Six Items I Once Possessed That Are Now Lost Without A Trace
1. Tartan Scarf
Distinguishing features: A tartan scarf, hence the name. The check had a predominantly white background.
When and where did I lose it? C&A department store, Sunderland, 1974.
The whole sorry tale: Well, I was a very little girl who liked the Bay City Rollers, and I lurved my tartan scarf that was a sign of solidarity with them and their musical vision (very advanced for a three-year-old, I was). This meant that I wouldn't go anywhere without the scarf, and so was wearing it when my mum took me shopping in Sunderland town centre. It was only upon leaving C&A that I noticed I didn't have my scarf with me anymore. I promptly threw a tantrum. Perfunctory enquiries were made, but the scarf was never retrieved.
Sentimental value: At the time, enormous. Now, none whatsoever. As I recall, it wasn't actually bought as a bit of Rollers memorabilia – it was just an old scarf that happened to be lying around the house that I had wilfully adopted as fangurl-wear. I never do anything obsessive like that nowadays, no sirree....
Do I want it back? I've definitely got over both the trauma and my earliest fangurl interest now, so no, I don't. (If you find it, you can have it!)
2. American Stars and Bars
Distinguishing features: It's a Neil Young album. I had it on cassette because I didn't have a CD player at the time.
When and where did I lose it? Salford, 1995
The whole sorry tale: I strongly suspect that my brother nicked off with it. He denies this, of course. But then he would, wouldn't he? However, I did once hunt through every cassette in an enormous box of them that he had, and I couldn't find it.
Sentimental value: Well, it's not a bad album (it's got "Like A Hurricane" on it, after all). But then again, it wasn't as if I'd lost Rust Never Sleeps.
Do I want it back? Not especially, since I imagine I could just go and buy a CD of it cheaply enough if I wanted one.
3. "Grim" T-shirt
Distinguishing features: Black T-shirt emblazoned with the legend "Are you grim enough?"
When and where did I lose it? London, around 1998
The whole sorry tale: There are two sorry tales: the one of how I came to own such an item in the first place, and the one of how I came to lose it. I acquired it as a souvenir of a college pub crawl organized by GrimSoc, the university's northerners society. (Foreign readers may not know that it's proverbially grim up north. And it's sometimes literally grim there too.) I lost it when it had been demoted to gym wear and I was in my gym-going phase, so I strongly suspect it got left at the gym. But no one ever handed it in. (Shandy-drinking southern bastards.)
Sentimental value: Slightly higher than the sentimental value of a nondescript T-shirt. I wouldn't wear it now (living as I do by the words of the great prophets Trinn-E and Zu-Zana), but I remember walking down the street in Cambridge wearing it in my student days, and having tourist boys yell at me "Yes, I am!", followed, even more amusingly, by the muttered query "Was ist grim?"
Do I want it back? Hell no. If it still exists in the world, it's probably much too grim even for me.
4. Set of glass candleholders
Distinguishing features: 3 small glass holders (red, blue and green) that take tealight candles. Bought from Ikea, i.e. very very cheap.
When and where did I lose it? London, around 1999/2000
The whole sorry tale: Mystery! They lived in the mantelpiece in the house I shared for many years, and one day I just noticed they had vanished. My flatmates were all longstanding friends who wouldn't have stolen them, and no one had moved out for years, and I don't think they could have got broken, because there were three to break. So I suspect a passing reprobate probably took them (we used to have a lot of parties). But who the hell goes to parties and steals candleholders? Booze, yes. Cheap candleholders, no.
Sentimental value: Ikea candleholders are a dime a dozen (or more accurately, 3 for £1) so I have bought others since. Still, I liked those first ones. They were pretty. *sulks*
Do I want it back? Yes, dammit. It's the principle of the thing.
5. Tulip umbrella
Distinguishing features: Large green umbrella that had a handle with a big red plastic tulip on the end.
When and where did I lose it? Somewhere in London, autumn 2002
The whole sorry tale: Well, it was an umbrella, wasn't it, so I was BOUND to lose the thing in the end. It probably ended up on the tube, or in a cafe, or something.
Sentimental value: Minor. It was a present, and it was at least nice to have a distinctive umbrella that I could pick out of the pile at work (can't do that with a plain black one, nope).
Do I want it back? Well, no. I did like it, and I am into the whole "having a brolly with me at all times" thing, but it was too big and bulky to be practical. I now go for a little folding brolly that I can keep in my handbag. Gosh, I'm so rock and roll.
6. Sparkly necklace
Distinguishing features: Rather nice necklace with shiny coloured glass droplets, which was one of a few bits of costume jewellery that I inherited from my late granny (she never wore them, that I remember: they were just things she'd never thrown away). I have a couple of other necklaces of hers, and still wear them occasionally.
When and where did I lose it? London, sometime between December 2001 and spring 2002.
The whole sorry tale: I last remember wearing it in December 2001 (when I saw George Melly at Ronnie Scott's, jazz fans), and I definitely still had it with me when I came home. But it was too flashy an item to wear unless I was very dressed up, so the next time a dressing-up occasion came around, I looked for it and it wasn't there any more. Since then I have moved house twice, and cleaned out everything in my cupboards and drawers, and haven't found it. Oh dear.
Sentimental value: Quite big.
Do I want it back? Yes, I would, actually. But since I can't think how I lost it in the first place, I can't really look for it any more.