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7 things I miss doing; Now that technology has taken over.

by Uloma Emenyonu

  1. Letters: I miss the days of writing letters. Those days you had to write your friend or loved one, it would take weeks to get to the person; sometimes they were never even delivered. The funniest one was if you had to write your friend or loved one who lived in the US or UK, that took about 3 months or so, and then before you received the person’s reply, it would be another 3 months.
If you were in the boarding house like me, it was BIG deal to receive a letter. It meant you were special.
The best were the love letters. How I used to love getting them nice love letters, especially if it was from a toaster I liked. I would read them over and over again and then keep them safely stuffed somewhere. Again, if you were in a boarding school like me, it was big deal if the letters were ever found by nosy friends. In my school then, those chics would read them in front of the whole class and people would either jeer at you, or secretly wish they were you.
I miss those days, when we used to ‘tap’ people’s stamps, so we could use them to write letters. We even used to go as far as trying to re-use old stamps. We would carefully use an eraser to wipe out the black marks on the stamp; and trust good old NIPOST, those letters never got delivered.

 2.     Birthday Cards: I don’t remember the last time someone sent me a card for my birthday. Thanks to text messages, and phone calls, those gestures have gone extinct. Now, with facebook? Forget it. And don’t flatter yourself by thinking that your friends all remembered your birthday. If not for facebook birthday notifications, trust me, you wouldn’t have been such a celebrity on your birthday. I really really miss birthday cards and those days i used to just spread them out on my dressing table, or hang them in my room, then when the month was over, i would keep them somewhere safe so that my friends could see them when they came over.

3.  The days of “no-cell phones”: Believe it or not, there were times we had no cell phones. Those days that you could set out to visit a friend without knowing if he or she was in town. Sometimes you would wait at the person’s house for hours, without knowing that he or she was just next door.
It was worse when you travelled all the way from the east to visit your friend or relative in Lagos, only to find out that they had moved house, or that they travelled.Those days were sweet believe me.
Now with GSM, we know this can never happen, but still, we miss those days

4.Making international calls through NITEL
Do you remember the time we used to depend on NITEL for our international calls? Those days if you ever ventured to use your NITEL line at home to make international calls, your parents would hear “nwi”. The NITEL bill for that month would be enough to pay school fees for you and all your siblings for a term and your father would still have change to buy your mother a new wrapper.

If you wanted to make an international call, you had to go to NITEL, and buy a call card of ‘God knows how much”. This call card entitled you to about 4 to 5 minutes of airtime. Then, you had to stand on one long queue,  longer than a traditional BRT queue from Oshodi to CMS on a Monday morning. And then when it got to your turn, you had to speak, and then wait for the person on the other side to hear it, before you could now speak again. Tough one I tell you, but I do miss those days all the same.

 5.    Making Local Calls with NITEL
Who remembers this line: “ All trunks are busy, please call again later”, and then the dial tone would be gone. Those were the days of land lines. And mind you, not all of us had land lines. Some of us used to go to our neighbor’s houses/ offices, or father’s offices to receive phone calls. Then, your caller would call and someone would come to the house to tell you when next the caller would call again. And then, you would abandon any prior plans and go to venue of the call to sit by the phone.
If you had mischievous people around you, they would use another phone within the house and tap your phone calls. Funny what we put up with, but I loved it.

6.    The days of Tally Banking
There was a time visiting the bank was a whole day’s job. If you ever had cause to visit a bank, it would be good not to make any other plans for that day. The Banking halls were always filled with an average of 30-100 people ( I might be exaggerating here). You would be given a tally and then you would wait for the whole day for your turn. Most times, your turn would come just as the cashier wanted to go for lunch; and that lunch usually took hours. By the time you finished from the bank, you would be hungry and very very tired.

 7.    The Type writer:
I don’t remember the last time I saw any of those noise makers of those days; the type writer. Where if you finished typing a line, you had to shift it back. Those of us who studied Business studies during our J.S.S days had to learn how to use it. Woe betide you if you made a mistake. You had to look for Tipex to clean it off, or you would start all over again. Then if you wanted to make more copies, you would place a carbon paper underneath your paper and put another paper. Most times they never came out clear. But we loved them all the same
The last time i tried to use a typewriter, my wrists nearly broke from punching those keys so hard.
We're so used to the computer now, but i still miss the things of old

Uloma's days at Alvan Nursery School (I guess)
There are so many more that i don't remember, but i do miss those days a great deal. i'm sure you miss them too

3 Responses so far.

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is a beautiful piece, Uloma. Vividly painted picture, "I did do" for every narration you gave. From beginning to end I experienced them, I saw them, I lived them and I loved them. More especially: the letters, the cards, the typewriters, mum leaving the house to go stand in "NITEL queues" to speak to dad in far away Maiduguri then, and how it provided us the opportunity to go play. I miss those times alot and trust me, I never stopped thinking about them prior to reading this piece. Thankyou, Uloma for vindicating my mindset that was almost holding me spellbound like I'm the only one thinking of the past like it should live till tommorrow. May your ink never run dry, dearie...

    ~Osita Kays Oforji.

  2. Nice Article, it really got me thinking.
    "MEMORIES INDEED........"

  3. very very lovely article!!!
    thanks for sharing and taking me down the memory lane
    couldnt resist making reference to this article in one of my blog post

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