I can’t believe I am about to do this. Right now on this here blog I am about to open my diary and expose it’s pages to you dear reader. However if you are looking for anything more scandalous than taking a day off school to trip to Tesco’s with my mum or me playing Post Offices with my sister then regrettably, you are going to be very disappointed. After all, I was only ten.
A few weeks back, after putting it off for I don’t know how long and having the need for more space, I decided to go through my bedroom draws and cabinets and get rid of all the junk that I no longer needed and forgot I even had. We’ve all done it. We have all been in that situation where we have had sod all better to do with our time so we decided to have a clear out. We then proceed to dig deep into bedside cabinets, delve under beds and route right to the bottom of wardrobes to retrieve items long forgotten and an inch thick with dust. In my case, a new, bigger bed was moving in, so some old, useless shit needed to move out. The trouble with me is that I am sentimental so these exercises rarely provide positive results. I hoard things. Old birthday and Christmas presents, programs from various concerts and shows, clothes and jewelry I no longer wear, gadgets that haven’t worked for years and all manner of other pointless, past-their-used-by-date objects. So as you can imagine tasks of this nature are time consuming and fraught with difficult decisions. But I digress. It was on this epic tidy out that I came across my childhood diary. For twelve long years (remember I’m a hoarder) this little secret keeper had gone untouched and unnoticed, hidden underneath more recent objects just waiting for me to open it’s covers and take a trip down memory lane.
I can’t remember who gave me the diary but I seem to think it was a gift, more than likely a Christmas one because who would give me a diary in August? When I received it I must have asked what the hell it was and what I was supposed to do with it because I was only seven at the time. The purpose of the diary was obviously explained to me because I remember being told that I would never regret keeping a diary and that it would be something to look back on when I was older. Of course at seven I never imagined a time when I would be twenty-two and find such things amusing.
The diary was (and still is) small and colourful. The cover has pictures of cats frolicking with balls of wool on patterned rugs, I’ve never even liked cats so don’t ask why. What impressed me at the time was the fact that the book had a real lock on the front to keep all my secrets secret and this lock required an actual key to open it. I also thought the diary was dead posh because the edges of the pages were painted gold! The diary spans five years, from 1995 to 1999, taking me from ages seven through to eleven. I have to admit that for the first three years the entries were intermittent and large amounts of the pages remain blank for those years. It wasn’t until 1998, when I was ten, that I made a special effort and wrote in the diary every day. I think I know why I made this concerted effort in ’98 as I am pretty sure that this was the year we learnt about Anne Frank and her diary at school. Although I very much doubt that in (almost) 70 years time school children will be reading from my diary! Never-the-less while my diary might not be historical gold to others I found myself unable to put down this book of my ten year old self.
On opening the covers of my diary I can see where I have peppered every available space with words my mum has obviously helped me to spell. Words like: Because, questions, photos, magazines (see even then I was a magazine junkie.) I have also written little reminders to myself which say: ‘ Tomorrow do spellings!’ and ‘Remember-Abigail is coming to sleep over on Saturday- Don’t forget!’
Oh to be young and care free…
Among the scrawly handwriting and the shocking spellings I got lost in my childhood years. I know it has been said before and I am sure that it will be said again but life was so much simpler when we were young. Don’t you agree? As kids we spent all our time wishing we could be grown up only to discover that being a kid really isn’t so bad after all. When we were young we dreamt of the day when mum would let us eat bubblegum, go places on our own, make our own decisions and stay up past 8 o’clock only to find out these things aren’t all they were cracked up to be. After all, as a kid you have nothing to worry about. Nothing to afford, no money to manage, no job, no relationships, no responsibility. Simples. The only things we had to worry about as kids were playground squabbles, homework and whether you would get ice cream after tea.
1995 (age 7):
January 10th: Stayed at nanna’s no school today we’ve got an Ariel comic.
January 21st: I made a fantasy castle at home today with my mummy and loren.
February 16th: We went to the Fun Factory with meg and aiden. we made a crown and played owt (out!)
February 19th: I am going to get some new pumps and they are coming by post.
I used to have to share those Little Mermaid comics with my sister and I remember like yesterday making the fantasy castle out of paper mache. We painted the castle pink and the turret roofs blue. We saw how on Art Attack. Thanks Neil Buchanan!
1996 (age 8):
October 1st: Went to school had pack lunch went out to play came home watched Sister Sister on Nickalodian (Nickelodeon)
December 12th: Thursday I went swimming and I went underwater and got through the hoop. Yes!
1997 (age 9):
September 27th: Went to town went in cafie with mum and loren and auntie lorie and got some new shoes 🙂
September 28th: Went out to play went to the shop and went to Faye’s till 6 o’clock.
1998, the dedicated year (age 10):
January 23rd: Went to school did a science exsperiment it was the best science lesson EVER!
February 16th: Went to town got a Baby Spice doll came home played out with Kelly and Donna.
February 24th: Pancake day went to school had asembely then spellings got 24/24 went home had pancakes there my favorite. Yum!
March 15th: Went to Lorna’s party had a grate time won 50p from a game!
April 9th: Made our Spice girls den we have even got pass cards I’m baby spice. We put posters up.
May 26th: Today went to town got Spice Movie on video got home and watched it it was grate.
July 30th: Went to nanna’s got a Spice Girl magazine.
August 11th: Today I got up at 3 o’clock (in the morning!) for my birthday got lots of presents.
October 19th: I can’t believe this is my last week at this school then I’m going to Barnby Dun school. Did english came home.
November 3rd: Today was our first day at Barnby Dun school it was ok. We had story time lee came to pick us up.
December 19th: We got lots of homework from school but today I put posters of Spice Girls in my room and I read some books.
I think it’s quite safe to say that in 1998 I loved the Spice Girls. Fair assumption?
1999 (age 11):
March 14th: WE GOT A DOG!! It is so cute it is a girl called Jessie. Loren went to see Steps I went for something to eat and bowling.
This is the only entry that mattered for this year and sums up my childhood dreams coming true. After this I stopped writing altogether. Obviously I was too busy chilling with my dog.
Im sure that if I dig deep enough into my childhood clutter I will find other diaries that I kept throughout my teens. Looking back now I am sure I will have been as care free then as in my kiddie diary only at the time I’m sure I thought I was hard done by. In my teen diary entries about the Spice Girls and playtimes with my friends will have been swapped for bitching about my sister, slagging off teachers I hated and bemoaning my hatred of maths homework.
But would I want to go back to these more simplistic times? Sometimes I think yes but on the whole not really. I am glad that I kept these diaries at the time and that I didn’t throw them out with the rest of my crap. The person that told me they would be nice to look back on when I got older was, without a doubt, right. The little details that I would have otherwise forgotten have been preserved within their pages.
Out of curiosity I found what my diary entry said on the exact same day (31st July) twelve years ago:
Today went nowhere, played Guess Who, made a secret den then went to nanna’s cause mum went to look at a new house.
I no longer keep a diary but if I did here is what today’s entry would say:
‘Got up and had a cup of coffee. Tidied up then wrote a new blog post. Pissed off because I have no job and no money. Adulthood must have finally caught up with me because despite the fact that my birthday is in eleven days I really couldn’t care less. It’s 2010 and I love Topshop.’
The diary is going back in the draw where it will no doubt lay for the next twelve years when I will again take it out, dust it off and take a trip down memory lane.
So go on, give it a go. Delve deep into your junk and see what you discover…