I got a call from my friend and mentor Jide Adeniyi Jones, that his mum, Olga Miller just passed on. I started to cry but as both of us spoke about her and the very unique way she loved everyone, soon enough we both started to laugh.
He was like, “See… It’s been so hard for anyone to mourn under the dark cloud of her passing. Aunty Olga was lots of sunshine and flowers and cakes and changing hair color and spontaneous visits and gifts and lots and lots and lots of everything.”
She lived big and loved bigger. From the coversations I heard whisperd all over her leaving room, it’s clear to me, this is how to leave a mark. She’s left hers on the heart of everyone and given memories for countless to smile on. It’s been ninety three amazing years .
Ten months ago, her sister, roommate and all round best friend died. Everyone worried for Aunty Olga. How long would she last. But looking back it was more a matter of how ‘well’. She spent the last ten months without her sister living the only way she knew how- Big.
Traveling across the world to spend time with friends and loved ones, she was getting ready for another trip to Kenya for Chrismas with Uncle Jide when eternity came calling. Thinking about her, I’ve asked myself so many questions like, ‘Is my use of time worth my life?’ ‘Is my love big enough?’ After all, everything is all vanity without Love.
OLGA MILLER: BEAUTIFUL LINES IN PLEASANT PLACES .
When Aunty Olga turned 90 three years ago, she could have had anyone do her portraits. After all, one of her three sons and my mentor, Jide Adeniyi Jones, is one of Nigeria’s foremost Photographers . So imagine my joy when Uncle Jide called to say his mum had chosen to sit for me.
I was beyond excited but intimidated nonetheless. You see, her son isn’t my mentor by accident. He’s taught me more about how I see and how I think than anyone else. I knew she was visually astute and felt I had to ‘bring it’ with my work .
But Aunty Olga will always be Aunty Olga. As soon as I walked in, I was once again met by such an easy grace. This was the lady who turned up at my house in a yellow taxi not too long before to drop the fruitcake she made me. She breezed by again to drop a jeweled pen she got me on a trip to Kenya. I was going to be photographing my friend.
As she sat, she interrupted the process with a worried ‘Ehen! Toyin what’s that thing you all now do to photographs to make people look all plasticky? Ehen… Airbrushing! I hope you won’t be doing that to me. See these lines on my face, they belong there. I earned ever single one of them and would like to see them all.”
When I heard of her passing I went to look at the images again. She was right; those lines did belong on her face. Every beautiful one. Goodbye Aunty Olga you’re the fun, adventurous, lavender colored haired 93 year old a lot of us hope to be one day.
I know I posted this a while ago but here again, Aunty Olga and Gloria in the famous yellow taxi. Did anyone here ever spot these two? You may just have. They were always going somewhere. A friend of mine told me she saw them once on Falomo bridge with plants hanging out the booth. They loved fashion too. They visited my best friend’s design studio just to see what she was coming up with next. I’ve had two different designers call about how they always came by to buy one thing or the other. MAY WE NEVER STOP LIVING.