This is a doll`s dress my grandmother sent me from America when I was five. She made complete wardrobes of outfits for my dolls and they arrived in large wooden packing crates. She was a wonderful seamstress and the care with with she finished the clothes, stitching linings and collars and tiny button-holes, is amazing. I have kept the dolls` clothes as a token of her love. Now I realise that she must have been lonely – she was a widow – and that the time she spent stitching must have represented a great deal of time on her own, thinking about the grandchildren who lived across the Atlantic, too far away to see. This is a nurse`s dress and it reminds me that when I was a child all the girls I knew wanted to be nurses. We were still in an era when only men were doctors. We wanted to look after other people, that was how we were encouraged to see our lives and careers. I`m not sure girls wear nurses` outfits much now. They dream of being princesses instead.
Elizabeth Burke, Radio Producer, London.
These are my two rag dolls, Alice and Alice. Alice 1 was given to me when I was six months old and as a toddler I took her everywhere; the playground, friends’ houses, holidays. Unfortunately on the way back from a trip to Paris with my family when I was four, Alice went missing. I cried for weeks and my parents bought me Alice 2 to comfort me. A month or two after the trauma a parcel arrived for me in the post. I was overjoyed when I opened it and discovered Alice 1 inside! I later found out that my parents had called the eurostar lost property office and located Alice for me but at the time I thought it was some kind of miracle. Now I love them both and keep them in a special place in my bedroom so I will never lose either one of them again.
Elly, 19, Edinburgh, Student
Jocie Juritz, 19, Singer, Chiswick, London, UK.
‘Ski Boots’ was written at a time when I had cold feet, in many respects. Coincidentally, a few days later I was offered a real pair of Ski Boots which have kept my toes warmer ever since.
Follow the link to see jocie singing the song “Ski Boots”
This is the crucifix given to me at my Christening. I never leave the country without it, as apart from representing my faith, it’s also identical to those owned by my two sisters, so it links us all together wherever we are.
Lucy, 19, student, London, UK.
My last pair of ballet shoes. I was a professional ballet dancer for my whole career, I stopped dancing about 35 years ago. My last dance was the lead role in Metamorphoses, it was for a competition and we won. I carried these around in the same little bag my mother had embroidered for me when I first started with an elastic N for Nina.
Nina, 75, retired dancer, London UK
I was in a shop years ago with my little brother who was 5 years old at the time. I said I loved these things and showed it to him and he just rolled his eyes and said it was “booring”. I had forgotten about that but he remembered even though he was only 5, last week he came back from a school trip with this one as a present to me and when he gave it to me he said “not boring”, he is 9 years old now. I found it very touching and I know I will keep this forever now just because he remembered.
Katia, 19, student, London, UK
We moved house when I was eight and I really really didn’t want to go because I had lived there all my life and I loved it and the new house didn’t have a garden. It was spring and I picked a flower from my favourite bush, I have looked after it really well!
Lisa, Teacher, 25, London UK.
This book was my mothers when she was a child, she probably read it about ten or fifteen times. When I was about six I started complaining about wanting to read “proper books”, I meant books with lots of writing and less pictures. So my mum gave me Heidi and I think I read it as many times as she had, in fact I remember hardly anything else from before I was seven than pulling that book off my top shelf and staying in bed all day with it eating buttered bread.
Pippa, Publisher, 28, London UK.
I went to India when I was 10. I remember very little about it but I brought back this tiny glass bottle full of ash that I must have picked up somewhere, its special to me because I know its from long ago and far away but I can’t remember what the ash was or why I made such an effort to bring it back, but I know there would have been a very romantic reason. So it has an added air of mystery.
Suki, Student, 21, London UK.
I met a man in a café in Toronto, Canada who told me he was a magician. He asked for this fork from the kitchen (so I was sure it wasn’t a trick fork) and put it in my hand and gently turned it round in my hand a few times. When I unclenched my fist the fork had been twisted all the way round itself. I still can’t understand how he did it, even though I sort of agree with most people that these things are just clever trickery I keep the fork as a secret proof to myself that some things are unexplainable and I call them magic.
Magdalen, Actress, 45, London UK.