For our new series we’ve invited people to share stories of their childhood artefacts. Here we hear about Geraldine Carton’s obsession for boxes.
Without a shadow of a doubt, my favourite thing to do during my post-toddler/pre-teen years was to create mini fortresses out of large cardboard boxes.
Bigger boxes not only meant more room in the physical sense (no more neck pain for little Geraldine — hoorah!), but every additional centimetre of sweet cardboard also allowed my creative imagination to roam and leap and soar for ten times as many miles in The Land Of Make Believe. Sure I could spend hours in a box that once contained a computer, but when my dad presented me with one that used to hold an aquarium I knew I was in for something special. Just thinking of all the interior design options was enough to make me drool.
I was a socially-responsible six year old, and so quickly ordered my mum to cancel all my upcoming playdates: I had serious business to attend to. I spent the majority of my summer days in that box, only emerging for food, toilet breaks, and the odd episode of Saved By The Bell (this was before I cut out a peep-hole and suspiciously watched the outside world).
I was infatuated with creating the ultimate non-tree-based tree house, and when invited to go out to play with other children I found myself politely declining. I would fold my arms in a sophisticated fashion, nod my head back to the haphazardly decorated box, and sigh ‘I better get back to the old gal’ before sauntering off and trying to crouch into the thing with as much suaveness as I could muster.
At the beginning, my mum seemed to encourage my creativity within the box, and she even seemed to admire my stamina to stay in a small space for such lengthy periods of time. When week three rolled in however, and she noticed me developing a hump back, and a twitch in my left eye, and an inexplicable Russian accent, it was decided that I had had enough.
And so I was fooled into believing that my help was needed at the local park where a bunch of hooligans were ‘apparently’ trying to set fire to a pile of ginormous boxes. Of course I ran to investigate the situation, but when I came back home, satisfied that no such boxes had been destroyed, I found that my own beloved box was gone. All that was left in its place was a little note from an individual going by the name The Tooth Fairy. She apologised for taking my box, but explained that it was needed for homeless fairy orphans in the North Pole.
I feel I dealt with the situation rather maturely, considering my young age and recent lack of fresh air or sunlight: I became the honourable martyr, ultimately accepting my fate, fondly remembering the good times that were had, and forever reminding others of the good my box was doing for those poor fairy orphans up in The North Pole.