Linden woman feted for 100th birthday
Agnes Beatrice Benjamin, well known as Miss Aggie, was the guest of honour at a special function at the L&L Lounge on Greenheart Street in the mining town of Linden yesterday, to mark her hundredth birth anniversary.
Although Miss Aggie won’t actually achieve this milestone until May 30th, her loving relatives and friends thought it fit to host a grand celebration for her yesterday to afford as many of her relatives and close friends the opportunity to celebrate with her.
Among the distinguished guests who graced the occasion and wished the centenarian many happy returns and continued good health were Regional Chairman Sharma Solomon and Interim Management Committee Chairman, Orrin Gordon.
Opening prayers were said by Father Compton Merabeaux , who Miss Aggie has always referred to as her son. He described Mrs. Benjamin as “a woman of very high standards and quality”. Her niece, Patricia Whyte, who along with other relatives flew into the country from overseas for the occasion, paid special tribute to her.
“My aunt is a remarkable person. Her memory is still as sharp as a tack. At this age she can recite phone numbers and remember names of family members from her childhood. If we need to know our family tree from the nineteen hundreds, all we need to do is spend a day with her. As a child I remember my aunt as a disciplinarian- for her it wasn’t three strikes and you’re out like my mother used to say, or I’ll let the bucket full then kick it down. No, it was immediate, you slipped and you had it. Her left hand never failed to make contact whenever she aimed. She firmly believed in never withholding discipline.”
Patricia reminisced on the days when her aunt managed her business ‘Aggies Cozy Diner” below her residence at Silver City, Wismar. She even continued managing the business long after the passing of her husband in 1979.
She described her aunt as a very hospitable and kind person, who extended her benevolence to persons in need, both relatives and friends. Miss Aggie would probably still be running the business if it weren’t for her failing health, Patricia said.
The woman also extended best wishes on behalf of other relatives, who were unable to make it for the grand occasion and read several birthday messages on their behalf.
Miss Aggie was also serenaded by veteran singer Dennis Parkinson and Mr. and Mrs. Carlton Jordan.
She was crowned by her sister Lucy Anderson, who also assisted her in cutting her birthday cake.
Miss Aggie beamed throughout the proceedings and thanked all those who graced the occasion. She expressed surprise at the sumptuous affair that was planned for her, saying that it took her completely by surprise.
She credited her longevity to a very disciplined and religious life, and to her love for well kept and tidy surroundings. Miss Aggie confided that she abhors filthy and untidy places.
“When I was younger, I was always tending my garden, and keeping my yard nice and smelling sweet. People used to say they could smell my flowers since they turned into the street,” the centenarian reminisced proudly.
Asked about how she felt to be 100-years old, Miss Aggie said without missing a beat, “I’m very happy and I feel really blessed to be treated like this. I feel special.”
And special and blessed she is! (Enid Joaquin)