Curse of Cancer!

Janet funeral Texchus

IMG_6636 (1)via In Reflective Mood 7/2/2018!

In Reflective Mood 7/2/2018!

Miss Connie

  • Mervelee Myers Tribute to my Mama’s Soul Mate & Best Friend – Met as Young Ladies & Separated by Death

From as far back as I can remember Ms Connie was always part of my Mama’s life and the friendship was passed down the generations to their 2 girls Mervelee Tomlinson aka Ratty Nembhard & Mertie Bernard aka Joyo Legister. However it took me almost a life time to realise the significant roles that Ms Connie played in Mama’s and her children’s life over the years? Therefore by deciding on embarking on the documenting of my family history has certainly paid dividends in unearthing the links between both noble women of considerably worth whose greatness would have been lost to the younger generations of our family. The links between both women who met early in their lives were like unchained melodies that only got broken with the death of my Mother. Now that Mama has been called away to higher services at the ripe old age of 90+ years, after having one hell of a historic existence on this earth.

I have been using some of the information provided by Ms Connie about Mama and their lifelong relationship to celebrate their friendships and the legacy they provided to make us who we are. But more importantly I have been blessed to be associated by 2 such selflesswomen who have done so much to enrich my existence. As Ms Connie said to me when I went to sit and chat with her before the funeral, “if Ms Lou made up her jewels, I am expecting to meet up with her one day in a better place that is heaven.” I am of the belief they will continue to celebrate that precious lifelong relationship that was briefly interrupted with Mama’s death as she goes on ahead of Ms Connie to rest from her life of toils! I believe without a shadow of a doubt that I owe it to Mama’s memory and the long and lasting life time of friendship shared by the 2 most important females in my life to highlight the relationship of these 2 powerful women for their families and the world to take note!

The friendships that the 2 shared are the sort of norms, values and beliefs that should be revered and celebrated amongst their family! We are now living in modern society where most of what the older generations hold dear like the friendships between my Mama and Ms Connie are frowned on as old fashioned ideas. With the slow demise of Mama and Ms Connie’s generations who are either losing their mental health to Dementia, Alzheimer’s and other Psychological conditions as well as when the Big Master who is our Creator decides to call us home to rest from our toils. I am realising how much we are missing out on knowing about our history and all of the important information that defines our identity and make us who we are in life. Knowing about our ancestors might be the key to enabling us to understand who we are as a person and helping us to blow away some of the cobwebs from our minds? For too long some of us have had this notion of believing that we are better than others, but when sickness beckons we are needy like the new-born baby/child that some of us will revert back to if we are blessed to live as long as my Mama and Ms Connie!

Alas I have to make it clear that the friendship started by our Mothers have surpassed the generations and continued down the line in 1 form or another! And one cannot get any closer than the friendship shared between the 2 daughters of Ms Connie and Ms Lou – Mertie Legister-Bernard and Mervelee Tomlinson aka Ratty Nembhard! Because although we are separated by living across Continents, that do not prevent us from keeping the friendship alive and well. Mama and Ms Connie lived their lives even closer than if they were blood sisters and no amount of money can be found to pay for a friendship as strong as theirs? Although Mama had other special friends with whom she shared some lovely moments, none of those relationships could measure up or come close to the one she shared with Ms Connie.

Ms Connie who celebrated her 91st birthday and is close to another milestone in another couple of months 06th February, started sharing Hers and Mama’s life story one year when I got home and started questioning some of the myths that they had about Mama’s history. By this time I had seen a Plaque presented to Mama for 30+ years of service awards that was handed out by the local Church which Mama had attended all her life as far as I could recall. If I was to go by the date on the plaque, that would mean Mama only started at the church after my youngest child was born. Yet there were other documentary evidence that Mama was contributing to a Funeral Fund before my son’s birth. Since it seemed that it was always my lot in life to be clearing out the homes of my elderly relatives – I had done the same for my grandmother. That was the time I stumbled upon some documentations detailing the history of some of my family including my Mama’s other daughter YVONNE and my SAUNDERS family.

