Personal Stories

The Good Old Days Of ‘Toyosi’ And ‘Yetunde’

By Famakinwa Temitope

I started a conversation with my roommate one faithful morning and she suddenly asked if I had watched “Emi Ni Re Kan” and I screamed. That started it for us that morning. We talked about “Ori”, “Ale Ariwo”, “Twin Sisters”, “Ibi Giga”, “Ila Owo”, “Koto Aye”, “Egg Of Life”, “Apaadi”, “Return Of Jenifa” And “Temi Ni Nkem”  just to mention a few. When the conversation ended, I realized we had opened the door to a long forgotten season of my life. It all came back to me in a sudden rush and for the next 20 hours of that day, I allowed myself to wallow in sweet lingering memories.

I grew up with two parents of extremely different personalities. Toyosi was a stern man who would go to any length in enforcing his disciplinary measures. Yetunde was so sweet and soft that we literally blackmailed her through anything we wanted. Unfortunately, my brother and I had more moments with my Dad. Oh! He was a man of little words and more actions. He never abused the use of instructions. Once they were given and you didn’t adhere to it, he immediately followed it with a reminder (we all know what that means). He spanked us like they paid him for it and for some clear reasons; I always wanted to be anywhere but around him.

When Mama got back from work which demanded more of her time, she would steal from the little time she had to rest to come to our rooms and soothe the effects of Dad’s treatment. Most times, I tried to make her see how much I detested his stern principles but she would smile and hand me a gift she got for me from work. Her sweetness melted my anguish. ALL THE TIME!

Subsequently, Daddy had to leave on an assignment and I was so happy. Of course, Daniel was excited too. We understood that freedom had come at last. We played so hard and requested for anything and everything. We were Yetunde’s world. She would never allow even a fly to tamper with us. We knew it, enjoyed it and loved it.

The normal routine was for her to wake up as early as 4am to cook and get us ready for school. While she washed the car, we were expected to have our bathe and dress up for school. While we had breakfast, she would have her bath and dress up for work. Then we leave by 6:15am because it was a long ride from home to school and work

It was always a struggle for her as we would hide behind curtains to continue our sleep while she washed the car, struggled to do our homework that same morning, looked for our shoes and pens in our disheveled room while she yelled to no avail. It was a disaster. We also equally came home with poor academic results despite the fact that we attended one of the best schools in the city. Something had to change! Mama did.

She started to shout and use punishments we could never imagine. She ensured we had lesson-teachers and gave them enough room to deal with us as required. It was no fun!  Isn’t this the sweet Yetunde I knew years back? Although I missed my dad, I was convinced he taught my mum every stunt she pulled on us from where he was, miles away. And I blamed him all for it! It became serious and I had to take cue too.

Subsequently, I came home being the second best student in my J.S.S 1 while Daniel became the best student in class. We saw a switch. Her sweet, soft angle came afresh. And right then, I knew why she never confronted Daddy as I requested of her. She knew how much he complemented her in training us. She equally became stern and soft. But we were not blind to see the strong-point in her softness. She became our Angel.

It’s been four years now since mum left to join Daddy on his assignment. I didn’t want it, I cried and tried all I could by stealing her passports and trying to delay her flight. But I guess God had it all planned out so that didn’t work.

I’ll be 22 in two weeks’ time, 12 years without daddy’s stern touch and 4 years out of mummy’s sweet touch. But all I could ever say is that our moments together laid a strong foundation in me. I thank Daddy for teaching Mummy all through her moments of frailty. He didn’t take “no” for an answer. And I thank my mama because she taught me well.

I miss them but I can say it in all possible ways that they laid the eggs of giants in the children they left in Nigeria. And I’m writing this piece to tell them that the Giant is Erupting! The good old days of ‘Toyosi’ and ‘Yetunde’ is paying off.

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One of our favourite quotes at Woman.NG is a line from Emeli Sande’s Read All About It; “If you’ve got the heart of a lion, why let your voice be tamed?” This has inspired us to publish Nigerian women’s take on about everything. From conceiving a child to burying an old loved one and every life experience in between them - Nigerian women’s stories, opinions, issues, debates, advice, news etc. Read More >>

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