Memories are resilient
Memories stay, the good, the bad, the ugly.
Memories beat time to it’s wear-and-tear game.
Ugly memories destroy us.
Bad memories instructs us.
Good memories make us.
So, we make them. Plenty of them, during childhood, adolescence and the rest of our stay on God’s once green earth.
As an adolescent whose dreams hung around his neck like a pendant, I made memories.
Memories so skin deep, they live with me, form my philosophies of life, shape my goals and drive me to fulfillment.
Before poetry caught up with me, in the waters of jealousy, I was a songwriter.
At age 11, I wrote and composed songs.
Family just relocated from Kano to Aba, Abia. Rented an apartment at 227 Tenant Road.
A three storey building coated in yellow and brown paints.
We lived on the first storey, left wing, overlooking the Aba River.
The balcony became my favourite spot.
I would sit by the balcony stare in awe at Ogbor Hill. Trace the contours of her from the shores of Aba river, rise gracefully into the clouds.
Beautiful. Eyegasmic, almost.
Palm trees here, there, everywhere.
Houses scattered unevenly on her hilly expanse.
I would watch in admiration, little children dive into the river and swim away from sight, only to resurface a pole away.
Canoes, wooden canoes paddle from Ogbor Hill to Market road, ferry people, things and whatever.
I would pick up my diary and pen down a line that forms a verse that forms a song.
From nowhere, the music takes shape. I would mime, hum, sing, clap.
It became a routine.
It became a habit.
I began thinking of ways to ‘wax’ my songs. Daddy’s radio came to mind.
I love to experiment.
So I sat before his radio, studied each button, their functions. Soon after, I discovered the ‘Rec’ button.
Whoa! Daddy’s radio can record?
And that was the beginning of my beautiful atrocities.
Dad is a pastor. Deeper Life pastor.
He has a library of Pastor Kumuyi’s cassettes.
Plenty of them. Antique. New.
I was careful to not tamper with the new ones. I would sneak into his room, open the carton that housed his old cassettes, grab one or two and wait until he’s off to work.
Holidays were my choice days.
Siblings go to aunts (because movies). I stay back (because music).
When they are all out and I left alone at home, I would turn on the radio set, slot in dad’s cassette, press the ‘Rec’ button and sing my heart away.
In simpler words, I overwrote Kumuyi’s sermons with my songs.
I have a beautiful hand font. Artistic. Took after dad.
I would tear off the label on dad’s cassette, rip pages from off my notebooks, artistically write the title of my song on it, cut it to the shape of the cassette with a razor blade and with the help of water gum, paste it on the cassette.
Dried, I would slot in the cassette, sit back and listen to myself.
You have no idea how fulfilling I did feel at that moment.
Bet I felt same way Genevieve Nnaji felt with the success of ‘Lion Heart’.
Dad had no idea. Maybe he did but feigned ignorance.
Dad was supportive of my talent though.
Whenever he travels to Lagos for Deeper Life annual Leader’s Congress, he would buy a musical instrument for me.
A mini piano
A music book
These deeds of dad encouraged my beautiful atrocities.
Until 2007, dad’s radio set, my mini piano and recorder were my studio equipments.
His cassettes were my storage devices.
Oluchi and Mabel were my back up singers.
I have three long notebooks, four thick back notebooks and a couple other 40 leaves notebooks of songs I wrote and composed over those years.
As I write this, my first laptop bag is the final home of all the cassettes that I stole from dad’s archive.
In my room.
I hope, someday, to slot them, one after the other, in a radio set, sit back, listen to my adolescent dreams
Memories are resilient.
Make memories. Beautiful memories.