I cleared out more than just old junk from the loft the other day.

An unwelcome task, which had been put on hold over the years, as other more important and interesting chores pushed their way to the fore. Finally, the urgent need for dates stretching back decades ensured there was no further postponement. After all the embassy required certain information to procure the passport.

My heart sank a little as I donned my cleaning garb of oldest tracksuit bottoms, worn jumper and gardening coat. Why did I leave this to cold autumn days, why had I failed to take advantage of the warm light of summer? At last with old trainers on and a bucket of clean water on standby at the bottom of the rickety ladder, I headed into the darkness of the attic. I pulled the light cord and a satisfying twang later the space beneath the roof was alight in all its messy fusty glory.

As ever awed by quite how much stuff accumulated over the years I gritted my teeth, clambered up, spotting spider webs in the darkest recesses. Was there time to scamper down to fetch a shower cap for my hair? Would goggles over my glasses be an idea? As excuses flitted around the edge of my attention, I set to the task with intense vigour.

Quickly any misgivings were replaced with excitement; a treasure hunt into my past. Boxes were shifted and sifted through with speed. The ones behind me to be hauled downstairs, the rest to be left for another day. Only two or three boxes were supposed to make it to daylight, yet ten found their way to my studio.

The dust and grit from the loft followed me, a hazy cloying musty cloud hung around my body like an unkempt aura! Once outside I beat the muck out of my clothes and performed an unceremonious jig on the patio, ruffling my hair as it was released from the confines of the green silk bobble!

Surprisingly it wasn’t the major items, the most vital papers, which reached into my heart that day of sorting, of tidying. The smallest, most insignificant objects tugged my emotions in a most unexpected manner.

I laughed out loud as my old troll sought to escape the confines of the box, its vibrant orange hair tousled, the white knitted dress shimmering with a light coating of grey dust. Yet its eager cheeky smile was intoxicating and I realised how much I missed my friend! Not to be abandoned again, my old / new friend stands proudly by my computer screen. Did I see it shift its feet to take a peek at my writing?

My brother’s green Morgan toy car skidded out of another box and landed with aplomb upon the carpet, the thick pile an impediment to any further forward motion. How had I ended up with this toy? Was it from our childhood, or more likely he lent it to my son during one of our visits.

In an instant I’m bombarded with such strong sensations I reel backwards, luckily sitting comfortably in my chair. Our childhoods, those of our children inextricably intertwined.

My next discovery leaves me beaming away as my head is filled with music. A badge lies proudly on my desk and I remember with joy and glee of being one of the first worldwide members of the Bucks Fizz fan club. With my two best friends we listened avidly to their music, devoured the club magazines, pinned up the signed group photographs, practised the dances endlessly. The sense of freedom, lightness, the sense of unhampered possibilities soared within me.

My greatest moments of enlightenment, such was the power and revelation, were reserved for the perusal of my folders.

Years and years of study notes, essays, so much work safely secured inside the multicoloured array of folders. So many courses, most forgotten, some seared into my heart. Keats was an immediate love and one not forgotten, but who was Bruckner? The Russian translations had me in shock, how did we go from knowing no Russian to translating Dickens into Russian and reading Chekov in the original language in less than a year? Recycling bag after recycling bag was stuffed full whilst empty boxes were tossed outside onto the lawn.

I saved the oldest of boxes for last. These I wanted to savour and wow, I was in for a treat! My passion for writing and literature started young I recalled, but my absolute love and dedication was a revelation. Collecting quotes I thought was a new pastime for me from my early days of blogging. Not the case as I discovered tiny cards with quotations on one side, the source on the other side. All neatly placed in a small box. The inherent wisdom of these floored me. I was barely fourteen.

Alongside these were pages of notes for my handmade magazine. In-depth articles researched, written, edited and finally published. ‘The Peripheral’ was my first foray into self-publishing.

Scattered loosely within a folder was a German magazine that featured articles about life, our hopes for 2025, our many fears but also beliefs that life would get better. On smaller A5 yellow sheets of paper the wise words of Socrates copied out in hand. Bless. How earnest was my young heart and soul? Bless it for caring so much.

