01 Sep

I am fascinated by the human brain. If I wasn’t such an ‘olodo’ (Yoruba word for dullard) I probably would have studied something like neurology, for instance. I am even more fascinated by the memory and how it works. How information is stored in the brain and how it is retrieved or not.

I still find it mind blowing how I remember certain things about my childhood and other things are totally blanked out. For instance, I still have the picture of one of my very first friends in the world in my mind. I can’t remember her name but I remember her face. I remember my my first crush. His name and picture will be forever etched in my mind. Then I was in primary three…

It may seem weird but my brain automatically associates my early reading days with my first crush. Each time I think of reading, I remember my first crush and each time I remember my first crush, I think of reading. No, it’s because we read a lot together. In fact, each time my crush came around, I became instantly tongue tied and speechless. His seat was towards the front of the class. I sat at the far back. So as long as he didn’t turn around and look at me (which he annoying did each time I was called upon to read) I was good. I was the best reader as long as he wasn’t looking at me, or standing close to me.

Scientists haven’t completely figured out how the brain works but they say our ‘”memory” is really made up of a group of systems that each play a different role in creating, storing, and recalling your memories. When the brain processes information normally, all of these different systems work together perfectly to provide cohesive thought’. As you learn and experience the world more connections in your brain are created. The brain organizes and reorganizes itself in response to these experiences, forming memories. Your memory is triggered by the effects of outside input depending on your experiences.


I remember my teacher in primary one. I cant remember her name but I do remember her physical features. She was matronly, dark skinned and spoke a lot of Yoruba. A language I could hardly understand in primary one.

Primary two was Mr Ojo. I cant seem to get him out of my head. He was quite an ancient looking man. I think he was missing a couple of teeth. Perhaps, I remember him so clearly, because this was when school actually became fun and the competitive spirit in me was born. I remember this girl in class – Eunice – that’s all I can remember about her. She was the girl who ‘stole my thunder’ for slightly over a year and prevented me from coming first in class (Oh well, after all these years, I have come to realise there is enough thunder for everyone…it may just choose to strike at different times)

Primary three was Mrs Obi (something) cant remember if it was Obinwa or Obinna. Same age my reading hit its primary peak. At the age of 9, I wasn’t just reading the Ladybird series or our Macmillan English reading series. I can still remember the character of the story back in the day was either Mr Giwa or Lawal.

Mr Giwa is a shop keeper. He has a shop in Lawal’s village.
The shop is full of things to sell. He sells rice, beans…
(blank out :|)

At primary three, I could explain photosynthesis, the water cycle, the nitrogen cycle and the various theories of evolution (I liked the big bang theory the most, followed by the theory of the organic soup…or are they both even a variation of the same?). No book was too big. In fact, the bigger the book the more appealing I found it. I registered at the public library which was then at the old secretariat Ikeja and I borrowed two books every other day.

Primary four was Mrs Okeke. The mother of my childhood crush. She didn’t last the whole year as she and her family had to move to Anambra state, I think. Gladly, or not so gladly, my crush moved with her and relieved the tightness in my chest. She was replaced by another teacher. All I remember about her, even though she later taught me again in primary six, is that when she got pregnant she had a container by her side for storing her spit!

Primary five was Mr Oladipo, I think. I cant remember that much about him except that he was very proud of me for being the best student in Yoruba in the entire set. He took me from class to class relating how ‘omo Ibo’ beat them all to best student in Yoruba…(Oh well!)

According to scientists, if you’ve forgotten something, it may be because you didn’t encode it very effectively in the first place, perhaps because there were distractions when you were trying to encode it You may think you have it stored but you haven’t. It could also be because you’re having trouble retrieving it. They say there could have been a mismatch between retrieval cues and the encoding of the information you were searching for. So, when you try to remember you can’t, but perhaps at a later time, it will ‘suddenly’ come back to you. (They did say they do not fully understand this, right?)

So sometimes, when you try hard to forget something, you end up remembering them because in trying actively to forget, you are further encoding/embeding the memory. Yet, others have the ability to shut off a part of their memory such that they store it in a box labelled: Danger, Do Not Open – and it stays that way.

