Celebrating our remarkable centenarians
We have no hesitation in saying “Hats Off” to Claudette Fleming, executive director of Age Concern, Bermuda's premier advocacy organisation for the needs of older adults, and Bermuda CableVision's Rollin Nathan for conceiving and splendidly executing the idea of what may well be regarded as a Social and Cultural Hall of Fame recognising and celebrating Bermuda seniors who have reached the milestone of 100 years of age.
To celebrate these remarkable centenarians, they launched a new programme called “Legends of Longevity”.
This new initiative started with a “High Tea” Party at Elbow Beach last Sunday, featuring Andrew Chamberlain performing on the piano, as well as tea, cakes and sandwiches provided by Cafe Lido.
The three of Bermuda's centenarians honoured at the celebratory event were. Myrtle Elizabeth Edness, born July 17, 1914; Ruth Ann Marie Simons, born January 17, 1915 and Muriel Imogene Lawrence, born March 27, 1915.
Mrs Lawrence was employed for many years as a chambermaid at the Coral Beach and Tennis Club. Her six children are alive today. Their names are: Enid Whitter; Rudolph Lawrence, Marvin Lawrence, Freda Nusum, Judith Lawrence and Dawn Ingrid DeSilva. Together, they gave Mrs Lawrence 23 grandchildren. Mrs Lawrence is a member of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Hamilton Parish.
Mrs Edness was married to the late Arnold James Edness and they were for many years owners of the AJ Edness Grocery Store. She and her husband had two children Maureen Edness Eddy, and Alan Edness as well as three grandchildren. Myrtle Edness is a member of Christ Presbyterian Church in Warwick. Among her contributions to the community, Mrs Edness was a member of the Girl Guide organisation of Heron Bay, the Socratic Literary Club, of which she is a past Secretary and President and the Samaritan Lodge, where she served as Secretary. She has also been a volunteer at the Masterworks Museum.
Mrs Simons' marriage to her late husband Arthur, produced six children: three sons Arthur Jr, Gilmon and Coleman and three daughters, Pamela Tucker, Florence Simons and Brenda Warren. Today, Mrs Simons has 16 grandchildren.
In addition to her duties as mother and homemaker, she was formerly employed as a waitress at Horse ‘n Buggy Restaurant, Buckaroo and Sea Venture. Mrs Lawrence is a member of Praise Palace Church of God of Prophecy and the Shekinah Worship Centre.
During the period when yours truly was trying to get a toehold as a hotshot journalist for the Recorder, Bermuda's one and only Black-owned and operated newspaper of the time, the other hotshots were: Alma “Champ” Hunt, Sports Editor — the Island's most celebrated cricketer; Brownlowe “Brownie” Place, the photographer and son of AB Place, the editor and one of the founders of the Recorder and Alfred Augustus the son of another founding father of the Recorder. Alfred and yours truly were two of the fastest Pitman Shorthand Writers on the Island. We began writing short cuts then graduated to lightning cuts. One of printers at the Recorder was Mrs Edness and we used to call her by first name ‘Myrtle'. She was a friend of Archie Minors who had his own print shop in St George's. He and his wife Lily would host socials for the Socratic Literary Club.
Mrs Simons was a popular Somersetian's. Her husband was one of the famous Simons' brother's who where fist cousins of the Hunts. “Champ” Hunt along with his brothers and the Simons brothers comprised the bulk of Somerset Cricket Club's Cup Match teams for several years.
The three honorees on Sunday were joined by Mrs Doris Corbin aged 103. She was Organist and Choir Director at St Paul AME Church for decades. Mrs Corbin also directed the famous 100 strong Furman Fordham Chorus. Fordham was noted for perfecting a technique in singing that was revolutionary at the time.
An interesting occurrence at last Sunday's event was that of 52-year-old Keithlyn Fleming meeting his 96-year-old great Aunt, Hilary Richardson from Hamilton Parish in person for the very first time.