OLLYMOORE

School days, secondary school days or high school days were so very interesting. Being in a school that is associated with the Navy was interesting also. At first, it was all new to me but I got accustomed to it later on.

I began secondary school as a day student, and then I was a junior. By the time I got into Senior Secondary, I became a boarder. I loved every moment. I had the freedom I wanted {though that kind of freedom had landed me in trouble a couple of times}. One time I nearly got into serious trouble that would have earned me an expulsion or a demotion. I was friends with a lovely lady, who was friends with some lovely ladies. I went with her to the room of her friends who were my seniors at the time and one of them happened to be taken squadron or was it rum.

She encouraged us to take some, we did not knowing that she was pregnant and wanted to kill the baby or foetus. By the time my friend and I had left the room we heard she was drunk, high and had stripped herself naked. I was in my room when the news came to me. I was so scared though I remembered I had groundnut bottled in a squadron bottle. With the thought that the school authorities might accuse me of drinking and the fact that I was there when it all began, I smashed the bottle and threw the pieces away. I barely escaped interrogation and swore never to associate myself {in trouble} with the likes of them.

Being a boarder also afforded me the opportunity to get to know my mates better and the privilege of being a cadet and doling out orders on OTOBO square. You would wonder why a female had to be the one mounting the stage, given directives and receiving the FOC West and Admiral Akhigbe {RTD}. We females had the desire to join the cadet before the males started showing interest. Though, their interest didn’t last long the females were so in charge of the whole cadet affair under the care of the Naval Ratings and we lasted long. That was just not enough for me.

At school, our music teacher, Mr. Olayiwola; whom we gave many names like OLLY MOORE, Olly for short and five O! – gave us a lot of knocks that got us {especially the boys} in place. The boys turned out well. I say this because the life of a teenage can be manipulated by friends and situations and if a child is not corrected or the consequences of wrong choices are not made known to the teenager, the fellow would be living life in his folly and how great would be the resultant stripes of his folly be. That was taken care of my Ollymoore’s constant discipline.

Ollymoore had so many talents which are flogging, comedy and music. His flogging could raise the dead; make the sick well better still make the cripple walk. I remember bumping into an old school mate who told me once that he was so ill but came to school. Olly asked him to come interprete the music notes on the black board. He said he declined with an excuse, so Olly said he shouldn’t worry that he would soon be awoken from that ailment before you could say Jesus is Lord! Olly landed two strokes of his can on his buttocks that he forgot ever being sick. Amazing, you would say.

Being an Anglican who loves music, he would teach it with so much passion… I desired to join for I love to sing. Now, that was a problem. I have a most unusual voice for a lady that when I would open my mouth to sing people would scatter with laughter, begging me to shut up. I remember one day after we had a whole weekend of military drilling to join the cadet force and I had lost my voice. The last part of the drill had to do with marching out of the assembly ground and that was THE DRILL because we had to get the guns, carry them simultaneously, raise them up during the national anthem all at the same time. The other part was for the leader to shout out the orders. I woke up the next day, finding out that I could barely speak unless I deepened my voice. When I say deep I mean deep with a boom that you would hear for fifty yards that at first some were petrified others {the boys} had a good laugh even the commandant shouted that I be changed immediately. I tell you that was so embarrassing. I couldn’t care less. I just developed a thick skin like whatever meeeeeeeeeeeeen! U feel me? I decided to put my voice to good use and the opportunity came.

One day, an announcement was made for those who desired to be in the school’s music club; the deadline was a month from the announcement date. People discouraged me and were afraid for my dear life- if I would survive Ollymoore’s flogging for one day he flogged me in front of the Galley and I asked myself why I came into this world to be humiliated in this fashion. Well I joined the music club but he never flogged me again. Upon joining the music club, I was put in with boys to sing Bass and I loved it. My mother hated it because she assumed it would fuel my turning into a complete boy. Ha! The only female – progressive women’s emancipation, I would call that. You know uniquely built people always get the unique blessings.

We began practising for the Carol of the nine lessons for Christmas then Easter Cantata for the following year. Oh! I loved it! The odd thing was that I never thought I would perfect my style of singing but all those years of being in the music club paid off.

 

It began with me deciding to sing with my voice whether deep, husky or cracked and by constant training; I started singing powerfully and melodiously: the tenor part.

 

Today, I am in the choir in my church and when people hear me sing they are enthralled, amazed, excited and just can’t believe what they are hearing. Some say I sing four different parts at the same time others say it is incredibly rich and it has value.

 

I do not need to be embarrassed at singing any longer I just open my mouth and sing because like Ollymoore, my voice will raise the dead, make the sick well better still make the cripple walk. Ha! Ha! I just open my mouth to sing and my Maker doles out melodious rhythm and blues. You know what? I AM LOVING IT.

 

Haaaaaaa!!! My music teacher Ollymoore still lives thank God.

 

©JULY 30, 2008 BY: CHINELO A. ONWUBUYA {NIIA}

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