If you read my pop culture memoir, you will come to a chapter about "boyfriend boxes" and the importance of the stuff we keep. And the first thing you will notice is that, of course, my box is filled more with important moments in my pop culture history than my date history. Well, recently I pulled out the box to flip through the items and see what still held up (time capsule wise). Here are a few of my favorites:
After I directed my first high school theatre production, my mother got me a director's chair with my name on it. The chair is long gone, but I saved the back as a reminder of childhood ambitions. I also had a sweatshirt that said "But what I really want to do is direct." I got it in a tourist shop off-Broadway and wore it all the time, unfortunately including to an appointment at my hair colorist's, who accidentally dripped dye on the sleeve, creating a splotchy design that I just couldn't justify.
Big influences and collections: the very first soap opera magazine I ever bought (I went on to stockpile them weekly), my original copy of the RENT (cassette!) soundtrack that I wore out until the voices got all slow, and a couple of my favorite Wacky Packages trading cards/stickers. I also collected SBTB and New Kids trading cards, Lisa Frank stickers, and pogs. Oh, I had so many pogs!.
Did I learn anything from this experiment of looking back? Well, I guess above anything that I'm a bit of a hoarder! But it never fails to interest me in what I've deemed interesting and worthy enough to keep after all of this time. And every time I open the box, I remember something else from my childhood that I tossed away flippantly at some point, assuming I had outgrown it and wouldn't need it anymore, only to realize that I'd love to still have it now-- even if only to keep stored away in this box. And I contemplate scouring eBay for someone else's copy, but it would come with someone else's memories, and that feels a little bit like cheating, and just a little bit wrong.
When I was a baby, I apparently loved that clown and that little bunny washcloth. I used to chew on them in my crib and sleep with them at night. I worry about the health effects of the paint missing from that clown that I clearly inhaled, and yet it didn't stop me from giving the matching one to Madison when he first came to live with me. Every baby needs to learn to not be scared of clowns! Anyway, the tap shoes are just funny because I apparently loved dance class but was petrified of performing on stage, so my parents let me skip my recital. And then I guess we all gave up because I never went back. Those shoes don't even fit my hands now; I think I was only three when I wore them. I also saved a Polly Pocket (they were all the rage for birthday party gift bags back in my day), and I'm certainly glad I did because Polly Pocket is something of a skank these days. And the Tamagotchi. You can never forget the Tamagotchi. Before there was texting; there were Tamagotchis to distract kids in class!
When I worked in production, I loved having a badge to make me official. Next to a headset, it was my favorite part of being on a set. Unfortunately you don't get them unless you work in a studio or on a soundstage, and I didn't have many such stationary locationed jobs.
So when I got into the other side of the business and began working as a member of the media, I would collect the credentials given to get me on red carpets, into award shows and parties, and special access at concerts or signings. I haven't kept each and every single one over the years, but some of the more special ones-- the ones that I look at and automatically have a funny story or anecdote pop into my mind about the event.
For my fourteenth birthday, my mother took the photo of my first meeting with Jensen Ackles to a jeweler and had it etched into a small gold heart that I could wear around my neck or keep close on my keychain. I wore it the next time I met him, about a year and a half later, but very soon after decided I didn't like yellow gold. I tucked it away with a few other yellow gold pieces (a double heart ring that no longer even fit me and a bangle bracelet that also no longer fit me) and miraculously it still looks good-- not really scratched or faded at all!