I learnt how to swim at age 4. When I tell people, they sneer at me and some come out downright and say I am lying. One argument contrary to my claim was that there was no way I could remember or be so sure because you don’t get to build memories until about 4 years old. I remember telling the person with a snide look on my face “you just contradicted yourself”. I remember it very well, forever ingrained in my memory because I learnt how to swim the hard way. Patience wasn’t something my father had in droves when he wanted you to teach you something, so a lot of force and yelling with tears on my part was involved. Believe me when I say I remember it, trust that I know what I am saying and not just for the pictures, which are the best proof because in all the pictures of me in the pool at Apapa club at that age, my sister was nowhere to be found. In some pictures, my mum was pregnant. I am 5 years older than my sister. The feeling of thinking you are going to drown, stays with me till today which is why despite being an excellent swimmer, I have a deep fear of water. I have gone on holidays by the beach twice, one was Cannes and the other Malta. Got the chance to swim in the Mediterranean on both trips, but didn’t go very far at all before the fear set in and I turned back. I know now that it is because of the way I was taught to swim. Despite shaking the fear off in my teens, now that I have gotten older, or is it braver to swim in open waters and not a controlled environment like a pool, the fear is back. Hoping I get a swimming buddy to help conquer those fears, because scuba diving is something I have always wanted to do, and don’t see how it is possible.
So why the emotional trip down memory lane, you may be asking, well it’s because Chapman is inextricably linked to those memories. Drinking a big beer mug of Chapman was one of the things that kept me going, doing all the hand and leg motions Daddy wanted me to, keeping my head above water, despite drinking what to me felt like half the entire pool. We would go the length and breath of the pool with him yelling like a drill sergeant, but when I got out and towelled off, my Mum was there handing me a big beer mug of Chapman while fuming at my father, telling him “not to kill her only child, I am all that she has”. “She is just 4 and doesn’t have to learn everything this quickly”. “Her mates are in the kiddies pool, she has the rest of her life to learn”. They repeated that dance every weekend. Before I got to secondary school, I had mastered all styles of swimming. My father wasn’t playing. Hahahahahahahahaha. Because she couldn’t swim at all, and wouldn’t even go half an inch past the shallow end, she wasn’t one to talk and my father knew it. Looooool. He tried teaching her but she screamed the entire club down. My mother’s screams would put a Banshee to shame. It was so embarrassing, Daddy gave up. Lol.
So, when I think of Chapman, the memories come back in swades, the good and the bad. The good in the sense that it was something to look forward to, the sugar rush made my tired aching muscles feel less painful and it erased the taste of chlorine in my mouth. Even my stinging eyes, were relieved. Oh, memories of Apapa Club. It was our weekend ritual for a long time, even after my sister arrived. I can still see the pool in my minds eye, the live band near the pool as afternoon rolled into evening, I can still see and smell The Suya Spot not so far from the pool, still taste the Chips, the Meat Pie, the Chin Chin. Still remember being carried to the car half asleep by my dad from the exhaustion of the whole day. I can still see the faces of the children I played with, I can hear their squeals of delight, see us water bombing, people throwing coins into the deep end for us to fish out, looking for lost jewellery, the swimming competitions. Sadly, I also remember the day a teenager drowned in the pool. It was shocking because he was one of the best swimmers. He got cramps while he was down there crouched in the yoga position (which was his “pool trick”) and nobody realised until it was too late. When I was making this, I was smiling with nostalgia. Strangely enough, my Mum called during this time, I was lost in my memories I didn’t hear the phone ring on time till the call disconnected. Wish we got to talk though, she would have shared in my reminiscing, with stories I have probably forgotten.
I don’t know which childhood memories of Chapman you would have, I hope they are good ones. Here’s to the memories, here’s to our childhoods, here’s to everything we’ve experienced that has moulded us into the adults we are today. The good, the bad, the freaking awesome. Cheers!!!! Thanks to Labake of Fontaine de Vie, Oseghale and Funmi for recipes and tips. I tweaked and tweaked to make it mine, or more like I stopped when one sip brought all the memories of Apapa Club Chapman rushing back.
You will need
1 500ml bottle of Fanta
1 500ml bottle of Sprite
3/4 of a bottle of Schweppes bitter lemon – the Nigerian bitter lemon in the green bottle
Three 1/4 cups of Schweppes Blackcurrant Cordial – or tasty time if you live in Nigeria
40 – 60ml of Grenadine Syrup – depending on how sweet/red you want the chapman
Slices of Lemon
Slices of Cucumber
1 teaspoon of Angostura bitters
Make sure All drinks except the grenadine syrup and angostura bitters are refrigerated
1. Simply measure all the ingredients as stated
and pour into a big pitcher. Give a very good stir with a spoon
2. Add thin slices of lemon, cucumber and ice cubes to Garnish
………and that’s your Chapman. How easy is that?
You would love the contrast of the green from the cucumber, the yellow from the lemon against the reddish-orangish shade of the chapman. Simply beautiful!!
Pour into a glass, remember to still garnish, add straws.
Just as Apapa Club served it, use 2 coloured straws. Memories……Memories…
One of the very best pairings with Chapman at Apapa Club was their Suya. Gosh, I remember that Suya, but today it isn’t about Suya, but another important childhood memory, Club Sandwich. This time The Ikoyi Club Sandwich.
See you at the next post