Friday 8 August 2008

More memories of a child

Of memories long ago

Over a year ago, I wrote a blog about my memories of childhood in Rayfield, Jos in the 1970s. I also talked about my primary school, Corona School, Shamrock House in Bukuru, in many ways, I did have a somewhat privileged early education and that would be the topic of blog in the not too distant future.

It was heartening to read a comment placed on that blog today by someone who had been to the same school at a time when Nigeria was changing again and how after a personal tragedy, he still remembers those times fondly and has given me such great pleasure reading about his experiences.

Some comments should not be hidden from view, but given a good airing when the human interest aspects are self-evident.

I have taken the liberty to edit the comments, but laid it out as a story told in the intent, voice and context of the writer, my comments are in parenthesis.

Armstrong’s memories

Greetings to you, Mr. Akin, [I get called that a lot when I prefer either to be addressed by my first name alone and if my name is to be prefixed with a title, then the name is Akintayo – Just me being pedantic as usual.]

It’s nice to know that you were also a student in Corona School, Jos, Plateau State.

I was very impressed in how you described your past memories and past experiences of our school and very happy to know that I am not the only one who recalls these wonderful events that had happened to our lives.

I said this because, I was there also, but you were there ahead of me. My time was during President Shagari’s tenure in the early 80s, but he was overthrown by a coup d’états led by Major General Babangida [In fact, it was General Muhammadu Buhari] and that’s when the military rule begun until we left Nigeria.

[There was a military rule when I was at that school too, then the Head of State was General Yakubu Gowon, I was at the school between 1972 and 1975, President Shagari’s tenure ran from 1979 to 1983.]

Of course who could forget that wonderful places? There was the Club House just nearby where Mohammed Isa and I used to hang out and watch the British, German, Dutch and some Filipinos like me, playing Snooker or Darts whilst they were drinking or holding a bottle of Rock.

And yes one of my favorite place was the swimming pool, just a walking distance away. I remember it well; Mohammed and I, together with other expatriate friends used to swim there once a month or if there was other free time.

And just a stone’s throw away, there was the multi-purpose theatre hall and guess what? When it was time for the annual festival of all nationalities in Jos, where we performed our folk dance and songs, I was one of the chosen dancers to represent my country, at first I felt weird and uneasy, but I did it just fine!

Actually, I was a break dancer then; my moves were, hand spin and back spin, but not anymore now.

I was also one of the varsity players for the basketball team, though I'm not that tall our head coach, a lady, in fact, saw my talent and skills and put me in as a centre forward. Of course we won.

Everyone was very happy in the school that day, they were shouting ARMSTRONG! ARMSTRONG!! Of course I was very happy and proud to bring glory to our school.

One event that I can't really forget was when our Headmistress accused me about something I did not do at all. She put it in writing and put it on record.

Yes, I have a school record not only as a student and varsity player, but also had a record of chasing girls.

Was it my fault for being popular and with good looks?

Actually she was very strict Mrs. Opara (British National), but she overlooked the situation and jumped into a one-sided conclusion, she didn’t even bother to ask me of what really happened.

Probably because one of them was her niece, anyway it was no big deal for me.

My father was an Engineer and he worked as a Maintenance Manager at Microwave Associates at 26 Bukuru bye-pass. Sad to say my parents died in Nigeria, they were victims in a car accident on the way to Kano Airport. [I am so sorry about this.]

Thanks for the opportunity of sharing my happy memories and sad moment on your site, I hope you like it and find it interesting.

[Amstrong, I liked it very much and despite all that happened, you seem to have become a fine gentleman with fond memories; such is life and wherever you find yourself, live it well.

Thank you very much for sharing your memories.]

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