnest child. Here’s the List of Things I Hate:
Bees and wasps
Yeah…Dairy farms? I have no idea why.
* (Sewing teacher who wouldn’t accept that I. Cannot. Sew. And who thought I was being silly when I screamed, having found a mummified mouse in a bag of polystyrene balls)