In this instance when I was clearing out Mama’s room, I came across lots of paperwork detailing information about the family, which I did not even knew existed. One of those documents was the baptismal records for my Mama, which threw up some assumptions about my Mama’s church history. When I spoke to Ms Connie about the incident, she told me how she had been telling my Mama to take back the Plaque for them to correct it at the Church. That was when she started telling me in details about the friendship between her and Mama and I started taking note, because there was so much that I had taken for granted before. By this time I had diagnosed Mama’s early onset Dementia based on the stories I was hearing about some of her erratic behaviours. Saying that, Mama was not much of a Story Teller like my Papa, brother ASHTER and Ms Connie anyway. Where I had missed any of the story about the early beginnings, my brother Balis was on hand to get the full details from Ms Connie.

Luckily for me Balis has a good memory too and recalled lots of stories from our family history and passed them on to me. Because he is the eldest of my siblings I rely on him to fill in some of the patches that I missed and are unaccounted for. I am praying that God will continue to bless Ms Connie until her dying day because without her I would not have been privy to some of Mama’s life story and her struggles throughout her life. Ms Connie started sharing their life story and past history with me during her twilight years, when Mama was already suffering from Dementia and Ms Connie is blessed because she still have all her mental faculties intact, even though aspects of her physical health and wellbeing are in decline! If anyone is interested in the full story about my Mama’s and Ms Connie’s friendship that lasted a life time and only got broken with the death of my Mama, they can refer to the Eulogy written by yours truly Mervelee Nembhard-Tomlinson and read by my Son Valdin Allan Legister who is the Grandson of both women.

Hence some great fortunes have rubbed off on my son from both of his GRANDMOTHERS – Ms Connie & Ms Lou! He was the one standing in my place when I was too far away to be by Mama’s side during her slow decline into Dementia until she failed to recognise her only daughter. My biggest consolation is that she did recognised my son Valdin Legister almost to the very end? I recalled the last time I saw my Mama and although she had no memory of her only daughter who spent a month with her. On the day I was leaving and my son went to say goodbye, she told him “I DID NOT COME TO SAY GOODBYE.” She stood at the window like she started doing looking out through the curtains. When I returned to say goodbye as a fleeting memory had returned telling her I was leaving, the lasting memory I have of her is this big smile on her face. I took my camera and captured the moment and that was the last time I saw her alive. However she was not aware of the fact that I had gotten married again. My consolation is she met my hubby via Skype!

I became aware of Ms Connie’s presence in my life after the family moved to live in GaGa Street where my parents moved to from up near the Townhead Square about 1963 or 1964? My parents had finally saved up enough money to buy their own piece of land after no doubt “tightening their belts” and “sucking salt grains.” The Legister family lived in what I considered to be a nice house near the side of the road and had lots of land going up in Mass Leon Tomlinson’s Street. There was a little shop, but I think one of the main attractions of the Legister’s property was the watering well that was situated in the front of the yard! The well was unusual in that it was raised from the ground with a concrete foundation, securely covered with a sheet of zinc and there was a drawing pan attached to a long rope.

The well was only one of many that supplied water in the community during periods of drought. Although lots of yards had wells, the Legister’s well was the one that stood the test of time and lasted the longest. The Legister had running water, but resisted the need to fill in the well as long as they could. I guess they eventually moved with the changing times after I came away to the UK and dumped it up? I am sure Ms Connie have many tales to talk about some of the incidents that almost happened at her well? The other things that is noteworthy about the Legister household was the fact that they sold ice to the public at large. Since they were one of the first family to own a fridge freezer, and I mean it was massive. Ms Connie must have taken a bold step as being one of first pioneer, using her entrepreneurial skills as a small scale business woman commanding the market in goods that were not available to the public.

I recalled when the Legister family sold bagged ice, where everyone from near and far come to buy their ice for their needs. If the ice selling business was a little slow during the week, I know Ms Connie could put her pot on and planned on the takings from Sundays to feed her family if needs be. Because even if people could not find the money during the week, on Sundays everyone need a little ice to cool their drinks no matter what kind it was. The variety of drinks would range from plain carrot juice to carrot juice with beetroot, soursop juice, syrup, lemonade or even the lowly sugar and water or what we poorer class called beverage, as there was no lime or sour orange to blanche it with. People would come from all over the community to buy their bag of ice at the Legister’s home. I know for a fact that even when my family could not afford the price of the ice, we would still be getting our ice as a special treat, and sometimes you could trust and pay later. The names were written down in the shop book as back in the days poor people were allowed to trust from the shops to feed their family and pay by arrangements.

