There is nothing Rosalie Bailey likes more than sitting down at home with a good crossword puzzle and her Bible.
And if the 101-year-old did not suffer from arthritis she would give most teenagers a run for their money with her active and witty personality.
A bubbly Rosalie was in high spirits today as she sat with her granddaughter Pauline Bailey, in her Roxy Avenue, Waterhall Land, Eagle Hall, St Michael home waiting for her large family to gather to celebrate her 101st birthday.
Although she rejected to hold a grand party, Rosalie was all smiles as she observed the preparations.
Affectionately referred to Gwen, Mama and Grandmadre, Rosalie stressed that she would have preferred to spend the day finishing her crossword puzzles and resting, but said her family was determined to have her celebrate her latest milestone in style.
It was just seven years ago that Rosalie underwent surgery for vulvar cancer at the age of 94. Though the surgery was successful, it severely impacted her day-to-day movements.
The former domestic worker and tomato picker could no longer work as a vendor in Eagle Hall Market, nor could she go to the National Stadium during Grand Kadooment to see the bands.
“After I had the operation, I never come out to go nowhere. If I come out and step in the yard, they [members of her family] are going to quarrel [and] say, ‘what you going in the yard for,’” she explained.
Though retired from vending, the former Malls Alley Bottle Company employee created her own startup venture on her 100th birthday.
You can now add the title of shopkeeper to Rosalie’s resume. Although she modestly declined the title, Rosalie started selling drinks from her home as a way to “keep her mind active”.
The mother of seven children, two of who are now deceased, also has 22 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren, and two great great grandchildren, and has lived a full life.
The parishioner of Emmanuel Baptist Church told Barbados TODAY that while she did not know the secret to her longevity, she was content and satisfied with her life.
“The generation of today is very wicked and evil, so I chose to live to myself,” Rosalie said, adding, “I had a rough life. Rough in the early days. I do nuff hard work, I ain’t had no easy work to do.”
While affectionately referring to her grandmother as ‘Lady Rose’, Pauline described her as a disciplinarian, who was caring, not only to her family, but also her neighbours.
“She was always looking out for people and even now in her old age you would hear people saying she is a very sharing type of person. She always had something to give,
. . . she always reached out to a lot of people in the neighbourhood and helped however she could.
“I especially liked when I was a little girl and when she came through the door from work I knew that I was going to get some macaroni pie and an Orchard [juice],” Pauline added with a smile.