I’ve done a lot while at home the past few weeks, including the “pleasures” of cooking, cleaning and babysitting. Not everything is bad, though; I have shopped online, gotten ahead on schoolwork, spent time with family and organized my room. While organizing, I found a memory box whose contents left me feeling nostalgic.
The box sat underneath my clarinet and sewing machine on the top shelf of my closet. Its flat-top lid sealed with Velcro and a pink rose design around small Eiffel towers showed its age. While the box was relatively large, I could still retrieve it after removing the items on top and struggling for quite some time. When I placed the box on my bed, I cleaned the shelf where the box had once lain to ensure I could easily put the relic back when finished. Afterward, I sat beside the box and lifted the flap to find a top layer covered in small items.
As a child, my doctor’s visits concluded with a sticker, a Scooby-Doo or floral-patterned token of success that cheered me up; I saved these stickers in the box for my cheer. My dog of 13 years passed away four years ago, I found her collar in my box and it made me smile. Also on this top-level were souvenirs from amusement parks, beaches, mountains and other childhood trips: a glass shark, a bottle of sand, a long-forgotten note. Beside these knick-knacks sat a clear box containing 200 Silly-Bandz of all ring, bracelet and animal shapes imaginable. I removed all these items and placed them on the side of my box.
Up until I was 12 or 13, I would write down everything that happened to me in my diary. Cheesy, I know, but it let me rant and vent my feelings in a productive way. Finding this diary on the next level of the box, I was entertained by my younger self, yet I won’t go into the cringiness of elementary school crushes and drama.
Not only had I expressed myself in my diaries, but I opened my old scrapbooks and saw another outlet as well. I picked up a sketchbook with blue and pink paint on its spirals and whose cover I’d pasted with magazine cutouts. I flipped halfway through the book to a drawing of Billie Eilish, my second-best work ever. To practice for my self-portrait I used her as my muse, and my work captured her perfectly. I drew her with charcoal pencils and sketch pencils I had sitting next to the rest of the books in the box. Beside Billie was a drawing of my old dog Bandito that looked torn from another book; he ran away years ago, and seeing him, even if it was not really him, was very nice.
If we’re being honest, being home isn’t all bad, as I’ve been able to grow close to my family, look back on my childhood and attempt to cook. Even with COVID-19 across the world, finding joy in the little moments is nice, even if it’s looking through diaries or painting or cooking.