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!