Ms Connie was a tall, slim, strikingly beautiful woman who was gifted in many departments and she was educated as well, unlike my Mama who could only spell, pronounced and sign her name. I am using the past tense to describe Ms Connie as she is no longer the tall woman of my youth and has suffered many of the afflictions of old age! She was a dab hand at almost anything that she put her mind to, achieving and doing the best with her creativity and God given talents. Her exploits are many and varied and she was a very proud woman who made the most of the creative skills that she was blessed with. She sold baked products that she prepared, in additions to other groceries in her little shop. When there were big sporting events at places like the Frome Sports Ground, Ms Connie would be on hand with her patty pan and other equipment preparing some of her products on the spot. Her finger licking products would sell off like lightening as she was well known and a popular figure in the community.

Ms Connie made her own home made patties, toetoes, cornmeal pones, cassava duffs, blue drawers, drops and grater cakes, you name it and Ms Connie would prepare it to sell to make a living. Suffice it to say that Ms Connie was a born hustler, using her creative skills that she was blessed with to become one of the best recognised person in the community which she has adapted as her own. Ms Connie was not born in the local area, but came from another district from the parish of Westmoreland. Ms Connie is one of those old fashioned women like many of her generation who believed that “one hand cannot clap” and “every little mickle makes a muckle” because I recalled her saying she liked to spend her own money and do not necessarily want to rely totally on anyone to meet her every needs even when she have a husband! Persons of Ms Connie’s abilities and ilks, like some of the good, great and famous inventors always have some weaknesses.

The fact that she was a great cook, who earned money from her creative skills meant that her expertise did not always extend to her homely duties as something usually get left by the wayside. Because she lived up to her responsibility by doing the unusual, cooking dinner from as early as possible in the day, ensuring that her husband’s was secured. After that it was everyone for themselves and my best friend Joyo would come off the worse for wear most days as by the time she got to the family pot the food was all gone, or there was not enough to feed her. On reflections I now believe that instead of being selfish as we had thought at the time. Ms Connie was doing this to benefit herself because she was a busy shopkeeper and was not necessarily thinking about how her actions were affecting others? After coming to live in the UK I learnt how to be thrifty by doing things to meet the ever increasing demanding needs of holding down a full time job and taking care of the responsibilities of the home as well.

This only goes to prove that Ms Connie was an early pioneer of her time, running a home and a business at the same time. This meant she had to devise ways to manage her time to maximise her earnings. So it was the house work that suffered as a result and I believe I am a bit like Ms Connie in that respects. I inherited the key principles of keeping my kitchen and bathroom (toilet at the time from my Papa). I always say I only does cleaning to a certain standards if I am getting paid and does house work when it needs doing? I once recalled someone describing another person as being House Proud and knew he was trying to be kind and not offend me. But me it takes a lot to cause me offence and Ms Connie is like that too. Knowing Ms Connie’s outlook on life it was no surprise to know that all of her children regardless of gender were taught housekeeping and other coping skills from an early age.

They learnt how to cook, wash, clean and iron as their Mum said even if they got lucky in life and could afford to hire/employ a helper, they should be able to know when the job they are paying for was not done properly. As in our generation, my friend Joyo was the one who had to be responsible and accountable for some of the decisions that Ms Connie made without consulting those who would be affected the most. When we were attending Primary School, there were 3 of us girls who were best friends – Ratty, Yvonne aka Cint Jarrett and Joyo who were bosom buddies. Every morning Cint and I would arrive at Joyo to wait on her to finish washing the baby nappy so we could go off to school. Like many of her generation, Ms Connie was more than willing to take on and help out with the grandchildren if she was needed. Tony arrived from Kingston and like I know very well from my own experiences with my grandmother, no one should stand in the way of a precious grandchild when the grandmother makes her mind up.

