Jul 09, 2009 News
— plans to go on for another 100 years
Her hair was styled to perfection and her nails sported the cutest baby pink nail polish, all features that accentuated the fact that Mabel Connell, a resident patient at the St Joseph’s Mercy Hospital, was celebrating a special day.
And the special day, yesterday, marked her 104th birthday which she spent quietly even as she reminisced on her life in the past. Aunty Mabel was born in Georgetown on July 8, 1905.
During an interview with this newspaper yesterday the still vigorous woman, a mother of one biological son, Michael Connell who lives in the United States, and an adopted daughter, said that the first thing she did when she woke up yesterday morning was to recite the Lord’s Prayer.
According to the woman she then had a bath, ate her breakfast after which nurses at the institution started to prepare her for the exciting day ahead.
Aunty Mabel said that one of the nurses asked her if she was going to be able to stick her birthday cake. But according to Aunty Mabel, “I told her I don’t have any cake.” She was however, surprised to discover that she not only got one birthday cake but two compliments of the nurses at the hospital and her adopted daughter Delight.
Delight could not spend the day with her mother but instead sent a friend to convey her sentiments. When Kaieteur arrived at the hospital to visit with Aunty Mabel she was already feasting on a delectable lunch prepared by the hospital just for her birthday.
The woman, who still appears to have all of her faculties intact, said that she plans on living for another hundred years.
Amidst a healthy bout of laughter, Aunty Mabel said, “I will become 105 and then I will go on and on and on.”
Reflecting on her earlier years, the aged woman said that she was raised by her mother, Viola Alberta Coltress, whom she described as a “splendid woman.”
As a young child, Aunty Mabel attended the Freeburg School. And she professed to have had immense talent in the art of embroidery work back in the day. She recounted that it was during the Second World War when she was in Form Three that she was given the task of making a hat for a school project.
“I did make a hat with what they call lavender grass. And during the war when no hats were in the country, although I went to school, I made hats to sell.”
According to the well-spoken woman her mother could have depended on her for at least six hats every weekend. Her father was in Africa serving with the armed forces at the time. The centenarian said that whether her father sent money or not, the hats provided her mother with a steady income.
She claims she was also good at cooking and washing, which she learnt at a very young age.
Aunty Mabel later went on to become a teacher at the same school she attended. She also did commercial work, and was able to secure a part-time job as Joseph Pollydore’s secretary until he died.
She eventually got married, a union that produced one son Michael Connell, who resides in the United States, according to Aunty Mabel. She revealed that had her husband been alive today he would have been 103.
According to the woman, her zest for life is driven by her desire to just live. “As the years went by I lived. I lived and just lived and I never thought of a day that I was getting older and older…”
Aunty Mabel said that she always thought about the future, a practice she intends to continue even as she professed to still have the energy to do many of the things she was able to do in the past. “I feel that I can get up from here and teach…I can’t sit idle, where I am now I feel I am idle…” Aunty Mabel asserted in a no-nonsense tone.
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