When I was in high school a local furniture store sent every 16 year old girl a gift certificate for a free memento box. The idea was that was we would show up with our parents to claim it & they would then be talked into buying us a hope chest.

But my parents were made of sterner stuff than that. As I recall my dad actually called the sales guy on it, told him we would not be buying anything & to just give me the box already so we could all get on with our day.

It was 1983, probably the dying days of the hope chest era & they were desperate to sell the things.

I still have the box.

I hadn’t looked in it in years but in light of Sian’s prompt for Storytelling Sunday I dug it out and looked through what was in there.


Photos & random stuff apparently.


These are the things I needed to keep once upon a time. 1. My driver’s permit from 1983; you can see where I failed the driving part the first try. I had put the car in the wrong gear while trying to parallel park and hit the car in front of me when I should have been backing up. 2. A couple employee cards from Wheeling Park where I worked every summer from 1980 to 1987. 3. The admission card to my high school prom, which I did not attend because my date was in the hospital with meningitis.

Or so he claimed.

There was something suspect about the whole thing if you ask me, but I can no longer remember what exactly, just a vague memory of not quite believing him for some reason.


These are a collection of stickers, the words to an elaborate sorority drinking song with the chorus “Drink beer, drink beer, oh come drink a beer with me. I don’t give a damn about any old man who won’t drink a beer with me”, which pretty much sums up my sorority experience and some doodles. I used to doodle these faces I called spies and would then give them disguises and eventually concoct plots for them. That one on top says “Two spies disguised as a fire hydrant & an ice cream wagon exchange information while a spy disguised as a balloon keeps watch and an enemy round eyed spy in a wig & hat listens in”. This dates the doodle to 1986 or 87 because in the summer of 86 I worked behind an ice cream wagon at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT center.


There are also some photos. Freshman year my roommate & I covered our room walls in gift wrapping paper for Christmas. The group photo in the back was taken right around the time I left Morgantown in 1992 and the black & white one was taken at an amusement park around the same time.  The multicolored cord was a hair tie I had in my hair for most of grad school.  I cut it out when it was time to go on job interviews.

That just leaves these:


Movie stubs from the mid 80s – Breakfast Club, Indiana Jones, Ghostbusters, Best Defense & others –  including one from an actual date!  I don’t remember the movie at all but I remember the end of the date and what was quite clearly the “compulsory end of date kiss” that concluded it. I think he might have even said something along the lines of “lets get this over with.” I find it amusing now & I found it amusing then because I really didn’t think the kiss was at all necessary but apparently he did. We were friends. I’d thought we were seeing the movie as friends. He’d thought it was a date. Probably we should have gotten that clear at the beginning. Had it even crossed my mind there might be some disagreement about it, I would have said something.

Only I could manage to go on a date and not realize I was actually on a date.

This would be a different guy than suspicious prom meningitis guy.

I did not have much luck dating in high school. In fact, those were two of the three dates I had the whole time.

The other was to the Sadie Hawkins dance and I’ll save that disaster for a different Storytelling Sunday.

There is also an ‘emergency key’ (that’s what is says on it) that I don’t think I ever knew what it opened. It’s  straight piece of metal, what could it possible open? And there are an assortment of never used colored paper clips.

I have no idea why I am keeping the paper clips. The rest of the stuff all sort of makes sense, but not the paper clips.

This post was written for Storytelling Sunday, hosted by Sian at From High in the Sky. Stop by and check out everyone’s stories & add you own!

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17 comments to Mementos

  • What fantastic memories of growing up and all the associated stories. Paper clips though? Hmmm, puzzling!

  • Lythan

    What a fantastic peek into the past. You could probably tell even more stories from just that one box!

  • Lovely memories! Thanks for sharing the content of your box with us. Happy 2013. Cheers from Bordeaux, France

  • I love the randomness of the stuff kept. Great memories too :-)

  • I love this – it’s another box of random 1980’s wonderfulness, how could it fail to make me smile?! Those movie stubs are just so evocative, I have gone back and looked at your picture a couple of times. They say it all!

    Thanks Stacey. I’m really interested in your “Hope Chest” story too. It’s not a tradition we have over here and I bet there are lots of stories to be told about them.

  • I think I probably have paper clips in some of my random boxes… just never know when they might come in useful!!!!!

  • I just found this little Precious Moments box I had and in it? My BFF necklace, I was the ying and she was the yang. I also had this weird unicorn ring that was always too big, and now it’s too small. But I have a hope chest, I got it when I graduated high school in 2000 and I remember thinking, WTF??? My brother got a laptop two years later and I was reminded how yet again, I was jipped.

  • I have the exact same memento box – given to all the girls in the graduating class of 1979. Not much in it these days. At least yours holds a lot of interesting memories!

  • Jo

    You have some great memories in that box, thanks for sharing.

  • Oh how fun to see the movie ticket stubs and bits – I especially like the photos. Was just talking to Princess about decorating her room at Uni for Christmas, as she won’t be home when we decorate at the beginning of Advent. Wookie’s favourite place at WDW – and the reason he was willing to go was Epcot.

    Thanks for sharing the memories – and smiles :)

  • Elizabeth

    What a charming story! I love how it was written with humor and great insight. By the way, my father would have acted the same way by stating right up front that we would not be buying anything. Loved the story.

  • What a veritable treasure trove of a box. So many precious memories kept in there that probably come flooding back as you told the story of each layer. I love that!

  • A great little box of treasures!

  • I have a feeling that we will be seeing a few hope chests popping up in these ‘precious’ stories :-) Your box is like an 80’s time warp!!!! Looks like you enjoyed yourself. I visited Epcot for its opening (I think ’82, it wasn’t the grand opening but the ‘test’ one for Florida residents) and then again in ’92. Looks like I missed you :-D LOL

  • sheena x

    What a fabulous collection of memories x
    Many thanks for sharing.

  • I’d totally forgotten about Hope Chests, though there was a time when I wanted one badly. You’ve quite a collection there and all those bits and pieces bring back a lot of memories. I loved looking through it with you.

  • jen

    Ah, colored paperclips. I have a large assortment from circa 1983 as well. My rationalization for keeping them (and still using them to this day) when not stored in their little cube magnetic box, is that they were very hip and colorful and unlike the boring metal paperclips that had only existed before that time. I remember making bracelets and necklaces and all sorts of paperclip jewelry. And sometimes, yes – sometimes on very rare occasions, I’d also use them to affix sheets of paper together. Loved the walk through your memory box – although very interested to know whether the meningitis story was legit. Did you ever find out? That might require a Facebook investigation!