I’m a sentimental person.

I keep stuff.

No – seriously… you don’t understand… I keep stuff.

When it comes to de-cluttering the house and donating stuff to charity… I can happily and unblinkingly jettison clothes, shoes, bags, pots, pans, pillows, appliances… whatever.

BUT… when it comes to “My Sentimentals”… forget it.  Nothing leaves.

The history of my life is contained in big, plastic crates of “sentimentals”.  I have my old school books, letters, cards people have sent me…  I have diaries, drawings, photographs, my granddad’s medals and compass… my great-grandmother’s family Bible… my great-great-grandmother’s beaded shawl… my mother’s letters that she sent to her family from boarding school… I even have an entire pony-tail‘s worth of my childhood hair!

Um.  Yes… so you get the picture.

I keep sentimental things.  Lots of sentimental things.

And – every so often… I sort through the boxes of sentimental things.  And – as it happens – last week… I went through the box that contained the dog-eared, typed pages of the (many) stories I wrote when I was a child… along with a stack of my earliest illustrations.

And then, I read through a couple of “about me” pages I had written in my school books.  Here’s one:

Scan 55

I wrote this when I was about 9 or 10…

Of course – the things I loved (always did… still do)… were:  reading, art work, piano playing, stories & poems, chocolate and English (referring to my love of words)…

And yes, I still enjoy some crispy bacon…  and a good film… and swimming… (although I’d say my dancing skills leave much to be desired)…

In another “about me” page, I typed this (I haven’t corrected the spelling & grammar):

Hello, my name is Heather Patterson.  I am twelve years old and my birthday is on the eighth of November.  I was born in Mowbray nursing home.  My mother says when I was born I looked like an Eskimo baby.  I had lots of black hair and Chinese eyes.  When I was a little girl, I used to call everyone “Daddy”.  One day in the supermarket I saw a native boy and said “hello Daddy”.  The Native thought I was crazy.  My dad is very firm, he oftern tickles us.  He is always neat.  My mom is lovely.  She cares a lot about us all.  My little sister can be nice when she wants to and nasty when she wants to.  She has long hair and I have short hair.

Our house is on three levels, it is very big.  We have a garage with three doors.  At the back of our garage we have a tiny house we can rent to people.  We live on a plot.  We have a very big garden with hundreds of fruit trees.  We have 20 acres of land.  We have two rottweillers, Helga and Bronson.  Bronson is Helgas puppy.  We also have a collie, Cindy, she is ten years old.  We used to have two cats, but one died, so we only have one.  Midge.  Mom doesn’t like Midge because he thinks our house is his toilet.  We had a bird called Benji.  Benji could say “Pretty Boy” and he could whistle a tune.  But one day Benji flew away.

I have my own room, it’s a “pink room”.  Pink is my worst colour.  If I could change it, I would make it a “blue room”.  I like the kitchen because when Im hungry theres lots of food in the coboard.  I also like the lounge and the downstairsroom.  I like the lounge because its got our t.v., video, t.v. games, tape recorder, radio and record player in it.  I like the downstairsroom because it has our piano in it.

My only friend is Sonja Fahn.  I like the way she draws.  I don’t like the way she boasts.  We do sometimes fight over silly things.  In my free time I like:  reading, drawing, playing piano, watching videos, jumping on our tramperline, swimming and playing Donkey Kong.  When I grow up I want to be an Author.  I also want to illustrate my own stories.

That was written in January 1985.

It took me a long time… to finally DO that thing that I always said I wanted to do.

I have been wanting to write and illustrate a book for as long as I can remember.  But for decades – I put that (personal) dream on hold.  Instead, I invested my time and energy into other people’s projects.  Other people’s books… other people’s businesses… other people’s productions… other people’s films… other people’s albums… other people’s dreams….

Don’t get me wrong – it’s not as if I regret supporting or investing in the dreams of other people.  There were – in fact – many projects that I felt privileged to be a part of (and many others that I loathed from the get-go)…

But… if there is a tinge of regret… it’s that I packed my art, my stories and my dreams away for such a long, long time… (for reasons – of course – that are explored in my book).

So… my illustrated book, “How Heather got her HAT’ness back”… is just a few illustrations away from being finished.  64 full-colour pages of a childhood dream that finally… 30 years later… is coming true.

Now… (literally)… back to the drawing board….!  🙂