Memories

On our school's 50th birthday anniversary, I think its worth starting a discussion forum on our memories of school life while congratulating those old boys that have made this website what it is through their unstinting devotion keeping the school alive in the hearts and minds of those who have passed through it. Worthy of particular mention are my old classmates, Feyi Dinyo and Aliyo Oseni and David Lowo who must be given special credit for the great job he is doing in administering the website. I have spent most of today browsing the site and enjoyed the nostalgic musings of contributors and photos capturing time's kindness to us all. I have been thrilled to see pictures of Mr White, who admitted me to Birch straight from England, Mr Olayeye who was the VP and I think, uncle to the Ajibolade's, the "Accused", Baba Oloye's boys. I have laughed so much today, tears streamed down my face. Does anyone remember Mr Umoh? Boys called him Omo. He was a sort of Nightwatchman that used to chase us off the football pitch after prep, shouting in his affected Yoruba accent "E ma lo'le yin"

 

I started at Birch Freeman in January 1971. My classmates in 1A , included Ben Adadevoh (even though he smacked me around once in a while), Ladi Kuyinu, Ladi Williams, Lanre Osifodunrin, Eric Achuba, Ladipo Kasumu, Abiodun Adeniran, George James, Ekpe Asuquo, Jobic Edet, Akpan Umoren, Samson Omaivboje etc. Notable others in other arms included Segun Sholola, Seye Sholola, Rotimi Bamgbala, Dayo (Remi) Johnson, Remi Towobola, Feyi Dinyo, Tunde Joda, Morrison Edema, Peter Ogbeghagha and many others. Does anyone remember Ogbeghagha's punishment of choice? Caning! Whenever the whole class was subject to punishment, he would say" Instead of cutting grass, e je k'a kuku jegba". I think he must have been some sort of masochist even though we didn't know it at the time.

 

My father believed that an extra year in Form 4 would turn me into a Science student, so despite the fact that I passed my promotion exams to Form 5, made me repeat. I was initially very sad, but Dayo Johnson's father had the same brainwave, so the blow of my repeating Form 4 was softened when I saw my buddy in class. From that time we became inseparable. Kuyinu joined us in repeating school cert exams and we were a happy bunch. I also remember Mr Lojede giving us a pep talk and assuring us that our parents decision was driven by love and their desire to see us be the best we could be. We also met a host of cool guys including Gboye Gbolagunte, Yemi Ajayi, Agu Imo, Seun Ogunseitan, Denji Okuyiga, Moses Akisanmi, Sunny Richards, Budo, late Daco etc and all of us became firm friends and kindred spirits. All the Lit days were graced with our presence and fathers everywhere had to keep their daughters (from Holy Child to MG to Aunty Ayo, OLA, Anglican, etc locked up. Some of us met our wives at those parties in the Assembly Hall (Dayo, do you hear me?). We learnt how to chat girls up and deluded ourselves that all the girls fancied us. One of our classmates that we used to call Chief, made fun of us by calling us little boys who wouldn't know their way around a girl's body. Being the testostorone filled boys we were, we set out on a mission to conquer and learnt pretty quickly. We also met people like Bolade Oyebolu, who came from Govt College, Ibadan. I remember how we used to tease the Principal's messenger, Francis, who we nicknamed Alagbon. He got his own back on results day, when he would be the first to laugh at you if your results were anything but perfect. His favourite words were "Take chest" meaning Take heart or M'okan. What a riot.

 

At Birch, I met people like the late Roland Cookey Gam who went on to become a renowned Architect. Along with Bimbo Odukoya (one of the permanent representatives from Holy Child at our Lit day) he died in the Sosoliso crash. Roland and Yele Johnson were seniors who liked me so that they could get close to my sister who was in school in England at the time. He saw her at Mr White's send off party and was immediately smitten. Through our friendship, our entire families became friends. I remember Johnny and Patrick Aghadiuno, The Cleggs, Gladstone, Phil Ebosie, Otto, Son of Man, Ayo Vaughan, Lekan Adams, Richard Makanjuola, Paul Toun, Austin Marizu, Odion and his belt, Sorunke, Sowoolu, Wole Osilaja, Rotimi Dada, Rotimi Obikoya, Yemi Adeduro, the late Sola Omotosho etc and I thank God for all the memories and the friendship.

 

Finally, I leave you all with a few riddles. Which teachers  used to say

"I've been hearing your noise from Costain. Test. Question 1, Who was Frederic Barbarosa?"

A squared we know, B squared we know, C squared, we don't know

Michelle, go and get me a rubber tubing.

Mumble mumble mumble....infinite set

 

What was the drug of choice in the early 70's? I'm not talking about the kind sold in Yellow House. 

