Saturday, December 29, 2007


Where is Jerome?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days o’ lang syne!

Should we forget our former friends
By whom we set great store?
Should we forget the friends we've met
And the brave days of yore?


This year’s gone. I shall never see it again and I write this for myself and for you who are given to thinking…to introspection.

Today, I sit, creator of this and that and with a reputation for good things and maybe some bad ones, and still in search of my first one million dollars. And I remember.

I remember the friends of my childhood, who walked the dusty streets of Surulere with me and are now gone to other realms. Today, I remember Femi Sadiq who smiled through our early years, Rashidi ‘Rash Boots’ Thanni who played football like a dream and shared childhood dreams with me, Segun Idowu with a sense of humour that could make you laugh at anything, Etekamba ‘wow and whadoo, ya know’, gone now, fallen asleep in a place where I will not follow yet. When it is time to meet with you again, will I recognize you?
I remember Dokun, and I think about how life can be unfair.

I remember Ayo-wole who visited for three days and taught me lessons I never knew my heart could accept.

And my big brothers Olusola and Oluyinka who looked out for me as I grew and taught me many lessons, by word and deed. And my older sisters, Olufunmilayo and Olubande, who were proud of me as a dusty-footed urchin, and whom I have since given reason for this pride. All four of whom read as if books and comics were going out of fashion and placed a desire in me I have not lost since.

And I remember my father, Supremo. And I am silent. And thankful. And very sad.

And I remember some of the boys from the street who’ve done good- kole banjo, femi adepitan, etop esen, bola and tope ogunseye, boma iruene, niyi oluwole, bobby ‘don soleonzo’ adeshipo…spread around the world for many, many years, and those cold harmattan mornings will never come again, where we all huddled and dreamed Aladdin’s dreams and played cowboys and Indians and police and t‘ief. Twenty children cannot stay together for twenty years

And I remember Jerome who would join the Shell Club boys as we played our daily football from 4pm to 6pm at Shell Club (now Eagle club), at the NPA sports ground, at Jalupon, at the Union Bank Sports Ground.
Jerome, who would drop the tray full of bread he had been sent out to sell and play football with us till nightfall. He was our friend. We never bought the bread, seeing we were just kids who would have supper waiting at home, but we would place the tray carefully some distance from the goal posts and play… and play. I do not think his parents ever profited from that bread. He would go to school in the morning and detour in the early evening sun of Shell Club, to play. Well done, Jerome, for not allowing your childhood to be stolen. And I remember soji wey and kelechi ejiogwu whose fences we would climb to get to the field. And suraju, who would take the football if he was displeased with any decision and run. Out of the pitch, out of the sports ground, through strange streets, ball under arm, ten of us in pursuit. I do not know if I will recognize you now, Jerome, if we pass by each other on the streets but you are my friend.

And I am grateful for many good memories and dreams that have come true and those still continuing to. They are important to me.

May the future be all we want it to be.

(photo- Jaekel House in the Railway Compound at Ebute-Metta now preserved for historical purposes)

8 comments:

CATWALQ a.k.a LAGBA-JESS said...

I love the way that house looks: like an old women with many many memories...

You sure have had an interesting childhood. I too, sit and think and think and think. This xmas, the thoughts offer not much comfort. But I am hopeful.

shola pacheco said...

oh well aint we all thankful,i have lost friends too,some didnt have a choice,they were taken away,some we broke away from,but memories give us hope that someday,we will all seize to feel hurt and just live everyday life like it comes.this sounda like growing up senior sweetheart (dad)used to tell me abt,he grew up in ebute-metta u know.

BABA said...

Laspapi,
Nice one brother!
I can identify with a lot of the things you've described in this write-up. Brings me down emotional memory lanes, especially around this time of the year. I have settled down, done and doing well with my family in my new found land. But, where would we be without all those pricessles youth memories and experience. The inhibited eras of our life!

Sherri said...

beautiful reflections.
u brought back nostalgic memories o
that utc shopping centre on adeniran ogunsanya was the place to be then... (the original suya spot)
my brother used to play field hockey at shell club too
yes o, i was a surulere babe b/4 the island craze o

Sherri said...

i want to add:
u're such a special guy!

laspapi said...

@ catwa'q- childhood was fun, the Shell Club district being the place to be. Concerning dark thoughts this Xmas, 'Beware of desperate steps, the darkest night, lived; will turn to day.'

@ shola pacheco- My office is off herbert Macaulay way, close to where your dad must have grown up. Have a great new year, Shola.

@ baba- Memory lane is a road I like to tread often. All the best in the new location, bro, may all our dreams come to pass.

@ sherri- you were a shell club babe, sherri? Ah, they were the best kind, clean and wholesome. I wonder if I didnt walk past you in the LSDPC shopping complex at one time or the other. My father was chairman of shell club at one time too.
Thank you for the beautiful words, Sherri. Someday I'll stop by the 'island' to say hi.

BOBBY said...

Lovely post Laspapi. Lovely post.

Olu said...

Nostalgia........
I'm still young so I kinda still see most of ma frends..not tryin to say ure old o! hehe
But i have stuff to rememba too!
I just thank God for letting me see the New Year.
God Bless u laspapi.
Pls, don't stop bloggin dis new year.