One memory I would like to erase, but can’t is one that eventually led to me trying to kill myself. Let me share this tomorrow ๐Ÿ˜›

Meanwhile, can you remember the stories you read in your primary school reader?

For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. – Eccl 9:5 KJB


Posted by on September 1, 2013 in Thirty-Eight


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26 responses to “Memories

  1. olajuwon Quadri

    September 1, 2013 at 6:10 am

    Great memories. Surely I can remember Mrs. Ajibade in Primary 2 for hitting my head against d wall (Jakande building) for always coming late to class after break. Primary 4 readily comes to mind when I came 1st in class for d 1st time cos Omotola Famodun (Most brilliant student in my set) was not in my class. Primary 6 class teacher – Mr. Awolana brought out d best in me. Really wonderful memories.
    I hope you still remember me in your ever studded memories.
    Nice piece

    • anagail

      September 1, 2013 at 6:12 am

      LOL. Juwon, I remember you…head hittng aganst the wall? I guess its not today your ‘stubborness’ started:)

  2. Pius Jukpor

    September 1, 2013 at 6:24 am

    Beautiful memories. I remember my 1St crush Zainab. She was an albino and used to walk me to and from school. Can’t remember her surname unfortunately. And Yes. We were in Nur 2. I remember Ali and Simbi in primary 1 and much later, Agbo living in calabar in 4 and all his adventures (Lol). I really wish I knew how this memory business works cos I gat loads of things I’d like ta forget.
    Beautiful piece as always Gail. Thanks for taking me back.

    • anagail

      September 1, 2013 at 6:29 am

      LOL. Ali and Simbi. I do remember those two. There was somethng about a cat and a fish in one of the passages I think… and about forgetting? Don’t try…I think. LOL.

  3. highlandblue

    September 1, 2013 at 6:28 am

    My memories of primary school are too many for a comment box. I remember bullying girls at lunch time. I remember my two female seat mates, Ijeoma and Nkiru, teasing me for my terrible handwriting. I remember our headmistress asking the three states of water and me being the only one who could answer lol. Let me stop here

    • anagail

      September 1, 2013 at 6:31 am

      SMH…bullying girls? Such gentlemanly behaviour ๐Ÿ˜

      • highlandblue

        September 1, 2013 at 1:12 pm

        LOL I was a boy then

      • anagail

        September 1, 2013 at 5:37 pm

        From ‘rudeboy’ to ‘gentleman’ via the transformation.

  4. Obafemi

    September 1, 2013 at 6:43 am

    Wonderful article, the brain is wonderful. Do U know it actually grows smaller as we age? Its cos of what we call protuberances. Think of the brain as a local sponge. When U learn something new, a new protuberance is formed. The more new things you learn the more protuberances you grow. Now for an associative learner like you, the more you learn new things and are able to link old information with the new, the smaller it becomes.

    Also, you have never forgotten anything in life, you have not just been able to access the memory. I guess you know that already.

    Macmilan books? Its mr giwa & he was a trader, he sells many things in his shop…

    Eeeeww, spit container? Mba!
    Ndewo nu!

    • anagail

      September 1, 2013 at 6:50 am

      LOL. Thanks Femi, I shall associate this new info with all the old ones.

  5. Sagay

    September 1, 2013 at 7:32 am


    Well, I remember when I was in Primary 2. We were required to read the multiplication table every morning. Damn thing was so hard that I always knew Aunty Tayo, our class teacher, would beat me.

    I also remember my first acting performance in primary 2 and I remember the story line very well, interestingly, I can’t remember the role I played.

    My crush was Tolu. I wouldn’t know if the feeling was mutual though. She had a funny way of crying back then. I wish I kept a recording of her crying. lol

    • anagail

      September 1, 2013 at 7:36 am

      LOL. Keep a record of a crying girl?

