Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Home: A Trip Down Memory Lane

This is an excerpt from "Embrace the Wonder," a collaborative and inspirational book/music project in progress...

Some say Home is where the heart is. Others proclaim it’s where you hang your hat. Query Stephen King, he’d probably reply, “Home is where they’ll always let you in.” Just don’t ask my overly animated, “potty humor” obsessed husband; he might regurgitate something like “Home is where I can peacefully pinch a loaf! And in case you’re worn out from all the mutated variations of this ancient cliché, I’d say power up for one more. I intend to whip out a home –grown rendition of my very own…just for you, before this story is over!

Seriously. If home were remotely close to any of the above-italicized descriptions, why then do I ultimately live in the house of my dreams, with a family of my own… yet long for that place? Why is the need to reminisce often strong when I am alone? Why do I feel this void inside my soul?... Then it struck me again like a new idea to a blocked artist! But this time, there was no room to entertain second thoughts or the usual excuses. If I wanted some answers, I had to go back! Back to that place where the child once played hide and seek under the moonlight….

I grew up in “the land of the red earth;” a small town nestled somewhere on the west coast of Africa. I was raised by a single mother in an era when polygamy was rampant and the culture did very little to hold fathers accountable for child support. There were some rough times as I recall. Luckily though, my (gentle, kind, and independent) mother had an entrepreneurial hunger that ensured I always had food on my plate, clothes on my back, a roof over my head and a big mouth to complain about all the other things that I didn’t have. Perhaps watching episode after episode of “Soul Train” made me feel like I was missing out on a whole lot of fun! And like most children my age at that time, I too fantasized and longed to travel abroad. I dreamed of going to America!

Right before my 18th birthday, an extended family member from Texas came home for a brief summer visit. The scoop? His wife had just given birth to theirgetaway 3rd son and they were desperately looking for a live-in help. To me, this was the perfect and several weeks later, I was good to go. So, with a suitcase full of my meager belongings, and a heart full of golden dreams, I hugged my mom and waved goodbye to all the friends and relatives I was leaving behind...

Outside Houston Intercontinental Airport, Mrs. Osaje and the boys were waiting to pick us up. By the time we arrived at their apartment, I knew the household routine like the back of my hand. I would take care of the children while both parents were at work. Somewhere in between, weekend and evening classes were a top priority. Upon my graduation years later, I immediately landed a job as a Child Psychologist at a local shelter working with emotionally handicapped children. That’s where I met my husband, John.

“I can relate to the call of the unknown,” he teased. See, not too long ago, he and his best friend, Tony, had gone on this road trip with no specific destination in mind. They had driven from the Florida Keys, across the Lone Star State; up through the Arizona Desert, down by the Californian Coast to Yosemite, in search of what they referred to as the “Wonder.” If he understood why I needed to visit Nigeria, well, who could argue with that? Unfortunately, my 6-year old daughter, Sidney, didn’t share our sentiments.

"Mama, I don't want you to go to Africa." She whined.
"Honey, I know. But this is something Mommy has to do. All right?"
"Okay. Promise you'll come back home soon?"
"Cross my heart," I said, as I squeezed her gently.

I purchased a round trip ticket and boarded a flight to Lagos. Approximately fifteen hours later, I was a passenger on a bus (similar to a greyhound) en route to my hometown...

To be continued -:)

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Deborah said...

Can't wait to read the rest...!

10 said...

Cool place ya' got here. I'll be back for more. Funny stuff.

Dianne said...

Please ket us know on Vox when ther's more to read. You are great!! Dianne

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