In the winter of 1993, I checked out a “How to Make Pop-up Cards” book from the library and became obsessed. I made at least 30 or so pop-up cards over the course of a fortnight, swiping supplies from the after-school care arts & crafts closet. I gave most of the cards away, including an intricately cut cow with a mouth that appeared to speak when you opened and closed the card just-so. “Moo-ry Christmas! Happy Moo Year!”
I was nine, what do you want from me?
Hoarded for: 18 years. And counting.
Stored: Upgraded from a plastic sterlite box in the study to the cedar chest my great grandfather built for me but didn’t quite finish before he died.
Pain at loss: Too much. I can’t just throw them away. I’m keeping my greeting card masterpieces at least until the occasion arises to gift them to someone who will appreciate dorky pop-up cards from nine-year-old me.
Acquired: 1999 (play the slideshow or click through to read my high school principal’s attempts to sooth worried parents.)
In the spring of 1999, high school kids all over the country were uneasy in the wake of the Columbine shootings. Rumors of imminent violence were rampant at my high school. Some students were more on edge than others; at least one kid scurried under his desk when a mohawked friend of mine walked into class wearing a trench coat. The anxiety was pervasive enough that bomb threat pranks (mostly ignored before the tragedy in Colorado) were now being “taken very seriously” by the school administration.
Beginning in April and continuing through final exams in June, the start of our school day was delayed at least once a month after a threatening phone call or, once, a note taped to the school’s main entrance.
The administration usually managed to corral most of the student body onto the tennis courts, containing the teeming masses of mildly freaked out but mostly amused adolescents behind the tall chain link fence while bomb sniffing dogs canvassed the school for signs of an explosive. I was almost always wily enough to get the hell off campus before being herded into the containment zone.
Bomb threats usually meant a de facto excused absence, so I’d spend the day truant; roaming the mall or raiding someone’s dad’s liquor cabinet. In May, in one of the nerdiest displays of teenage rebellion ever, some friends and I escaped to the movie theater to catch a morning showing of The Phantom Menace.
No bombs were ever found.
Thrown away: 2011.
Hoarded for: Nearly 12 years.
Pain at loss: Almost none. Digitizing bits of paper makes getting rid of them easier. I’m also beginning to I think that I kept a lot of this stuff out of habit rather than true sentimental attachment.
The people in these bands probably didn’t save any of this stuff, but I lined my teenage bedroom walls with xeroxed show flyers. When we moved to California they all got tossed together in a box which has been hanging out in one closet or another for over a decade now.
I kept swearing I was going to use them for a decoupage project or something, but it never happened.
The little blue and white sticker of a guy with glasses was the logo of the now-long-defunct Poindexter Records, an independent record shop on Ninth Street, where I used to hang out. There’s an article in this set, clipped from the local paper, about the older kids loitering around Ninth Street - I saved it because a friend’s big brother was quoted, though somehow I’ve lost the scathing letter to the editor one of the kids wrote in reply. Anyway.
The most notable non-show flyer in this set is my old friend Keith’s poster for his write-in candidacy for Junior Class President. If I recall correctly, he won the vote but wound up not serving because the girl who was officially on the ballot cried. Yay high school!
Thrown away: 2011. Well, sort of. They’re in a pile next to my desk just in case someone from back home thinks “Well, damn, I’d actually like to have that bit of mid-nineties memorabilia!”. Totally free. Send me a message (use the “ask” link) with your mailing address and which flyer you want and I’ll mail that sucker to you. Expires next Monday (January 31), when I’ll be throwing these in the outside trash bin. Or maybe I’ll plaster them all over this little California town, just to mess with people.
Hoarded for: 11-14 years.
Pain at loss: I thought trashing these would be more gut-wrenching, but now that they’re curated on flickr (where the only people who will really care are folks born between 1979 and 1985 who lived in Durham/Chapel Hill in the mid-to-late nineties), getting rid of them looks like it’ll be painless.