  6. Obafemi

    September 1, 2013 at 7:37 am

    So I’m back with my memories. I remember I picked the habit of finger sucking in nursery 3 from a new girl in my class. When I was dropped in the morning, I was not a finger sucker, yet I went home one. Most of my crushes we’re my teachers & a few pupils like pero, joke adeosun (pry 1 & 2) I remember kirndin & karanda, why the lizard nods it head & this family that toured the country. ( Stories from NERC or NOEC) I remember slapping a junior in pry 4 cos she asked if my parents didn’t buy SOP for me, when I asked her to lend me hers. was sassy. (We happened to be church members O! Choi) I remember bukky subair my b’day mate (oct 3rd)… I remember….. *phew* #:-s This should be a blog post.

    • anagail

      September 1, 2013 at 7:39 am

      LOL. Yes, it shd.

  7. famuyideolawale

    September 1, 2013 at 7:53 am

    I can still remember my primary school teacher from pry 3-6. Names and faces. The beauty of memories and hmmm the curse also.

  8. Ladies Hangout Forum

    September 1, 2013 at 8:39 am

    No, I don’t remember the books I read maybe because I never really read. But somehow managed to come first all through and always got the overall best in English language in my set until they merged Primary 5A and 5B and the 5B champion Femi Ojo (the Eunice in my life) came 1st. I was both sad and shocked but I didn’t get a chance to retaliate because I moved to Secondary School from there. I still held my English prize so that was consoling.
    In primary 3 I knew all the words of Bone Thugs and Harmony’s rap track- Gangsta’s Paradise. My big brother would take me to all his friends and make me rap. He was so proud. LOL. But thankfully, he informed me I wouldn’t get away with high grades without reading in secondary school so I learnt to read.

    I remember Aunty Funmi our beautiful primary 3 class teacher cuz she was such a perfect blend of sweet and strict. She never let us write in cursive or use biros without cover. She was so strict with this that at the end of that year, all of us in the class had like the same handwriting and of course it was exactly like hers.
    And we found out she and our ghanian headmaster had been setting P since. Haha They ended up married.

    My inner talkative is trying to break free this morning but I’m pushing her back. Lemme stop here. Surprisingly, I have a lot to say on this. I always thought I had a bad memory but I’m thinking now that the reason I don’t remember some things is, maybe I didn’t throw myself into experiencing them enough. Or I just wasn’t interested

    • anagail

      September 1, 2013 at 10:04 am

      Well you do remember a lot…ddnt someone say, our memories never go away?
      P.s now I know there’s an inner talkative:)

    • highlandblue

      September 1, 2013 at 4:09 pm

      Let the inner talkative out dear

      • Ladies Hangout Forum

        September 1, 2013 at 10:27 pm

        Will do. Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Esta

    September 1, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Reading this brought back the old memories ๐Ÿ™‚ My favourite teachers thought me in primary 3 (Ms Olabode) and 6 (Mrs Shokunbi). I remember the headmistress (Mrs Anthonio) too, she made some of us come to her house every Saturday to fetch water for her. And I was a troublemaker too…there was hardly any fight I wasn’t involved in ๐Ÿ™‚

    • anagail

      September 1, 2013 at 5:32 pm

      You were a fighter…how interesting:)

  10. cbnwali

    September 1, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    I vividly remember coming 10th in class in P4 because my teacher, whose name I cannot now remember, was punishing me for allowing another pupil to copy from me during the exams. He gave her my position and gave me hers! Justice? Oh hell!

    • anagail

      September 1, 2013 at 7:51 pm

      LOL. you shouldn’t allow people copy you:)

  11. Olufunmi

    September 3, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    *nods* Retrieval/encoding of memories. There has to be a link as regards impact made by human association. We remember people and things that had an impact in our lives one way or the other; whether negative or positive. I’m also fascinated by the brain and its workings, more so, the mind. As for reading, I started early too :). I remember reading Ralia the Sugar Girl in one day (same day my mum bought it for my upcoming new session to primary 3). She didn’t believe me! LOL. Spitting in a cup? Like ewwwww! Reninds me of my sister’s friend’s mum during my primary school days. (She always had a cup in the car when she came to pick her kids and my sis and I up after school) Ewwwwww again at the memory! Nice one Abigail *wink*

    • anagail

      September 3, 2013 at 12:36 pm

      Thanks for stopping by…as you promised ๐Ÿ˜‰


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