This is your life

Last year I stumbled across this collection of belongings at a car boot sale. As soon as I saw the black cardboard box, my mind was racing with questions and my heart was thumping at the thought of somebody’s precious belongings ending up under a pile of junk on a 50p stall. Of course, I had to buy the box.

Every now and then I have a leaf through the box and try to imagine the life of the person (female I think) who they once belonged to. What did she look like? Where did she live? What did she do? Was she happy? What happened to her? What adventures did she have? Who did she love? What was her world like?

Below is an inventory of some of the items in the black cardboard box. Use it to write about this person – a diary, letter, story, poem, whatever you feel suits. We would love to hear your imaginings.


-Black and white photograph of a boy and girl (primary school age), on the back there is a date: 31.12.62

-A programme for the ‘Opera Highlights’ presented by Ipswich Civic College. Featuring music by Bizet, Mozart, Verdi and Britten

-A shopping list written on the back of a brown envelope, including; belt, coat to cleaners, 1/2lb box chocolate ginger, wool, records (Trial by Jury), Joan’s present, Joan’s card, check on blue jugs, 2 pairs 91/2 M&S stockings

-A white handkerchief with the letter P and pink flowers embroidered at one corner

-A tiny Christmas card with a photograph of a boy wearing a blazer ‘from Anthony, Christmas 1963’

-Lots of letters, one handwritten, the rest written using a typewriter (the typed ones are ripped up). One letter has the heading ‘East Suffolk County Educatio….(rip)’ and another, ‘P.S Chinery, Cacti and Succulents’

-A prefect badge

-Approx 50 stamps torn from envelopes, many with Ipswich postmark, one postmarked from the Isle of Man on 16th January 1964

-One floral button, 2cm in diameter

-One 1935 penny coin

-A small length of red ribbon

Get writing!

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