the cupboard of lost things

The government have decided that our house needs insulation, and the workmen need access to the attic space. This requires emptying out the cupboard that leads to it. Inside the cupboard is a haphazard tower of toys from the early noughties, strange relics and forgotten memories. There’s something so peculiar at seeing your childhood taken out systematically and stacked neatly on the floor.

Within the cupboard are an army of Hamataro’s – tiny Japanese pencil toys that cost a dollar or two from the Sunday market. I have hundreds of them, and they lie nestled in a plastic bag, painted paws clasped over plump plastic bellies. The cupboard also houses stacks of suitcases, a bed for sleeping dust bunnies. A photograph of a woman none of us recognize was also found – perhaps belonging to a former tenant who forgot to pack it.

IMG_7834(above – forgottengraph)

Big green backpacks, with hiking boots tied to them – painted from the mud of far away mountains and glens and rolling hills. A badminton racket. A luminous yellow ski helmet, that earned me the nickname of ‘Yokey’ on the slopes. The elegant curve of a recurve bow protrudes from behind the suitcases, as do six purple arrows (there were seven, but one was fired into the garden by my friend Veronica, and the memory lies wedged in a pōhutukawa tree).

(below – the arrows)IMG_7889IMG_7916

Of course, there is twenty years worth of toys. The doll house with the real working lights and tiny hinged doors. A red wooden bus. A canal boat that me and one of my brothers spent hours swirling around the bath. Two castles (one wooden, one plastic). All of which were used to set the scenes of spy missions, grand voyages, and battles. They lie empty now, separated from the toys that had their adventures there. The soft grey rabbits are in a box. Barbie, with her legs bent into a karate stance, is upside down in a pile of stuffed animals and sock monkeys. Sheepy and the Ugly Dolls rest between the cat cage and Christmas decorations.

All of these pieces of childhood bringing up all of these memories. And then the insulation will be installed, and then they’ll be returned to the cupboard, and once again will become Lost Things.

(below – dolls house furniture: bath, tap + brushes, and a colour television)IMG_7846(below – various board games)IMG_7841IMG_7864(above – fairy wings: meticulously selected for their green + blue colour scheme so i could be a ‘tomboy fairy’. below – standing on the threshold of the cupboard, empty for the first time in years)IMG_7796



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