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Black Lives Matter

Life Story Club Contributor

June 8, 2020

Black Lives Matter protest, march planned for Saturday in DeKalb ...
A group of protesters demonstrating in response to the murder of George Floyd in May, 2020. Source:

What makes a big difference is years ago it was our war against them, but now based on the power of video, of the cameras on the cellphones, the world is able to see everything. And so they really can’t deny it was our word against the establishment. I don’t have anything against because we need them. We need to get rid of the bad cops or the justices, the lynching, the killing of New York people, racial profiling. So there is to right now for the work. You do your research.

They can’t hide from what it used to be. So thank god for the young lady that did this video. Every state is involved. So hopefully we will find this solution because I don’t believe anyone is better than me. And I don’t think I am better than anybody. Equal treatment. Respect.

If I could relive one day

Life Story Club Contributor

June 1, 2020

I am quite an unusual human being. I cannot describe it, you have to live my life to know it. Meaning, I’m one of those guys, I don’t think I ever have a bad day. When I say bad day, good day, middle days, but my life has been so free. Even though I’m almost in my 80s, the ride has been good. When they say that person never has a bad day, I’m in that category. So that’s all I could tell you. I don’t have nothing bad, nothing good – the ride has been good.

I’ve been retired 16 years, still eating, traveling. I do what I want to do, so I’m good!

An Act of Kindness

Life Story Club Contributor

June 1, 2020

My most memorable day was the day I got on the plane for the first time. That was when I had to leave Nigeria to go to London. I had seen planes in the air, never touched it, never had anyone close to me go on the plane. I didn’t know what to expect. But the ride was good. We’re looking at 55, 56 years ago! They didn’t have these so-called double engines then. The plane at that time used to be a rough ride during take-off and landing. So that was my most memorable day.

As far as romance is concerned – zero. I believe I told you where I come from, my culture. Anything romantic, is out! Your first romance is when you get married. But I do remember, my brother at a very, very old age, my brother, somebody who hasn’t been to Hawaii but likes the hula dance. The sister of my friend, went and made a cake with a hula on the bottom of the cake. The hula skirt! That’s all I could remember of romance! It’s not something that is condoned growing up. At the time. I’m not talking about the current generation. With television, I know that people are exposed to all kinds of things.

The nicest thing that somebody has every done for me? When my application to London was accepted. For the simple reason that going to London was not my goal. But I passed an exam in Nigeria that is taken by the same students in London. A friend suggested that I could go to the British consulate, and that led me to go to London. I did go there. And when I got the letter of approval to work and study. It was very exciting. I don’t know if I slept that day! I would go to a new culture, where I don’t know anybody, other than a former classmate that was there already. So many things in my life, that people have done. Good things for me, that I can’t pinpoint one. They are all very good.

A Visit from the Queen

Life Story Club Contributor

May 4, 2020

I was born in Africa and Nigeria was under British colony, so as a kid, in grade school, we were told that the Royal Family was coming to Nigeria.

I lived really downtown, where everything is. There was a playground. Houses surrounded it and a lot went on there. That was the place for everybody to congregate, so school children were told to be in their best dress, best behavior. We were handed flags. At the time I had no clue about flags of any nation, but we were given British flags. We were there to welcome the Queen to Nigeria.

It was the first time outside of school that I had to see kids from—I can’t even tell you—from everywhere. This was a football field and different schools congregated there. She came, going around to everybody. Plenty didn’t have the historical knowledge of what the Royal Family was all about. At the time, we were told that the queen was coming and that I will always remember.

Queen Elizabeth's Visit to Nigeria: History & Details
Queen Elizabeth was Queen of Nigeria from 1960 – 1963, the time between the nation’s independence and when she became a republic. Source: Queen Elizabeth’s Visit to Nigeria: History & Details

Later on I went to London. Central London. I was there for five years for school. I was able to start to know about the Royal Family, about riches, about class, rich and poor, and all those things. At the time it was really exciting, waving flags with all of our energy screaming. We were screaming because everyone else was screaming, not because we knew what was happening for. We didn’t even know how long the Royal Family had been in existence or what they really represented. I was in grade school at the time. That was one of the most fun parts of historical events for myself and my classmates for years. We always reminisce about those events.

Standing in the sun, laughing and having a good old time. Waving flags, just like you see it on TV. All of us waving and she was waving.

We didn’t know what was going on that day. We were just told by the teachers to be ready. The school system there was very disciplined. They would ring the bell and you would line up by their class, then you’d march to your classes. We just go by what they tell us. That, on that day, where we would be going, and we just followed them. All I knew is I was going to see the Queen of England. This was the 50’s.

Having school in Nigeria, London, and the United States, they are three very different methods. Because I was very instrumental with my kids’ school, I did see how tests were prepared, study methods and all that. I’ve been out of school for so long. But all those multiple choice tests, that didn’t exist in Britain and it didn’t exist in Nigeria. Multiple questions, to the best of my knowledge, you can easily guess the answer. In British education you read and must answer the question. Also here, if you pass an exam, they will keep the one you pass and the one you fail, you repeat. Once you fail you in Britain or Nigeria, you have to repeat the whole thing the following year.

Young Trouble

Life Story Club Contributor

May 4, 2020

I’m one of the luckiest human beings on earth to start with to start with, meaning I’m almost 80, and as a child that I was never beaten, meaning I was never, ever in trouble with my parents or my caregivers. My mother’s first cousin raised me. We all called him father. To make a long story short, I never got in trouble.

One thing I remember is in grade school. There was a boy in my class and the shape of his mouth simply didn’t look normal, and when we talked about this guy, we said, “The one with the mouth.” I would never say it in front of him because he’s going to beat the hell out of you. I’ve been telling people I wish I could see the guy again to simply apologize for calling him that. I don’t remember what we looked like, but we would say, “John, the one with the mouth.”

I grew up in a good home with good friends. I’m aware what people go through. I’m aware what families go through but I was never one of those. My mother had four kids. I’m the third of the four. We never got into fights.

I have two children, raised right here in the United States. A boy and a girl. To the best of my knowledge, I never saw either of them get into fights when they were around me. One is a Medical Director and another is a Wall Street investor. They never got in fights. They got into very, very little. Very minimal trouble. I never whooped my children. I never gave them beatings.

I was born in Africa by way of London. I was recruited from London to the United States 51 years ago. I did not come here looking for work. I’ve been retired for three years. My life has been superb.

My kids were a bunch of Valedictorians. One thing I do remember is whenever they were going from one grade to another, their teachers would always ask me if I had any other kids to send to them.

I’m an advocate for social justice. I’ve worked in Washington and City Hall.

My children got into very few fights. I told you what the teachers said. After graduation, some of the teachers and principals who were friends, would always ask me, do I have any other kids to send to their class.

Someone tells you that this is what they go through in life and you think, “How could that be possible?” But this is a true story that I’m telling you.

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