 

Those were the days indeed my friends!                         

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Replies

  • Ladi,

    Long time! Where have you been hiding? Please we need you on board again. Those UK guys need your guidance and your professionalism to forge forward smoothly with UK chapter. Please help them out.

    How's your family? I hope everybody is well and gay. My profound greetings to you all.

    Blessings!

  • Ladi, I'm sorry, I thought it was you. Looking at the photograph again, this time with inner eyes, I think I still faintly remember him. Oh! Those were the days! Thank you so much.

    Ladi Lapite said:
    No Foluso. That guy is just a doppelgänger not the real deal.
    You can't remember Durotolu Oshunluyi? His nickname was "Mummy". He was in A. He lived in Surulere and was close to Laguda. I think they even used to come to school and go home together. I am still in touch with him. He lives in Lagos.
  • No Foluso. That guy is just a doppelgänger not the real deal.
    You can't remember Durotolu Oshunluyi? His nickname was "Mummy". He was in A. He lived in Surulere and was close to Laguda. I think they even used to come to school and go home together. I am still in touch with him. He lives in Lagos.

  • Sir Okafor,

    Please post that attached old photograph of Ladi, Tokunbo, Essien, Durotolu of our days in school on your page. I think we need to set up a place on our website for posting photos of memories.

    I will discuss this idea with the other guys of the jury. Anyway, it's great reading from you guys. 

    Ijeoma B. Okafor said:

    Ladi,

         Your memory of BFHS is unmeasurable, I don't have anything to add to your good sence of facts. You asked me some questions few months ago.

    1. How about my cousin in class D? Sorry to inform you that he passed away few years ago.

    2. Do I have kids young enough to attend Birch Freeman? Yes I do, this is my second marriage. My first one produced two boys, one 26 and the other 20 years respectively with the American woman. After I left or she left the marriage, I went for second round which produced a 5 and 2 year olds. 

    I have a picture that I found somewhere in my house, maybe under the bed. do you recognize anyone?

    Sir Oka!

    Ladi Lapite said:

    Yes, Ladi Lap was my nickname and remains that till today. I started getting called that in school and it has stuck.
    Windinski is McQuarie that I mentioned earlier in the discussion. He was like an extra out of those 70's blaxploitation movies and used to wear those American polyester leisure suits with those suede boots made by Lennards that was known in local slang as Tekowi. Dayo Johnson can mimic him expertly. You have to see it to believe.
    I've seen Ariyo's video. He is a very clever man and a credit to our school. We are informally related (Egba connection). Do you remember his brother, Ladi who also came to our school. I heard he sadly passed away sometime back.
  • Ladi,

    In the attached photo by Sir Okafor, are you the first guy on the left, standing beside Tokunboh Laguda? And who's that Durotolu? Is he a member of '75 set too? Wonderful, wonderfully guys!


    Ladi Lapite said:

    Sir Oka, sorry I missed this last post. I just saw the attached picture. What a bunch of handsome boys! Tony Lags, Paul Essessien, durotolu etc. The guy on the extreme left looks kind of familiar too. Are you in touch with Lags? He's in Minneapolis.
    Sorry to hear about your cousin. He was a cool guy.
    I hope your first son isn't Emeka Okafor, the New Orleans powerhouse. If so, we're in the money right?
  • Sir Oka, sorry I missed this last post. I just saw the attached picture. What a bunch of handsome boys! Tony Lags, Paul Essessien, durotolu etc. The guy on the extreme left looks kind of familiar too. Are you in touch with Lags? He's in Minneapolis.
    Sorry to hear about your cousin. He was a cool guy.
    I hope your first son isn't Emeka Okafor, the New Orleans powerhouse. If so, we're in the money right?
  • Ladi,

         Your memory of BFHS is unmeasurable, I don't have anything to add to your good sence of facts. You asked me some questions few months ago.

    1. How about my cousin in class D? Sorry to inform you that he passed away few years ago.

    2. Do I have kids young enough to attend Birch Freeman? Yes I do, this is my second marriage. My first one produced two boys, one 26 and the other 20 years respectively with the American woman. After I left or she left the marriage, I went for second round which produced a 5 and 2 year olds. 

    I have a picture that I found somewhere in my house, maybe under the bed. do you recognize anyone?

    Sir Oka!

