Long living runs in the Wilkinson family; and yesterday Doris Wilkinson became Barbados’ most recent centenarian –– and the first to still having a living husband.
Family and friends gathered at her Bush Hall, St Michael residence to celebrate the milestone, as she welcomed her special guest Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave who brought along with him letters from himself and Lady Belgrave, and the customary gift.
Outfitted in a beige hat and a sky-blue dress, Doris sang songs and toasted in the presence of her 91-year-old husband Gilbert Wilkinson, to whom she was married for 60 years, and her 90-year-old sister. The former hawker had nine children –– four still alive, 22 grandchildren and 60 great-grandchildren.
Susanne Wilkinson described her grandmother as being very strict, although she never received lashes from her.
“I think she just had to speak and then you knew what was the score.”
Susanne said family members from Canada and the United States had flown in to join in the birthday celebrations, which will continue until Saturday with an all-white party. The granddaughter declared that, for a centenarian, Doris did not suffer with ailments associated with old age –– not for someone who always “worked out and kept going” and had a very good appetite.
Doris’ younger sister Evelyn Griffith, who too is looking forward to reaching a century, said she felt proud and happy to witness her sister’s 100th birthday, adding that growing up around Doris she saw always a woman working hard for her children.
Lorraine Griffith, one of Doris’ four daughters, said that although she was “hard-ears as a child”, Doris was a very good mother to her.
“She put me out and I had my way around. I went and live with my aunt and uncle, and then I left and came home and had my children . . . . I came back to her as a grown-up.” Lorraine also said she felt good seeing her mother live to 100 –– with her eyes open and not closed, sleeping.