Gloria Anozie-Young is daddy’s girl. Her dad is 75 years old. When her dad hurts, she also hurts. Therefore, she does everything within her capacity to ensure that he is comfortable and happy.
She told JOSFYN UBA recently in an interview that the special bond between her and her dad had also been extended to her husband, Norbert Young, whom her dad now sees as another son, rather than just a son-in-law
Here are excerpts
Give me a sense of your family background.
I come from Abia State and my folks have always been particular on how they treat their children. We were pampered not spoilt and being the first child came with a lot of privileges. We are five girls and three boys. We all grew up together as one big, happy family.
What was it like growing up?
It was a strict but loving home. We were taught to express ourselves. We were also taught to speak up and don’t mumble. We were always asked our thoughts as well as our plans. Those questions came up a lot.
Every evening, the three older ones would gather with my dad and discuss anything and everything we could think of. I remember the first time I was made to read the newspaper out loud for everyone at home one evening.
If I so much as pronounced a word wrongly or didn’t stop at a full-stop, I would be tongue-lashed. Afterwards, my brothers would laugh and tease me for a week. We also looked forward to holiday periods in the village when my grandparents were alive because it was fun, loving and they pampered us silly.
Give me a sense of your relationship with your dad
Would I be able to express it in words? We understand each other immensely. We used to finish each other’s sentences. Sometimes, I even know what he wants to say before he says it. It wasn’t always like that because I felt he was too strict but as I grew older, I began to understand him.
I remember when I was in primary five, I was made to play the lead role in our Christmas play; everyone had memorised their lines but I was too lazy. My class teacher phoned my dad and told him. That evening when he came back from work, I was sent into his room and told to stay there until I learnt all my lines!! When I came out, he made me say them out, he wasn’t satisfied and sent me back twice until I got them all!
I cried, wept my eyes out literally. On the day of the play, my dad was very proud of me because everyone cheered my performance.
What pranks did you play on him as a child?
The twins (my immediate juniors) are very identical. There was a time nobody else could tell the difference between him and her. So, whenever, they got up to any mischief, which was quite often, I was always called to tell who did it! I would guess from their faces that they didn’t want to be caught. So, I would rather complicate issues more and my dad hated that.
Can you remember how you both felt, your father and you, the day you were getting married?
My dad was in his element! He was overjoyed. He made sure everything went well. I remember the evening after the “Iku aka” ceremony, my dad asked me to buy him a bottle of beer to celebrate it. He was especially elated because my sister had just been given a visa to study abroad the same week! And so, he toasted to the success of the two of us that night.
Can you recall your father’s seeming fear of losing you?
There was no fear, at all. He tells anyone who cares to listen that Norbert Young is his first-born. He says he didn’t lose a daughter. Instead, he got a son in return. I remember the month after my traditional wedding, I showed up in the house without notice and my dad was surprised to see me.
He asked if anything was wrong and I said no; he then asked for my husband, I told him that he was fine. I then asked why he was asking me all that and that couldn’t I just come home anymore because I was married? He said no, that my home was with my husband now. I laughed. He used to love teasing me a lot like that.
Can you remember your father’s greatest advice for you?
He gives me lots of advice from time to time. Many of them are not for public consumption and so, I won’t reveal them. However, we talk a lot! One of the greatest pieces of advice he gave me when I was getting married was how best to behave towards my in-laws. He said I should always respect them, call them regularly and take care of them.
Can you still recall what it was for him when you made him a grand father?
He was overjoyed! He was so happy! He immediately sent down a name for my daughter. He dotes on her a great deal.
How much of a father-daughter relationship do you feel now you are married, does it look like it is diminishing with you becoming a mother?
Now that I am married, there is a marked difference. It has calmed a bit, as my family needs more attention. However, we still have our phone conversations, which have gone from bi-weekly to weekly. We are still pretty close. I find that his counsel helps me a lot in my marriage.
Though, he is getting older and his activities have slowed down a bit, his mind is still as sharp as ever. We discuss family issues a lot and he listens to my advice too.
When something is bothering him, he calls me on the phone and we discuss it extensively until he is calm about it. It is mutual feeling for me, too. I wish I could spend more time with him but my own activities would not allow me go to and see him as often as I would have loved to.
I am grateful that he lives in Lagos and being that we live in the same town, I can get to him at short notice. He is very precious to me. When he hurts, I hurt and I try to make sure he is comfortable and happy in his old age.
My dad is 75 years old now and I’m grateful to God for keeping him hale, hearty and happy. I pray he lives for many years for us.