I will start by explaining that which could be important to my story, that occured before I was born.
Sometime in his life, my mother’s father, Joseph Karashani, got a scholarship to study in the UK, or in Northen Ireland. At some point he was in Northen Ireland, and he gave birth to my mother. And because she was born on Northen Ireland soil, she got UK citenzhip.
There’s not be a single part of my life story that’s more important than that fact.
After being born, Ruth Karashani stayed in North Ireland a little while. She was then flown back to Africa, where she spent her days growing up rather wealthily between Tanzania and Zimbabwe. I believe she did not recieve her share of my grandfather’s inheretence, which is why she is now poor. This may have been due to her mean older sister.
She had four full siblings total, with herself being the youngest. This could hint to explain her immaturity.
My mother always speaks nothing but highly of her dad. That he was intellegent, a good Christian, a doctor, and likely where I got my genius genes from.
After a while, my mother travelled to Europe. She stayed briefly in France and Germany, then found herself in East London, staying with an African woman in Hackney.
In London she met my dad, and began working for him in his radio station. They fell in love, got fake-married, and had four kids, starting with my elder sister Nicholina in 2003, myself in 2005, my younger sister Spacious in 2006, and my younger brother Kwame in 2012. Shortly after Kwame’s birth, my father moved back to Ghana, and as such I know far less of his backstory than my mother’s.
He has a twin though, and I believe his parents are also dead, like my mother. He was born in 1970, my mother in 1972.
I was born in Newham General Hospital on the 19th of June 2005. I could not tell you the time. It was a water birth.
My mother frequently ate full english breakfasts during my gestation, potentially leading to my seemingly permenant intolerance to eggs and beans.
It is said I did not speak properly until about the age of four. Piotr Wozniak, an actor debuting far later in this play, speculates this is a well known effect where the more intellegent children sprout later. My father was very worried about me, and wanted to get me a speech therapist, or somesuch. My mother was less concerned, and my speech improved a lot.
Funnily enough, good speech is one of my random skills.
I’d vaguely classify random skills as things that I am good at that are disconnected from other aspects of my personality. Same with interests. Like how at the beginning of Harry Potter Harry’s really skilled at Quidditch for no reason. More on this later.
The First House
The fact that I was born in Newham General Hospital is bizzare, as it is so close to where I live now. I have no memories of my very first home, but some of the one after that, which is in Forest Gate. It was a dark place with the excact same layout as the one in which I reside now.
I didn’t have my own room in this dark house, I think I slept with my sisters, back when it was just the three of us and we were all still friends. Perhaps one matress – it’s fuzzy. But one night, when my dad wasn’t around I slept in his room, and dreamt of having my own room. I notice I am confused, because I must’ve watched Horrid Henry at this point – I fantasized about covering the room in posters.
I can of course do that now, given where I am now. But I just realised in order to keep this biography linear and expandable, I can’t make much reference to wear I am now, as I’m writing this, can I?
In that house, in the late 2000’s, early 2010’s, we had a huge diode TV. This TV is a surprise tool that will help me later. I watched a lot of CBeebies in my infancy. IgglePiggle might be my first TV role model, before the days of Woody and Phineas and Jake.
I went to a nursary called Kay Row, a perfectly fine nursary with an unnecessarily haunting logo of a simley face painted by a child. I recall little but being good at computers for some reason and believing balance to be one of my special skills. The former is irrevocably relevant later on, the latter extroadinarily irrelevant in all future proceedings.
As a result of my mum being poor (which is weird because my grandfather was still alive at this point… unless he’s not as rich as my mum says he is?) we stayed in multiple council houses. The next one of these I remember was called Gainsbourough. I will visit it again much, much, much later (subtle forshadowing, I know).
Distinctive features of this place were its massive living room, huge park, and abundance of cockroaches. Shortly before we left it, cockroaches infested a speaker – it may well still be the most cockroaches I’ve ever seen in my life (the cockroaches start coming and they don’t stop coming…)
There was also a cage outside, where one winter it snowed, back when it still snowed yearly. Isn’t that odd? That in the time when I’ve still been a child, the whole climate of the whole country has changed? It’s like how some people lived through wars. Not at all, but kind of. The idea of the whole planet shifting in the time it’s taken for you to be alive, while you’re still a child.
I warmly recall my fifth birthday there, where we invited Joshua. Come to think of it, he may actually be my first friend. He’s about seven years older than me, and I we got a long at curch (I don’t remember going to church while at this houe). It was a big party, and that is all I know. Joseph should return later in the tale.
Come to think of it, my first friend in memory may have actually been Leila. Not Leela from Futurama, but Leila. She lived down the road, and I visited her house to watch The Smurfs 2 once. I think she had a brother. I know nothing else about her, and couldn’t find her if I tried.
She may be able to find me though
One winter, we went outside and drew the word Jesus into the snow inside the cage. It was very fun, I think we built a snowman. If they are pictures of the event, I would be surprised if they aren’t gone by now.
I have forever been mindful of crossing the road, with one of my injunctions being to never be reading or on my phone while crossing the road. I think this may be the first injunction I made for myself, before I even knew what an injunction was (a rule that you always follow even when you’re sure it’s a bad idea to follow it, because it’s far more likely you’re wrong to disobey the rule than you’re write this time to disobey it). Part of that mindfulness is certaintly because of all the psychology books I read describing how cars are SUPER SUPER DANGEROUS LIKE REALLY ACTUALLY SUPER DUPER DANGEROUS BEWAAAAAAAAAAAAAARE but also what formed an ever deeper groove than that was an advertisement I recall watching on the TV in this house. A sick advertisement set in sepia, where a dilapodated looking animated boy fails to look as he crosses the road and is hit by a car and crippled for life, unable to play football with his friends.
