MUSAU: Of high school and some of my fondest memories

MUSAU: Of high school and some of my fondest memories
File photo of Alliance Boys High School students singing their school anthem.

The other day, a friend and I were at our campus’ mess talking about how bad the food – more specifically, the salad – was. She could not, for the life of her, understand why the cooks just couldn’t get vinegar proportions right. And so she went on a long rant about how our bodies are able to keep going even after eating dangerous foods; like salads with a lot of vinegar.

This conversation quickly shifted to memories about high school, because every time I hear something about eating crazy food and not getting sick that is where my mind automatically drifts to.

Now, let it be noted that said friend of mine was in one of these bullish ‘group of schools’, not like my peasant self who went to a high school tucked deep in Makueni County. Which means, no matter how I explained it, she couldn’t understand how drinking chocolate in porridge is magical, or why on earth one would put Royco cubes in food and take it right away without letting it boil for a few minutes.

That discussion made me want to write about some interesting memories I still have of high school, so here we are!

The foremost, and most important thing in high school, was sleep; there was something special about a classroom nap that you can never get anywhere else, even in campus lecture rooms. I think it had something to do with those lockers; the ones you used to put books in and write on, not the boujee ‘group of schools’ ones where everyone got a compartment for storing an extra pair of shoes for when they needed to play dodge ball.

The best part of sleeping in class was striving to stay on standby to avoid the wrath of the Teacher on Duty, or T.O.D as we often referred to them. My desk mate was one of the most talented students in that area; he would drop a pen under the desk and bend over as though reaching for it. Then when the T.O.D walked in, he would pick the pen and get back up and continue writing like nothing happened.

One could also have a peaceful nap by placing their head inside the locker, but you needed to have something like an open book and pen in hand so that when the T.O.D walked in, you’d just pretend to have been searching for a ruler. These sleeping antics, however, meant you needed a desk mate who was always awake and alert, not one lazy as a toad like my desk mate, Tom.

The second thing I still remember was the level of innovation among students. Guys applied petroleum jelly on window panes to make them ‘frosted’, thereby giving the T.O.D a difficult time peeping in to see who was asleep or making noise. We even made beanies out of sweater sleeves. We also had these other thing that I cannot explain better because there is no noun for “a collar which is worn under a sweater, often by men, to make someone look like they have worn a dress shirt.” Yes, we were that good.

I guess it’s safe to say that those who made projects for the science congress were not the only innovative guys around, eh? So should one of these fancy fashion houses like Hugo Boss or Sir Henry start recruiting, let me know, people. I know things.

Another thing was how we had lanes and everyone stuck to their own. There was no way someone like myself was going to sit between students discussing molarity of compounds and chemical reactions after a Chemistry exam; that was not my lane. I did not need to expose myself to such negativity. I had to look for my tribe and stick with them.

Inevitably, a week into Form Four, my desk mate migrated in search of greener pastures; i.e the front seats. I guess it was after one of those ‘you-only-have-x-days-to-KCSE’ motivational talks that got to him. Everyone felt challenged during those periods and there was this odd silence during preps. I, however, did not stress myself over those cheap talks because the students usually switched to their default mode the following day.

Also, thinking about it now, Tom – my desk mate, remember – could have migrated because of some heated Christian Union sermons. I’m not sure, my memory fails me. I do, however, remember that he needed someone to challenge him in Chemistry, not someone who resigned him to walking around looking for help when the teacher said “consult the person seated next to you.”

Those are some of my most profound high school memories, what are yours?

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Story By Dennis Musau
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