Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, Blogger, Speaker

Happy New Year, and Two Questions

The necklace with elephants - can you see them?

The necklace. Can you see the elephants?

Holiday Pics

Daughter Beth, husband Kelvin, & three kids, and son Chinaku came for Christmas and anniversary. Chinaku stayed, but B&K took their kids home, and came back with Ikem for New Year’s. The older children stayed home to be with friends.

Chinaku brought me a lovely necklace and bracelets from Nigeria. I wore them out for our anniversary dinner on the 26th, and to church today.

Ikem and his friend. We brought it to the living room to keep him company!

Ikem and his friend. We brought it to the living room to keep him company!

Ikem, now 2 and 1/2, still likes the statue that is about his size.

We celebrated New Year’s Eve at home.

My Marathon (Couch Variety)

I was glued to the TV a good part of Friday for the Downton Abbey Marathon.

I had seen most of earlier seasons. But I missed a few seasons 4 season and 5 so I wanted to get caught up before tonight’s opening show of the 2016 season.

New Year's Eve. Chinaku on left, then Beth, Clem, and Kelvin.

New Year’s Eve. Chinaku on left, then Beth, Clem, and Kelvin.

Our daughter Beth, son-in-law Kelvin, and son Chinaku watched with me a good part of Friday. On Saturday I watched, partly with Chinaku, partly alone.

My husband Clem gave up on having any conversation with me on Saturday. I did provide dinner, although barely! I arranged a plate of leftovers and simply told him, “Your food is in the microwave.” Then I ignored his sounds of protest.

Are you a fan? Who is your favorite character? Have you entered the PBS Sweepstakes? Don’t – I’ll have a better chance!

Daily Beast has an entertaining piece about the last season! There is a video, but the site warned that there were revelations in it, so I only watched a couple of seconds and I’m not putting it here. You can find it in the article if you want!

What Does “Technically Defeated” Mean? (Question 1)

Despite President Buhari’s claim that Boko Haram was “technically defeated,” the terrorist group is still active.

The International Business Times reported, “After missing his self-imposed year-end deadline to defeat Boko Haram, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari was careful in the rhetoric he employed in his New Year’s Eve address . . In the speech, Buhari recognized the progress his troops have made in the fight against the Islamist militant group, but reassured Nigerians that he knew there was “still a lot of work to be done in the area of security,” Agence France-Presse reported.

I wonder if he is regretting the announced deadline.

CNN’s article on Buhari and Boko Haram said, “The inconvenient truth is that Nigeria has not defeated Boko Haram but simply reversed the gains that the terror group has scored against it. While territory has been recaptured from rebel hands, innocent lives have, and continue, to be taken by it.”

I’d already seen The New York Times report on an attack in Maidugari on December 28 when more than 50 people died.

In an earlier article in International Business Times Buhari said, “the Nigerian government was willing and ready to negotiate with the terrorist group without any preconditions in order to retrieve the girls.”

But, he said, “finding credible leadership was difficult.”

Grand Jury Decision, A Surprise? (Question 2)

Also on December 28th the prosecutor announced that the grand jury in Cuyahoga County chose not to indict the police officer who killed 12-year old Tamir Rice over a year ago in Cleveland.

According to the announcement, two facts from the person reporting the presence of a person with a gun were not passed on to the police – the gun wielder appeared to be a juvenile, and the gun didn’t seem real.

Yet the policeman arrived on the scene, jumped out of car, and shot the boy within seconds. Tamir lay on the pavement for several minutes before police requested medical attention.

Protestors gathered after the announcement asking for justice, for an investigation, and for the resignation of the prosecutor.

Connecting with Kin

I’ve happily connected with my cousin Liz Danforth, an extremely talented artist. She creates paintings and drawings for games among her many pursuits. I follow her blog and she follows mine.

Liz, from her website

Liz, from her website. She looks like family!

She wrote this on January 1st, sharing news of success with her recent major project: “Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls was completed and released, and the fans have embraced it with a fervor I never  dreamed possible.”

She used the term RPG’s. Do you know what these are? I didn’t!

No Googling! You’ll find it in her post if you’re curious. If no one answers, I’ll tell you next time.

She wrote, “I am reading many dead tree editions when I’m not painting. Right now, I am particularly engaged by the memoir by my cousin Catherine OnyemelukweNigeria RevisitedIt is a closeup view of foreign lands . . and the equally alien world of the US in the 1960s, where an international mixed-race marriage merited a photospread in Life magazine and an article in the New York Times.

She continued, “I cannot recommend it highly enough. Cathy writes well and evocatively, and I think most people likely to be reading this blog [hers] have never been exposed to the engrossing world(s) she describes. Even me — I knew I had an older cousin whom my family said had married an Ibo (Igbo, more properly), and the Biafran civil war was something more important in my child’s mind because of it, but I’m ashamed to realize how little I actually knew. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be learning more now.”

Thank you, Liz.

1953 in Danforth Illinois, at our grandparents' home.

1953 in Danforth Illinois, at our grandparents’ home.

Today cousin Victor sent a photo from 1953. It’s hard to recognize anyone in it, but I can see my sister and cousin Louise, Liz’s older sister, right behind the dog.

I’m behind my sister with my brother Peter on my right. Liz is held by cousin Ron in the back row.

Do you have old family photos? Aren’t they fun, even as you struggle to recognize relatives?

Next time I’ll tell you about an Igbo person in Fort Thomas, Kentucky!


Author: Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, blogger, speaker. Born in New York, grew up in mid west United States, lived in Nigeria for 24 years, back in U.S. since 1986. Advocate for racial justice.


  1. Dear Catherine,

    Thanks for your blog. I especially enjoyed the family pictures. A Happy New Year to you all.

    I’m a Downton Abbey fan too, and watched the opening of the sixth season last night.

    No New Year’s resolutions. Just hopes for peace, and much trepidation about the
    situation in the world and in our own country.

    Glad to have good friends!