My younger brother Kwame did not watch this advert. My future friend Dagem does, at the same time.
Once I found a £5 on the floor here. Being about five myself, this was one of my first examples of finding money on the floor, and I thought it would happen a lot more often than it ended up.
Praying for a new house
I saw my grandfather for the first and only time while we were living in this house. I have absolutely no idea what he did during the stay, except that he gave me a laptop. I have absolutely no idea what happened to this laptop, or if it is even real. He died almost immediately after returning to Africa.
I notice now that the story my brain has had stored for explaining this event for the ten years since it’s happened is that he stepped on some venomous plant and was shipped off to a hospital.
Alas, as Joseph Karashani bowed out of his life, he also exited stage right in his role in this story. My mum’s relationship with him is bizzare, since mine with her is nowhere near as strong as what she makes out theirs to be. Reminds me of how all the Crystal Gems love the deceased Rose Quartz in Steven Universe, but when we actually get to find out what she was like, she was not indeed so saintlike. Total absence of anything bad being said is suspicious, right?
At one point we all got together and prayed for a better house, one where the school was closer and such and such. Self-evidentaly, this comes up later, because otherwise I would not remember such a mundane, failed prayer.
Christmas Time is Here
We celebrated Christmas in our dark, quiet, snowy, windowed house in Walthamstow. It’s one of the most cozy, bookish memories I have. My mum cooked a giant meal with the main dish being Jollof rice, and we sat around the table in the dining room and ate. It was extremely pleasant. Weirdly, I can’t actually recall my sisters on the table. It was a long time ago…
I believed I believed I had a dislike for oranges up to the point of living here too.
Going to school
We went to a school that was ages away and had to travel an hour by bus everyday to get there, to Sherringham or St James Junior School, Tower Hamlets road. Come to think of it, it may be in Gainsborough, which may be in Manor Park.
Anyway, every day after the end of school mum’d come with McDonald’s burgers to eat on the bus so we didn’t starve on the hour long ride home. I can’t imagine how I felt during these, or what on earth I did. Surely I was too young to read long books, or to possibly be alright during it? Though my mum does say I was a very peaceful baby, one who enjoyed looking outside windows. Checks out.
As for the school itself, it was georgous and extrremely modern, with basketball courts on rooves and stuff like that. I have a memory that takes place in a toilet, no idea what it was though. And it is not the fact that my teacher’s name was Ms Lou. The memories feel warm, like I had friends and good teachers, though all the details are gone, mixed with the remains of the extroadinary amount of books and films I’ve seen where characters start a new school, like Inside Out.
I had a dream I went back, and it was even more giant than I remembered.
And that’s all.
Funilly enough, right now someone else is living in Wathalmastow, someone I will meet one day far, far away from Walthamstow, away from all of London. But they’re having their own origin story – let’s leave them to it.
My dad was still in London at the time, but doesn’t feature in any of the above memories – no idea where he was at the time.
Deciding the domicile
My mum came at one point to look at houses in Canning Town (where the hell I was I have no idea) and at one point the person brought her along a shabby, delapotated house with two primary schools on the same road and a park just outside with a bus stop to boot. She bit the bullet and decided to fix up the house, and we moved in.
The first night was cold, and we all slept in the room just meters from me now, on a single matress, eating sandwhices. Soon all our stuff began to come though and we splintered off into our rooms, starting to form some damn memories.
Do you know when you move into a new house, and the perimetre of the rooms are tiled in spikes? Yes? No? I really don’t know too well what it’s like to move to a new house, having only done it the few times. Anyway, once Spacious and I were playing a delightfully fun game where we threw balls of socks at one another. I was perched apon the edge of a sofa, had a sock thrown right at me, and perished, falling backwards and planting my palm square through a line of these spikes.
It of course tour right through my palm, and i went to the ER and got them stiched up.
Though the scar is rather subtle these days, I used it to tell which hand was left for years and years afterwards. It is nice to have a story behind it, unlike the random spot on my thumb, which I got a red herring to the origin to in my first term at Wellington, but still remains most likely just a mole.
Secondary Throat Trauma
I can’t stand choking in TV. I grimace and feel super uncomfortable whenever a character will accidentally suck up a leaf down their windpipe or something, worse so when it goes on for really long like it tends to in shows like The Amazing World of Gumball. The root cause of this deep discomfort has to be because my elder sister, Nicholina, choked on a Dorito – it was stuck in her throat. She was taken to the emergency room (I don’t know if my “memory” of what it was like is just a repeat visualisation over a decade or I actually went – -1 point for the fact that it looks very little like the hospital I now know she went to [where I was born], but +1 point for the fact that I recall playing with the waiting room games…)
She was okay, but this of course, scarred me. Of recent it appeals to my sensibilities less to play up this fear, lest it in truth it becomes debilitating. But I am scared of chocking, and that is one of my things.
Burger the Big Brown Dog
I love [Burger], the big [brown] dog!
Sadly, my fake dog Burger was not the size of a house, but his colour was as burger themed as Clifford’s was to tomatos. I really liked Burger. He’s gone now, maybe in the storage, perhaps much further. But he was my first dog, my only ever fake dog, and someone I did cry into.
So, that was my youth. A collection of scattered memories and episodes, very barely interconnected and with details that don’t make sense. This should only decrease as things go on. Onward to my first day of school…