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THEY had lain in the attic for 30 years, the scribbled snapshots, thoughts and reflections of times long since past.Each a frozen moment, bound in words committed to paper, folded, sealed, stamped, sent, delivered, and, eventually set aside in a box.I went to Maria’s old address, Skerryvore Road, but the houses had long since been demolished.

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“It’s quite amazing seeing these," Stephen 41, said, when I presented him with words from his past.

“It’s like a picture into a world of a person that I can’t even remember.

First on my quest, was Port Glasgow boy Stephen O’Rourke.

We’d been matched by our sisters who become pals at St Stephen’s High, in anticipation of their younger brothers starting secondary with a ready-made friendship.

A trove of faded memories and fresh surprises, a reverie in waiting for a rainy day.

It was on the steady willing of my mother that I eventually cleared my corner of the loft in our family home in Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire, last year, a long-dodged task strewn with sentimental sink-holes.

Hilariously, she’d also given me a dummy date of birth, something she now laughingly puts down to her 13-year-old self hinting for a birthday card the following month as a test of my pen-pal commitment.

“They’re like a snapshot of who I was at that time,” she said.

My sisters' first dolls, my bag of bashed Dinky cars, the Inter City 125 Hornby train set, boxes of folders crammed with obsolete study notes and old suitcases spilling over with piles of photographs.

Among the haul, back there with my treasured Dukes of Hazzard Scalextric set, was a box that once contained a pair of 1980s Hi-Tec football boots, now stuffed with envelopes, each one bearing handwriting as unique as a fingerprint.

My intended ally for life at the Big School ended up at St Aloysius in Glasgow.

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