    Ladi Lapite said:

    Yes, Ladi Lap was my nickname and remains that till today. I started getting called that in school and it has stuck.
    Windinski is McQuarie that I mentioned earlier in the discussion. He was like an extra out of those 70's blaxploitation movies and used to wear those American polyester leisure suits with those suede boots made by Lennards that was known in local slang as Tekowi. Dayo Johnson can mimic him expertly. You have to see it to believe.
    I've seen Ariyo's video. He is a very clever man and a credit to our school. We are informally related (Egba connection). Do you remember his brother, Ladi who also came to our school. I heard he sadly passed away sometime back.
  • Ijeoma Okafor! Sir Oka! The only knight of Birch Freeman! My wife is looking at me, thinking I've gone mad. I can't stop being so excited. This site is truly a restorer of good memories and revitaliser of good relationships. I remember you as if time stood still. Some of our conversations etc. You are so funny. You could also take jokes with such maturity, so your experiences are real, vibrant. I see you've been in touch with Lanre Osifodunrin. You think we can ever forget each other? That class 1a of 1971 was a good bunch and all of us still blessed to be alive are excelling in whatever we're doing. Despite all the high jinks, BFHS prepared us for duty, gave us life skills that are with us till today. Your journey to America truly began in school. Remember discussions about TOEFL with Adadevoh, Williams and Ejiogu and studying those college prospectuses in the library? Good times. We were all the same. I remember your Ajakaiye riddle but am worried about turning the air blue if I comment here. You know what? That buka food was addictive. Although I never ate at Iya Lawale's, I used to marvel at the way boys patronized the place like their lives depended on it. It wasn't until I went to University of Ibadan that I realized that buka food wasn't bad and became addicted. I used to think buka owners used juju to attract customers.
    I haven't seen or heard of Inyang, Olowe and Akinyele, but am in touch with Durotolu and I hear good things about Joda who like Kuyinu is working for the Lord big time now.
    Have you still got secondary school age children? They might find going to Birch a bit of a culture shock after living in America all their lives. The old boys have done a great job in restoring the school but remember, they can't live in isolation. Nigeria's many problems still have to be surmounted and our kids are quite used to their creature comforts.
    How's your brother that was in D?
    Send me your number and I'll call you for a chat.
  • Ladi, thank you for refreshing my memory, as I was reading you reminisence of what happened in the 70's, I wish  my memory was still intact as yours. Since you are on the row, what happened to Friday Inyang, Peter Olowe, Akinyele Akinwummi, Durotolu Oshunluyi and much more. I use your riddle all the time in conversation with my wife who is Unilag graduate and knows Babatope very well- I thought you missed a few words--"I've been hearing your voice all the way from Costaaaaain." Ladi, I believe that my desire to migrate to the US and hussle for a wonderful education actully began as a journey from Birch. Coming from a blue colour working father like most of us from Surulere and competing with solid rocks like you from London, people like Durotolu aka "Doormanlong" the son of a principal, Tunde Joda also the son of an educator. That's what Birch is all about giving the less privilage the opportunity to compete with the best.

      Just a reminder, I still eat "Amala ati Ewedu" whenever I venture to Nigeria, all started with the same journey from Birch to Mushin, still buys "Boli ati Epa" another Birch Freeman journey. My mother reminded me years back that I started lacking in my studies the moment I discovered the Mushin joint.

    Finally Ladi how about my riddle "Glue! Sentetic Resin-Glue! Ajakayieeeee." Memories will always live with you!!!!! My dream is to send my children home for secondary school preferably BFHS for my small boy so he the see Nigeria the way I saw it growing up. Ladi if you have forgotten, this is Sir Okaaa. I hope you remebered tgis statement-"Who made you a knight?"

  • Ladi, you are correct; truly, running a group is very difficult: clashes of ideas and opinions and directions to take. As you've rightly stated, too many factors militate against good intentions. But then that should not stop us from carrying out our obligation for Birch Freeman. Like you said, one can participate and involve in bifoba as casual and convenient as this forum allows; which ever way that is convenient for individual of us is fine. The bottom line is for all of us to involve, in our own little ways, in the efforts to make Birch Freeman a top-class school in Nigeria: that's bifoba goal, and we are getting there one day at a time.


    Ladi, yes, bifoba is expecting generous donations (gifts) from you guys in queen's kingdom toward the solar power project for the school. It appears everybody is kind of holding back for now. Our goal is to raise the money in about four to five months, and we hope guys will soon start chipping in. You can read a message I left for Taiwo under "Match of Total Embarrassment" to give you an insight on what bifoba has in line to do at the school for now - one step at a time.

    OK! Lap, I will yell at you again!


    Ladi Lapite said:

    Like you, I'm down for a little get together but I am always wary of organizing or committing to groups that are difficult to run, not because people aren't committed but because too many factors militate against the best intentions. This forum is good because it allows casual and convenient contribution. The North American chapter is awesome.

    Don't worry about your bank balance where the children are concerned. You must know you're the equivalent of the US Federal Reserve. You will always find a way.

    Charles Adadevoh is right. The fake Americana was Mcquary. Our set nicknamed him Foreman.

    God bless
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