This is a dedication to all the high school lovebirds. Thank you for making life interesting and competitive. I remember the days in Mbarara High School that we always ran to the main noticed board.
It was a rush to check if you name was on the list of those with letters. If your name was on the list, you gained some social recognition. “Okubicwa” meant the world to some of my friends.
The school canteens always stocked envelopes of all styles and occasional writing pads. I remember spending extra hours after prep to compose a response. The mailing system had two agents that sold stamped letters.
Workshops, prefectorial visits, shows were other means of sending letters. I remember having networks of fiends who knew friends of friends. Stay with me here.
Letter composition took a lot of effort and team work. Some people with chicken handwriting hired those with good handwriting. The best in English language helped us with grammar.
The dictionary was my favorite book and reference for idioms, some synonyms and new words. I remember writing many drafts and looking for the relevant dedications. For most of my letters, I used the Bible. Love was in the air.
When the letter was written, I ran it by close friends for proof reading. Main purpose was to avoid spelling errors but also show off that you had a girl to write to a letter. Golden memories.
Getting a stamped letter envelope was not an easy job. In most cases I had pocket money for school but managed to purchase a stamped envelope for my letters. The hustle was real.
When the letters went for delivery, the body went into a different emotional state. I remember friends that missed meals. Meals were a serious matter that most boys got physical many times.
The food prefects were most respected. These chaps worked out, had big muscles and were seasoned fighters. They policed everyone at Nganwa hall (dining hall). Each time the bell went off, the best athletes run to the hall to be first in que. Boys lost appetite when letters were in transit.
We used to look for clues to confirm the letter was received. The wait for a reply was painfully long. If your name never appeared on the notice board on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, you have to look for names of friends whose names appeared.
Girls had a habit of sharing stamped envelopes. How this system developed, I have no idea and may be you can tell me. I received an envelope with other letters in it addressed to other boys. Zoom it to…… Fly it to….. are some of the instructions I found on these letters. Some of them came scented or with rose flower petals.
There was a code behind the color of the envelope. I can only remember the pink color because none of us was looking forward to receiving a letter in this color. It was a color mostly used to convey breakups. Writing pads, unique envelopes were a sign of great affection. There was a spring in the walk of every boy I witnessed receiving this kind of mail.
Letter reading was strictly individual based except for a few that were addressed to two or more students. I received letters that gave me goosebumps, set my eyes tearing, cross my legs, walk with a spring in my feet to mention but a few. These girls rocked my world. Today, I am happily married with on question on my mind. Where is the love letter?