Ephemera from Danique Johnson, UAlbany First Year Student, Fall Semester 2020
1. Black Beauty
This book was given to me by a close friend from school before I left Jamaica in 2008 for the US. I was six years old, and that was the last time I saw any of my friends from school in Jamaica up until now.
One day I found a sample in a magazine for this perfume and I remember showing it to my mom and telling her to smell it. Then on Christmas Day in 2016 she surprised me with it as a gift. Originally, I wasn't planning on actually buying the product or asking for it. I just liked the smell. Several months later I realized there were only a couple spritzes left but I didn't want to finish it, so I saved it.
3. Bookmark (“I read past my bedtime”)
This is the first bookmark I bought for myself and I always kept it in the plastic to protect it. I picked it because the saying is very true to me. Whenever I read something really interesting it’s difficult to put it down, even if I have school the next day, so I have a lot of memories of staying up until 4 o’clock, if not all night, and missing out on a lot of sleep.
When I was in elementary school I use to go to summer camp, and that’s how I learned to make lanyards. I had a lot of fun since it was a bonding experience with my friends at the time. That was the first lanyard I completed, in 2012.
5. Disney FastPass card
I received this on my last trip to Disney in January with my school music performance group of 2020. I enjoyed myself and the time I spent with my friends. We were lucky since it was our last senior activity as the class of 2020 before schools were closed down due to Covid-19.
This is the first video game I had as a kid, it's from 2005. It was given to me by my cousin who recently passed away. I remember having a lot of fun and arguments over it with my cousins in Jamaica and America. I've been missing the charger for it for around 10 years now, and this project made me remember that I always wanted to buy another charger so I can play games and reminisce. I made a plan to keep it in the future so if I have kids I could show them what I played with when I was their age.
7. The Secret Garden
This was a book I was supposed to read in fifth grade when I was around 11. I didn't read it until a year or two later and I really enjoyed it and I wished I read it earlier. Throughout the years as I aged I gave away books that weren’t of my interest anymore, but I kept it even though it was ripped and tattered, because I see it as a classic that I will enjoy reading in the future. It’s now the oldest book on my shelf. If I do get a different copy I would still keep that one.
This is the second pair of my favorite Transition lens prescription glasses so far from 2014, I think. The first one was pink and it broke on me the exact same way as the orange ones. It cost a lot of money and I remember getting the orange ones a few weeks later, just for the same situation to happen again a couple months later. So I had many failed attempts of gluing it back together with Gorilla Glue, and I would wear it without the handle. I was so confused about why they both broke the same way, and I was eventually told it was because I took it off with one hand, which caused the frame to weaken.
9. Sephora card
My mom surprised me with a trip to Sephora in 2016. I wanted makeup to wear to my middle school prom but, I was thinking of getting it myself from drugstores since I didn't want to spend a lot on makeup, since I wasn’t likely to wear it a lot. However, I did enjoy the experience of trying products and spending time with her.
10. The Hating Game
For the past two years, from when I was around 16, I finally have gotten back into reading, and this was one of the first books I bought with my own money. I really loved it and it's one of my favorite books. It really got me into reading more from the romance genre, and just physical books in general. I have always loved reading books and it kind of shows since a lot of what I've chosen for the ephemera are book-related but I wasn't really reading any physical books, just stories by other teenagers and new adults on different reading sites, and so this book really made me interested in finding more physical books so I could travel around with them and not worrying about my device dying.
11. Mickey Mouse keychain
This is from the first time I went to Disney, on a school music performance trip in 2018. I had bought it with the intentions of giving it to my mom, but since she said it was too heavy for her keys I ended up keeping it.
It was given to me by my aunt in 2015. It belonged to my cousin before she passed away. Although I didn’t spend a lot of time with my cousin, I appreciated her. My most prominent memory of her was that she helped to get me ready for my graduation in 2013. It kind of felt like having an older sister. The battery doesn’t work anymore, but it’s something I have to remember her by.
I got it when I was 11, in sixth grade. It was my very first and only personal lock and I have a lot of memories with forgetting the combination and then struggling to remember it, then forgetting it again basically every year after summer break. I would play around with it until I got it correct.
14. Library card
This is my second library card. I got it in 2013 and I was really happy since I had lost my first card not too long before then. I have a lot of memories of going to the library and getting books and not putting time aside to read them. I also remember just going to the library alone, because I felt independent. I would just tell my mom I was going to the library and spend a couple hours there, whether it was reading or playing games on the computer. The majority of my library transactions were made on this card, so I cherish it.
15. Christmas card
This was made by one of my closest cousins who is six years older than me and like an older sister. She made it for me when I was in second or third grade, and I just really appreciated it because it was a DIY. There wasn't like many personal thoughts written in it but she put in a lot of effort to make it and I just really loved it. We haven’t communicated much in a while and I miss her, so I might send her a card of my own this year.
16. Universal Orlando Resort
I received this ticket when I went on that same school music performance trip in 2018. This was my first and only time going. It was my favorite part of the trip because I love Harry Potter and even though I’m not a fan of rollercoasters, I enjoyed it. It was also the first time I experienced simulated rides, which were pretty fun.