Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Why stop at 15? Twenty, twenty-five...minus-five...

April 1993, twenty years ago, we might have been in two rows of three in front of our JS3 classroom, with Mademoiselle Okwesa spot-testing us - short essays, le passe compose, and all we needed to finish before our JSCE in May/June.  Only six students (Elesie, Ebiaye, Bunmi Jackson, Chika Ojinna, Ronke O? or Eniola O? and me - correct me if I'm wrong) because 90% of the class chose Physical Education (of PE/French/Arabic).
We had the good teacher now (well-trained and dearly loved), a small class (which never happened except if you took Music - of Music/FineArt) so of course French period was a treasured time.
Had to review three years of schoolwork for JSCE; some of my notebooks had a nasty two-year-old-fish-smell because sardine oil had poured on them once when I tried to hide the contraband in my pigeon-hole at the back of the class. I was in boarding school, thank God, every day of my secondary school's 5 1/2 years.
Now for the holidays: My family lived in Gowon Estate, there was a nine-month-old baby.  He was the first boy, very physical - he crawled up the green-carpet stairs and propelled himself back down by galloping on his bum.  Aunt Shade took care of him, I found the baby a distraction from my studies.  He used to pick up shiny things - a cockroach, earrings, and store them in a "treasure chest" like the green wastebasket at the top of the stairs or under the seat cushion - also green.
Mum was dangerously scarily hot-tempered, I loved Jesus.  I was "a" born-again, went to Protestant service in school, I'd read Delivered From The Powers of Darkness.   I had also read Everywoman (gynaecology) which meant I could talk in class during prep when more mature girls were debating adult stuff.

1988, the twins were little.  We lived in TinCan Island Estate in an airy house (Number 28) left by the German workers.  The twins liked chasing each other round and round the house.  My aunts tried to stop one from sucking her thumb and the other from sucking her tongue.
Mrs Ogu was our class teacher and I was nicknamed Little Tosin Careless, after Little Connie Careless in our Enid Blyton reader.  I think embarrassing the child as strongly as possible was supposed to help her change.  Mum beating the crap out of me worked better.  I can't lose or forget a thing now - like I carried the same wallet for a decade before misplacing it on a bus in '08.
Ekemini and Kenechi were best friends before I arrived in their class, but I sort of adopted them, I was the third extra friend.  I wasn't good at playing, I didn't really know the games during break time and really wanted to learn and to play with passion.  Only few days I really played, not sure why.
I was probably first in class (I think it was 2nd, 1st, 1st the three terms of Primary Four - I could check this later.)  Ekemini was the Roger (Federer) then along came Rafa (Nadal) that's how I put it one day twenty years later when she (amazing heart, she's a doctor, still very beautiful) hosted me for a few hours in Abuja.  Ekemini is Pisces and Kenechi is Scorpio.  Me Taurus.  The youngest child in the class, probably.
Kenneth Egboh's big sister Ngozi made me her schooldaughter, and many of her Primary Six classmates adopted many of my classmates.  They were tall girls, man, they seemed really big.    
At home we had a sculpted wooden scorpion and a bull head pinned to the large sitting-room cabinet to represent Taurus and Scorpio.  All the six family members were one of the two signs, if you didn't count my aunt - Pisces, my uncle - Sagittarius , and house helps who probably didn't have birthdays.  Me and my dad were team Taurus beset by the dangerous scorpions.

1983 - now we're going back thirty years.  I can't say I remember anything from this time.  There was Bazooka Joe chewing gum with the comic stuff on it, but even that was probably '84.  There was the radio in pidgin English.  There was the time I had apollo (conjuctivitis) and my parents were together in a kitchen or other dark room with a lamp burning and they squeezed onions in my eyes to help me heal it.  They had to beg and cajole for me to stay still because I didn't want any painful onion juice.  There was a visit by some 'cousins' and a lot of play.  We lived in Ilaje/Yaba or so at the time and the floor was bare cement.  There was sharing a bathtub with my mum, no fear of mum at all.  (For all I know this was as late as '85.)  She says I really really loved water.  April 1983, my artist sister would have been about the size of a chicken egg.  
A foetus at 10 weeks
2013 - I'm almost at the point of no-fear-of-mum again, but dreams remind me...   I'm on my laptop computer as usual, ruining my eyes.  When people ask "where do you see yourself five years from now?" - how the hell should I know? 
My Fulani raffia baskets and Hausa leather cushion
I recently bought some poster colour and a sketch book.  This is an impression I did of my my room wall on April 3rd 2013.  In real life the wall is not brightly coloured but the cushion is really lovely. 

2 comments:

Ginger said...

Awww Childhood. I sure remember bazooka gum. Yvonne Maha. Nasco biscuits.

I dont think i wish to confront my 20yr old self...yet.

p.s. I appreciate your comment on my blog. Thanks
How do you manage 6 blogs?!! You must be some super woman

t said...

or tired woman?
you always write incisively I'd say. Too bad I can't read everything.