Sweet Memories of My Childhood
Though terribly shy, I had a blissful childhood. Furthermore, I may be an only child but I was surrounded with people my age because I spent the first five years of my life at my mother’s hometown in a rural fishing community where my cousins were as teeming as fish in the sea. My mother has twelve siblings; she was the youngest. All her siblings had three to eight children. Imagine how many cousins I have! I would not be lying if I claim that almost everyone in our village is a close relative! The sweet memories of my childhood are happily filled with beach combing, fishing, and regular family occasions.
With my aunt Esther and her child, my cousin, Eve, we would scour the beach to look for colorful seashells, stones, and every other trinket we can find. Eve and I were both years old when we started our daily beach walking sessions. After an early breakfast at 6am, we would walk until 9 am at the beach, combing the sand and keeping our hands busy. I was the luckiest of us all and usually found beautiful things, such as bracelets, rings, and little toys. One time, I found a bronze fish, as small as my little finger. Ecstatic, I named it Iza, my lucky charm. I would play with it whenever my cousins were not around. I imagined riding Iza and she would fly. We went to mountains and clouds together, locating and killing monsters along the way. Iza and I were unstoppable! Hunting for knick knacks and playing with my toys and cousins were part of my regular childhood routine.
Fishing was something I looked forward to which happened every Saturday. My Uncle Jerome and Uncle Edward would take us with them and go at the middle of the ocean. They had a big boat that could carry five adults and five children. The name of our boat was “Hope” which had a sky-blue color. Eve, Arnie, and I were frequently the youngest people in it. My uncles would find a good spot in the ocean, and then dive and look for pearls. The first time I saw a pearl in a shell, I was amazed, my mouth hung and never closed for a long time! Exquisite in its whiteness, the pearl shone under the sun. I touched it a little, smooth and in my mind, felt creamy. I thought it was the loveliest milky item. Besides pearl hunting, my cousins and I would use fishing rods. I seldom caught fish and when I did, I loved the feeling of catching something we would eat as it felt independent and grown-up. Sometimes, my relatives would bring a net too and we would catch different fish with diverse colors- gold, white, and pink! We would roast and stew some of the fish and add the vegetables we brought along with us. They were the sweetest, best-tasting fish ever because of their freshness. I love these fishing expeditions!
Apart from fishing, we would spend many days with our numerous family occasions. Since we have a big clan, it was common to have at least one birthday once a week. In each event, we would bring gifts, but mostly, we had food with us, particularly grandmother’s purple yam cake, which is the most famous cake in our village. Relatives would request for her to make one for them but mostly she cooked it for birthday celebrants. Sometimes, two to three people would celebrate their birthdays in one day, so my grandmother and I would visit three houses in one day and bring them a cake each. Afterwards, we would go home with rounded bellies and heads full of stories.
My childhood gave me some of the best years of my life because I was with my family. I spent much time exploring the beach and the sea in addition to bonding with my relatives. In other words, I was physically and socially active. I was shy with strangers but with them, I felt serene and at home. If I would have children of my own, I will bring them to my town as well so they would be able to experience the happiness of a simple childhood in a quaint, fishing village where family love and nature are plentiful.
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