Agnes Beatrice Kingston-Benjamin of Silvercity, Wismar, Linden, celebrated her 99th birthday on Monday, and for the grand occasion “Miss Aggie”, as she is popularly known, was surrounded by close relatives and her church family at her residence.
Born in the year 1912, she married Joseph Septi Benjamin, in 1937, and two years later left her Tuschen, West Coast Demerara home to reside in Linden with her husband.
She would later establish her own creole restaurant, “Aggie’s Cozy Corner”, in the bottom flat of her two-storeyed house.
Miss Aggie proudly asserted, “I never sold stale food, my food could never be stale, as we never had leftovers. And I always prided myself in only preparing the best for my customers. If I didn’t like something, I wouldn’t give my customers. Nothing but the best is good enough for me, and likewise, I give only my best to others.”
She fondly reminisced on an occasion when her husband brought a captain off a ship to have lunch at the diner. After he had eaten, the captain queried who had prepared the meal, “Why my wife of course,” her husband answered proudly. “Well then I’ll take her back to the ship to teach the boys there to cook, and you’ll find another wife!” he joked.
Described as a strict disciplinarian and thorough person by both friends and relatives, Aggie still cleans and seasons fish, as well as chicken.
An old friend quipped, “You can’t clean fish like Miss Aggie, she is very meticulous with that”.
Aggie baked her own cake for her birthday last year. She didn’t this year however.
Miss Aggie has no biological children, but has two foster children, Sandra Thomas, a retired Headmistress, and Father Compton Meerabux of the Catholic Church.
She herself is a staunch Catholic, but is unable to go out to church these days, as she is wheelchair-bound. Her incapacity however does not stop her from doing her own cooking, and sweeping out her bedroom.
She hates untidiness and simply can’t sleep if there is dust under her bed, she declares vehemently.
A great woman and ‘mother’ to many, Miss Aggie declared to this newspaper, “My house always has bread! During the times when flour was banned, I fed many children.
I brought them here and gave them breakfast, because some of them used to go to school with a sugar cake and two pieces of fried plantains. That was not good enough. If I had to, I would do it again!”
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