I should have sent you this letter a few months ago but, I wanted it to be perfect. I didn’t want it to be like my last letter that you sent back with red markings, highlighting all my grammatical errors.
So I have worked on this letter with mummy, ‘’my Dictionary’’ and ‘’Brighter Grammar’’, I really hope this is better than the last one. Feel free to mark any of my errors still, I need the correction.
We were moving house mid last year when I came across an old stationery set you gave me. It has orange papers with green and purple petals flowers around the edges and matching orange envelopes, it is encased in a black and white, zebra-stripes styled folder and instantly, I had the bright idea to write you a letter using these materials, so I did.
I also found the first journal you ever gave me. Blue hard cover note book with cartoon drawn players, kicking footballs at angels that made it appear like they were going to jump out and hit you in the face.
You gave me this journal the summer I turned 12. I had just finished my first year in secondary school and spent the better part of our ‘’reading and writing’’ lessons lamenting about my dad; how he would rather watch football matches on the last Sunday of the month than come to visit me in boarding school, that I didn’t feel noticed or loved by him but I was glad mummy, Titi and Tolu cared enough to show up with treats of chocolate, pizza and juice, month in month out.
You listened attentively, understanding my need to talk and get the weight off my little shoulders. I have long since learnt to deal with my father and I have come to love and accept him. In learning to accept him I also realised I am a lot like him and on some days it scares me.
The day before all the grandchildren were due to leave, you gave me the journal with the football players and said these words to me ‘’ you enjoy irony in all the novels and poems we studied and I believe it should be immortalised.’’ We both laughed. You always had a mischievous act up your sleeves.
Like the story mummy and Uncle Demola told us about the time you got up in the dead of the night and stole the night guard’s bicycle and how you listened with a straight face in the morning, while he told tales about armed robbers making off with his bicycle. When he was finished you walk him to the garage and pointed his bicycle to him. They never finished the story. I always ask “so what happened?” and they would both look at me with a blank expression. I have this theory that they were both laughing too hard that the rest of the events had become a blur to them.
Mango season is fast approaching; but the mangoes here in Lagos don’t measure up to the ones at the back yard of the house in Ilorin. I am mapping out a visit with Mummy, Titi and Tolu that would fall right in the middle of mango season.
Please say hello to Grandma. Hope she is taking it easy with the shops? I am currently reading your copy of ‘’Walt Whitman – Leaves of Grass’’ and you have underlined a number of lines and written in the margins of the book, which makes it easy to read. Mummy thinks I should get a new copy and enjoy the book myself and make my own markings. I don’t agree with her though, your insights have made the collection of poems enlightening for me.
Titi says he can’t wait for pap and honey when we visit. Tolu wants to talk about politics and economic trends while mummy is really excited for the down time.
Finally happy 87th Birthday, God bless you and keep you till your 90th and beyond.
Your Grand Daughter,