Loneliness is often the close companion of the elderly, but not so with birthday girl and centenarian Beulah Mackie who celebrated her big day today in the company of Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave and at least five generations of her family at her Rendezvous Terrace, Christ Church home.
The Guyanese-born Mackie, who has been a devout worshipper at the Roman Catholic Church, began her big day with an early morning service accompanied by some of her relatives.
Even though she is confined to a wheelchair, all her faculties are intact. This was evident when the centenarian, affectionally known as “Queenie” to the older generation and “Granny Boo” to the younger members of the family, engaged Sir Elliott in lively discussion during his just over 30-minute visit.
Taking note of her generally fine health, Sir Elliott said: “Meeting centenarians is one part of my duties I enjoy. I have recognized that we, as a people, stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. However, in many cases the centenarians I meet are either visually impaired or suffer from some disability making it difficult to communicate with them. This is certainly not the case with Mackie.”
During the conversation with Sir Elliott, the centenarian recalled that as an employee of the Tourist Board at the airport she met famous personalities such as Mickey Rooney, Frank Sinatra and John Wayne.
Paying tribute to Mackie, granddaughter Gisell Bethell said: “She has brought an atmosphere of calm to our home since she came to live with me over the past four years. In spite of her advanced age we have hearty discussions, with me being the mediator.”
Mackie has a 98-year-old brother who lives in Venezuela but he could not attend his sister’s celebrations because he is taking care of his ailing wife.
Born at 109 Barrack Street, Georgetown, Guyana, Mackie was taken to Trinidad at the age of six weeks. She and her family moved to Barbados in 1950.
She later married Alfred “Sandy” Mackie who died in 1978.
Mackie gave birth to five children, two of whom predeceased her.