Remona Aly
Thursday 19 July 2018 The Guardian, g2

The giant sunflower and childhood memories

Sunflowers and Santa Claus: Guardian writers on their first childhood memory

My illustrious moment of glory remains the time I was awarded the school prize for the tallest sunflower competition. All the rival kids in the Kent area were competing alongside me: the only brown girl in my working-class village primary school. I carried my sunflower seed home like it was a rare jewel, and planted the treasure with mum and dad. Every day for months, I watched, watered and waited for a miracle. It felt like for ever, but finally by late autumn my little seed had become a towering, beaming thing of beauty. I took my place next to its furry neck, which stretched to the heavens , ready for dad to take the photo, and hoped, prayed and begged for it to be a winner. At school, my jaw dropped on the assembly floor when my name was called out and I was presented with a tiny trophy no bigger than my hand. But I was off my head with joy. I’ve never been a winner again since, so the memory of the tallest sunflower, insignificant as it seems, still makes my heart shine.

This article first appeared in The Guardian g2 on 19 July 2018. To view it click here.