Boarding House Memoirs….Episode 2
I was a very timid, young eight year old when I left home to begin life on my own in a boarding house. On this day, they drove into the premises of the hostel on a saturday. I can’t remember which of my siblings went with me but my two parents were there. I had no mixed feeling about leaving home, just pure apprehension and a sense of foreboding. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t have friends who would regale me with tales about their own experiences.
I guess I was happy about having new things especially my new blue sara foam, pink checks, white frocks for church, buckets, milo, milk, cabin biscuit(they call it family biscuit or pambolabola) and the best of all, rice krispies and tasty time. Yes, dad brought rice krispies from Lagos and of course I went to school with Nasco cornflakes too after this. I loved tasty time. Your provision was not complete without it.
It might interest you to know that as at then, I didn’t like milk at all(till date,I take it sparingly and only a particular brand-lactose intolerant), I simply hated the taste of milk. So, till I grew up I always took my beverage without milk. Not this alone, weird as it may seem, I didn’t like butter too. Till today, you can’t find me with butter(well, I came across peanut butter in uni and later settled for that). In those days, Romi, blue band and Planta were the margarine in town. I went to school with Romi. Talking about solid food, I didn’t know how to eat amala, I hated it(guess you are wondering which planet I came from). I didn’t eat amala too while growing up but eba was my thing. But I have outgrown the amala thingy. Hmmmm! Tough luck for an eight year old going to live on her own.
Trailing behind this is the fact that I was practically as useless as the word “useless”. I didn’t know how to do anything except sleep, eat and read novels. I didn’t know how to wash my own clothes. Well, I dunno if this was an indulgence or not because I have not had time to watch an eight year old of today for comparison and to know if my upbringing was faulty. At home, everything was done for me.
Anyways I can still proudly say that at eight years, I had read all the Pacesetter series, African Writers Series, M&Bs, and soft sell I could lay my hands on. I read Fame, Choice and Encomium every week. I read Tribune every blessed day and I read Tell and The News Magazine fortnightly. Mr Banji bought and read all these papers(if you don’t know him, see ‘lessons my father taught me’). I underlined all the big words in Tell and The News and looked ’em up in my Oxford dictionary. Those were the only things I knew how to do then.(I dunno what happened to Tell,seriously but I sure miss that paper)
So, my parents offloaded my things and we went first to the convent where I met and was introduced to Mother Catherine, short and plump with a big chain on her neck. She was the Mother in charge of the school and hostel. She went with us to the dormitory and I saw my abode for the next couple of years. I saw bunks and several beds. I saw several female students, bigger than me in their pink checks.
On this day, I was wearing my special green organza lace, skirt and blouse(bbm smiley). It was my best clothe then and I loved it. I was given a locker and a single iron spring on which I put my sara foam complete with the nylon(I didn’t remove the nylon for weeks until heat started disturbing me). My sara foam was that precious. My parents said I shouldn’t be placed on a double decker, thankfully.
I sat with my parents for a while after my things had been arranged. Everything was labelled, bucket and all,lmao. Soon, it was time to go and of course the usual long sermon by parents “remember the son/daughter of whom you are, read your books and don’t join bad gangs”(whatever bad gangs meant)
I saw them off to the car and waved at them, then I turned back towards the block of hostel. My parents thought I was brave. This has actually been my method over the years whenever I’m seeing a loved one off, I turn back quickly without looking back so as not to betray emotions. Unknown to me, they didn’t go. They still stayed back to watch if I would cry and rush back to them. Lailai, I shed my tears in private. I didn’t know this then, they told me later because I didn’t care to look back to see if they had already gone or not. My mind was just racing as I walked back to the dormitory wondering how I was going to face the mean looking seniors who hadn’t said a word since I came. My big sister had not arrived yet so I was left on my own. The reality of my situation still hadn’t dawned on me, until I stepped in……to be continued next friday
If I had gone to ‘luwe'(st louis grams), I would have met the bukky elemos, nike winjobis, ayomide olatireguns,aanu olowolafe and titi babafunsos of this world, but fate eventually brought us together. I hope this write-up eventually metamorphoses into ‘My Wesley Memoirs’ later (Bi eniti n se iranse). Xoxo
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