A Trip Down Memory Lane

And the Certificate is Awarded to…

When I moved a little while ago, I came across a pile of certificates from my childhood. I loved getting a certificate. I wasn’t a very confident child and being given a certificate made me feel I’d achieved something. It was there in black and white and couldn’t be taken away from me.

But getting a certificate wasn’t an easy thing to achieve; they weren’t given out very often and you had to do something special to merit one.

My earliest certificate dates back to when I was seven. It confirmed that I’d made my Brownie promise and I was now officially a Brownie Guide. Though they spelt my surname ‘Chilterne’ instead of ‘Chilton’. My first certificate and they’d spelt my name wrong! I was mortified.

One of my favourite things when I was a Brownie, and subsequently a Guide, was to try and gain badges. These badges were made of cloth and were sown onto the sleeve of the uniform. And every badge came with a certificate. I can’t remember what I had to do to gain my badges, but my certificates prove that I gained badges for safety in the home, house orderly, homemaker, hostess, craft, toymaker, child nurse, entertainer and more.

I enjoyed gymnastics at primary school and achieved levels 4 and 3. I was very close to getting my level 2, but I couldn’t use the vault. It terrified me. It probably didn’t help that I’d watched a girl fall off the vault and break her arm. So, I only have two gymnastics certificates, but I am rather proud of them. After all, I couldn’t even do a forward roll these days.  

Swimming has never been one of my strong points. I didn’t learn until I was ten, and I hated putting my head under water. I think the swimming coach despaired of me. Though I was determined to pass at least the basic level – and, of course, I wanted a certificate. My daughter swims like a fish and has numerous certificates for all sorts of distances. But she doesn’t have one like mine. My certificate proves that I swam a distance of 12 metres. Yes, 12 whole metres! A standard swimming pool is 25 metres in length, so that shows how bad I was at swimming.

Now, my prowess on a bicycle far outweighed my ability in the pool, and in the same year as I swam 12 metres, I took my National Cycling Proficiency test and passed. Those who passed the test were given a certificate and a metal badge. Sadly, I lost the badge somewhere along the line, but the certificate remains in pristine condition.

One of the certificates I remember being most proud of is one I received at junior school. The whole school was involved in a scheme to get children reading. The aim was to read fifteen books and to write a book review for each one. I’ve always loved reading; it’s still my favourite hobby now. I can recall being excited by this challenge, and I reached the goal in no time. So, I carried on. By the time the deadline came, I’d written twenty-four book reviews. Everyone who had succeeded in completing fifteen book reviews was presented with a certificate in assembly. I can remember the moment when the headmaster called me up on stage and announced to everyone that I’d written the most book reviews in the whole school. I was chuffed to bits.

Whenever there was a big athletics meeting being aired, the TV would go on, so I was brought up watching the rivalry between Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett. I especially liked the 1500 metres and was thrilled to find that when I went up to secondary school, we had the opportunity to do athletics in the summer-term. The 1500 metres became my event, and I would image myself racing round the track like my heroes, albeit at a snail’s pace compared to them. I have several athletics certificates and a silver medal, but the running certificate I feel most proud of is the one for sport aid. In May 1986, a 10km Race Against Time was held simultaneously in 89 countries to raise money for those suffering from famine in Africa. I can’t remember how much I raised, but I can recall asking as many family and friends to support me as I could. It was such a worthwhile event to be part of.

Over the years, I have accumulated more certificates – for passing exams, volunteering, work-related achievements and so on. They may have had more of an impact on my life, and so arguably be more important, but somehow they don’t quite compare to these few. 

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14 Responses to A Trip Down Memory Lane

  1. Terveen Gill says:

    I still have a few from my school days. And they retain their value. Very precious to me. Thank you for sharing this. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Darlene says:

    How cool that you still have these. My most precious certificate was one from The University of Saskatchewan for Teaching English as a Second Language that I received when I turned 50. I worked very hard for that certificate.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Kim Smyth says:

    Congrats on all your accomplishments and certifications! We all loved to be rewarded for our efforts, I guess that’s why rejection as a writer hurts so bad! I’ve taken a long break from it, but I’m itching to get back in the saddle. I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment 🤣😁😆

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Linkingpeople2003 says:

    Keep it up!
    ….Welcome and Thanks!

    ….PROMISING ones indeed have their talent visible in childhood itself!

    …अति उत्कृष्ट!
    इसे जारी रखें ।
    ….स्वागत और धन्यवाद!

    ….होनहारों का टैलेंट तो बचपन में ही दिख जाता है!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Chel Owens says:

    The twelve meters certificate is the best! I’ll bet I wouldn’t have earned even half that much.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. markbierman says:

    There’s something so special about those first certificates!

    Liked by 1 person

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