The island’s latest centenarian Albertha Wells is calling for a more peaceful Barbados.
The vibrant Gills Gap, Eagle Hall, St Michael resident, who celebrated the milestone today with her nieces, nephews, friends, Urban Development Commission (UDC) officials and other well-wishers, said her desire for the island was that there be “no vexation or quarrelling”.
Wells –– or Aunt Berths, as she is affectionately called –– said she wanted to see “a happy, good, lovely, and reliable Barbados”.
“I want everything good. All the good that fall should fall to Barbados, [and] as long as you live [you] return [good] to each other; and that will always be in your life,” she said.
The former dressmaker recalled she had “a very good-looking” husband, who was a bus driver.
And although she could not remember at what age she had started her sewing career, she let it be known she had sharpened her skills in Tudor Street, The City –– and that she was “a very good dressmaker” too.
Noting that she was feeling “all right” on her birthday, Aunt Berths said “only the eyes [were] out of order”.
“I can’t see good, and it got me upset. I don’t know how [the eyes] get [this way], but they just get away from me,” she said.
UDC housing coordinator Colvin Mascoll said Wells did not get a visit from the Governor General because notice was not sent him within the time frame it should have been. However, Mascoll added, today’s occasion would be one Aunt Berths and the UDC staff would always remember and be proud of.
The Urban Development Commission usually helps its members who are in need to spruce up their surroundings when they reach the milestone.
“We want the conditions to be such that they are proud. She [Wells] has been a client for some time . . . . We recognize that she was going to turn 100 today; so in anticipation we decided that we would come in and do some work on the house,” Mascoll said.
The UDC carried out general maintenance, painted and fixed a few sections of the house which Wells wanted done. She was also presented with a bouquet and a basket from the UDC and its staff.
During the celebrations, Wells joined the family and loved ones in eating sandwiches and cake, following tributes and a toast.
Nephew Vernon Smith said that although he had left Barbados since the age of 14 to reside in New York, he would always visit his Aunt Berths whenever he came back to Barbados. He described her as “a sweet and fiercely private woman”.
“That is the woman I have always known. As a boy growing up, I remember she was extremely generous . . . and I always came by. Every time I came by she would give me a quarter,” he recalled.
“As I kept coming, our relationship grew. We always took care of her from overseas. But when my mother passed,
the full responsibility came to me. I make sure that she has what she needs.
“I love her, and I am glad for the opportunity that she gave me as a little boy,” Smith said.
He also lauded the UDC for providing assistance to his aunt.
Niece Patricia Beckles, 66, described Aunt Beths as one who ate heartily, and attended church –– at the Prayer Palace Ministries in Reed Street, The City.
“She still gets out. She walks up the stairs when she goes [to] church . . . . She loves to drink and eat . . . . She eats well you know –– anything you give her. She said, ‘Whatever you give me I will eat’,” Beckles announced.