“One hundred years is not a hundred days! But by the grace of God I made it.”
Those were just some of the words of content from the island’s newest and arguably happiest centenarian, Violet Ernesta Gaskin, as she celebrated her milestone today surrounded by family and friends at her Ricks Land, Thorpes, St James home.
Gaskin was especially excited to see Acting Governor General Sir Philip Greaves. On his arrival, Gaskin immediately recognized him and quipped: “Wait, you’re the Governor General? I’m so glad to see you.”
She engaged him in a lengthy conversation during which she thanked him for the birthday wishes, flowers, cards and wine he brought her.
“Thank you all for coming to celebrate my birthday and to the gentleman for coming to visit me. I’m glad to see you, I never thought I would have seen you, but I’m glad I did,” the soft spoken but confident birthday girl told Sir Philip and all those gathered.
Parliamentary representative for the area Donville Inniss was also in attendance. He presented Gaskin with a gift and thanked her for her great service to the community.
“I was told you were a very strict mother. Strict mothers sometimes spoil the grandchildren. You’ve done a fantastic job from what I’ve seen in raising the children, and instilling discipline. In fact, our society today could do with a lot more grandmothers like yourself. But I certainly thank God for you. You’ve been a mother to others in the community not just those you brought forth,” Inniss said.
Gaskin’s granddaughter Dawn-Marie Williams, who represented the family, spoke glowingly of her ‘Gran-Gran”.
“She is a remarkable God-fearing woman. She was self-employed for most of her working years and always stated that it was hard work during those years that prepared her to face life’s circumstances without complaining.
“We thank God for the legacy of this selfless woman who we are very proud to call our very own. Thank you, God, for granting her a long full life,” Williams said.
Granddaughter Maureen Norville said even though she no longer lived in the island, she still enjoyed her weekly chats with Gaskin.
“I’ve known her most of my life. She has taken care of me and she always told me about God. When I was down she was always there. I live in Connecticut but we talk every weekend. She is strong in her voice. We talk about everything and at the end of every conversation she would pray God’s blessings on me. And that’s how I will always remember my grandmother. I’m so thankful that she reached this age.”
During Norville’s tribute to the centenarian, she became emotional and choked up when speaking about her father who is now deceased. However, the centenarian sought to comfort her and reassuringly said, “The others are here for you.”
Gaskin is the mother of five, two of whom are deceased, 16 grandchildren and many great-grands and great-great-grands.