The other day I cleared out not only my loft but also the cynicism and pessimism of modern life. I trashed my acceptance of life now; I threw away my belief that things can’t be better. I refreshed my soul with the beauty of youth, innocence and trust in people, a future, of humanity. I chucked out the ‘I can’ts’ with the exuberance of childhood ‘I cans’ and why not! It seemed so easy and free then.

They say I thought too much as young. I realise that was true to an extent … but the thoughts were on the wings of my heart flying high. Over the years my thoughts would dominate, take over and gradually dampen the imagination and carefree wonder of the world and all its magic.

A magic rediscovered in the loft amongst my musty dusty belongings. A magic released into the world!

©Annika Perry

Many thanks to my mother for finding this photo! Here my troll, with some aid from myself, is playing the piano at my kindergarten/pre-school!

157 thoughts on “BOXES OF REVELATIONS

  1. Pingback: Introducing Author & Artist VJ Knutson – PRIORHOUSE INTERVIEW (5FEB2022) – priorhouse blog

  2. This was a fun read. I thoroughly enjoyed your memories as well as the British words you used of course which are different from American like jumper/sweater or trainers/athletic shoes. Troll dolls still make me smile, but I can not get in to the Troll movie series. Glad you enjoyed your trip down memory lane and thank you for bringing us with you. Happy New Year!

    1. A troll movie?! I’ve never heard of this and the mind boggles but it does not sound tempting at all! Thank you so much for your lovely comment and I’m glad you enjoyed the post and also the language variances. I hadn’t thought about that as I wrote the post and it’s always funny how a language can be so similar yet distinctly different! Wishing you a very Happy New Year! 😀🎈

      1. Here is the Wikipedia Link on the Troll movie franchise. It’s very possible that this is more a US thing than an international phenom. “Trolls is an American animated media franchise created by DreamWorks Animation, inspired by the successful line of Troll doll toys created by Thomas Dam. The franchise consists of two feature films, Trolls, released in 2016, and Trolls World Tour released in 2020, two holiday television specials: Trolls Holiday and Trolls: Holiday in Harmony and two animated series: Trolls: The Beat Goes On! on Netflix, and Trolls: TrollsTopia on Hulu and Peacock. “

        1. Pat, thank you so much for finding this for me! No idea these were made and so recently. I’ve enjoyed watching the trailers for them and we do have Netflix so might even give the fill films a go!

  3. Pingback: Light the Night (Sunday Stills) Christmas 2021 – priorhouse blog

  4. IT is a window in the past. Moments re-lived in our memory, triggered by special objects. Coincidentally, I had a troll with orange hair, albeit much, much smaller. I am incredulous that you could translate a novel in less than a year! Impressive. When we moved house a few years ago, most of that childhood stuff was tossed, but I noticed that the literary quality of my high school and uni assignments was surprisingly high.
    I love your pro-active approach of, “I can,” or, “What can I ….” Rather than stuck in lamentations of what was, or might have been.
    Merry Christmas.

    1. Amanda, thank you so much for your thoughtful comment – definitely a window into the past and one I did not even know was there or needed to be opened! 😀 Yeah! Lovely you also had an orange-haired troll – they seem to be an acquired taste and most of my friends were baffled by them! The book was more of a novella but I too feel astonished as I had no recollection of it at all! Probably the shock of all the work! 😀 I’m in awe that you managed to clear out so much of your childhood things – it’s not easy and my Barbies etc are still safely stored away.

      Jag önskar dig en god jul och ett riktigt gott nytt år! 🌟

  5. Annika, this is absolutely beautiful and a gift for the soul. I felt like I was with you on this journey to years gone by. “How earnest was my young heart and soul? Bless it for caring so much.” a gem of reflection with wisdom and grace. Thanks so much for sharing this with us. Christmas blessings to you and your family. xo

    1. Natalie, bless you for your wonderful comment! ❤️ I thought I could feel someone else here! 😀 The emotions and revelations were powerful indeed and ones I wanted to share here – truly a ‘gift for the soul’.

      Wishing you and your family a very special Christmas too. xx

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