Gwendolyn Ione Forde is certainly not reserved, according to her daughter Joyce Piggott.
Nevertheless, today’s celebrations got the best of Barbados’ latest centenarian as the usually talkative Forde timidly welcomed Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave to her Bush Hall, St Michael residence.
However, once Sir Elliott had departed, Forde could be seen animatedly conversing with family – including her two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren – as well as friends and other well-wishers who dropped by for the momentous occasion.
Healthy in mind and body, Forde’s only ailment would be old age, revealed her surviving daughter Joyce, who was also the oldest of her five children.
She described her mother, who is a member of the All Souls Anglican Church, as both active and joyful, pointing out the it was only within the last ten years that Forde’s social life has slowed down quite a bit.
“She was living on her own, going to town every Saturday, go to church every Sunday. She would go on bus rides with her friends on bank holidays, go riding on the bus, all the cultural events [and] never missed an independence parade.
Joyce also said her mother was big on Crop Over and other cultural events. In fact, she said, no matter what cultural activity was on, her mother would get there.
A teacher at Christ Church Foundation School, Piggott further revealed that her mother had worked “long and hard” hours as a domestic for over 20 years.
However, she said the most difficult period in her mother’s life came when she lost her son Michael at the tender age of 22.
“He [had] left home with a motorcycle and we got a call that he had got into an accident and the neighbours didn’t want to tell her,” Piggott recalled, telling Barbados TODAY that that entire period was “rough”.
“I never thought that she could have survived that but she was resilient and she came back and then it was the two of us, and we worked together as a team,” Piggott added.