Toluene-scented Nostalgia

Sometimes you’re walking down the street, minding your own business, when it hits you. Bam! Nostalgia, heavy and full, hits you square in the gut, knocking the air out of your lungs, and you’re left in the middle of the street practically reeling in savage wistfulness. That ever happen to you? Well, tonight, it happened to me. I was walking down the street with my friend Tina, chatting about a new ice cream shoppe and other assorted national treasures, when we happened to walk by an old library. The library was conspicuous enough, with its marble Leos adorning the entrance, but it was the smell wafting through its doors, that sweet musty smell that so many have come to associate with well-loved books, that got me. Just like that, I thought back to my favorite books growing up. The first that came to mind was A Little Princess, the 1996 edition. princess      pr I think my impeccable acting skills, stem, in part, from reading this book. I doubt I was much older than 5 years old when I read it, and to say it made a lasting impression would be an understatement. In many ways, it remains my favorite. This is a story about a girl who finds pleasure in playing pretend. Being fully aware of all that’s going on in her life, whether good or bad, she finds a way to see the bright side of things, and pretends to be in a world where only the best version of herself is acceptable.

Of course, as I was reminiscing, my mind ran the film reel of all the Enid Blyton books I’d read, the Archie, Dennis the Menace comic books, the Aesop Stories, the Narnia books, the English classics and so on. (I never was a Harry Potter fan though). A few surprising recollections included Sugar Girl by Kola Onadipe. I loved this book! Picture Jael with a wrapper tied around her chest, walking all around the house, badgering her folks to get her another pet goat. (I’d had a pet goat when I was much younger but it ate most of my mum’s Ugu, so we eventually ate the damn goat). That literally was me at like 8 years old, and I’m proud to say I felt no shame then, and I feel no shame now. Sugar girl was a sweet girl, literally. She was kind and good and honest and everything I wanted to be – everything I am still trying to be.

The third (and last, for the sake of this post) really memorable book, was In His Steps. It’s a graphic novel about a priest in America in the 1920s and the scandalous lives of all the people in his parish. At least that’s most of what I remember. The main storyline (I think) revolved around the little and big ways some characters chose to be Christ-like, even finally giving up a life for another. ihs So yeah. Those are some of the books that crossed my mind tonight. I did a quick check on amazon to see if I could get them and was (pleasantly) surprised to find out these books fetch quite a pretty penny. Whether or not I eventually splurge on my childhood favorites, the moral of the story, kids, is that you should keep those books you love near and dear to your heart. Never forget them. Those stories you read and love at that young age, might have a lot to do with the kind of person you end up being. #P&IC


One thought on “Toluene-scented Nostalgia

  1. The first and probably the only things I have stolen in my life consciously were Ladybird books. I was a bit of a slow reader so library hours in primary school weren’t enough so I took about 3-4 books in my shirt, well tucked-in and made away with them. After “The 3 gollywogs”, I stopped. I had found Enyd Blyton! 🙂


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