So the 1st of the grandchildren to arrive was Annette and I believed she lived between Ms Connie and her sister Ms Elsie Gillette’s home? Then Tony arrived as a tiny tot from Kingston and Joy had to take on the job of washing as Ms Connie was not much of a dab hand at those kinds of chores. After that it was the turn of Marie, my son’s bigger sister who stayed until she was a teenager. Then it was the turn of Shakier and his brother Craig and I believed at one stage Vernit had 2 boys, twins staying for a brief period? We learned to take on lots of caring and nurturing roles and responsibilities from an early age and were accountable for inspiring the ones who were younger than us. I recalled the first time I met my uncle TERAH CHAMBERS, my Mama’s only brother was in Ms Connie’s shop when I was attending Secondary School. I had only heard about my uncle who had moved away to St Catherine from stories about him. He did not live many years after that and died in 2008, sending Gran into steady decline.

Ms Connie was an expert at crocheting and knitting maybe even more so than her professionalism at cooking and baking? She also earned a livelihood from her creative skills selling crocheted hats, knitted doilies, star signs, chair covers, etc… Her daughter Indy inherited her Mum’s skills and followed in her footsteps with the knitting. Unfortunately for my best friend Joyo and I, we were not that way inclined, and although Joyo could do a bit of the knitting. I on the other hand was blessed with what my older folks called “10 big fingers” so never advanced any further than chaining. Ms Connie and her daughter, Hyacinth aka Indie Legister-Gordon’s knitting could be found in homes all over the place and many wore the hats and tams. Ms Connie was a no nonsense Mother of high moral integrity and standards, who did not think twice about sticking to her principles especially where her daughters were concerned.

She lived up to her moral obligations of setting the agenda for bringing up her children in the ways she believed to be right. If her daughters got dressed to leave the house, she would have to ensure that they were dressed appropriately. Her way of doing this was with a thorough examination of the clothes they were wearing to see if they matched her standards. If she could see through their dresses when they stand in front of her, then they would have to go back and put on another layer of clothing – a slip to cover their modesty. Maybe we need some of her standards of modesty checks before some of these new aged children, young persons and even some of the adults are allowed to leave their house to go out! Or maybe I will have to try and move/change with the times in accepting some of the things I am confronted with these days? You see I am an old fashioned girl at heart like Ms Connie, I know the way I am was embedded into me by my parents and in particularly my Papa who lived his life to the teachings of the Bible.

I refused to leave my home if I believe I am mutton dressed as lamb and I will not expose certain parts of my body no matter what! I recalled when I was told by a friend that I have to bleach myself to go back to Jamaica. That is why I found it really hilarious and have to laugh at the memory when Ms Connie was telling me the story of the girl who bleached her complexion and was asking if she don’t know her when they meet up in Savanna-La-Mar? Ms Connie would have to get into the act of telling that story, putting on all the airs and graces of the young lady in question for anyone to get the full gist of it…! When people like Ms Connie reach their twilight years nothing much bothers them and the furthest thing from their minds is thinking about offending anyone, so they just say things as they see them. That is the same way when I need an honest opinion, I ask the young children because they are never thinking of saving anyone’s blushes and always speak the truth. If they say a spade is a spade, then it is a spade and Ms Connie is like that as my Mama was!

Ms Connie and Mama were baptised on the same date 09th April 1951 and became members of the Townhead Baptist Church where they were committed worshippers forever. Ms Connie was an avid supporter of the Church taking an active part in extra church activities to spread the word of God to the world at large. They attended Baptist Circuit Rally around the island and as many funerals out of parish as long as the family were running trips. She attended the Jamaica Baptist Federation Conferences annually in Kingston and pulled Mama out with her even if she had to pay Mama’s fare sometimes. In Ms Connie’s words Mama was always watching if the money could stretch to go that far and a bit on the mean side…? But knowing Mama, she was a very frugal person who loved to have a few pence put aside for “Mr Rainy Day!” However I believe Ms Connie might have known my Mama even better than I did as they shared so much that even her children may never had an insight to discover.

I honestly believe that all the women folks from Mama’s family are cut from the same ilk and the traits are passed down the genes. I realised that as I am getting older I am morphing into my Mama, and my Mama was exactly like her Mother before her. So no doubt about it we eventually turn into our parents and grandparents eventually, even when we don’t like to admit it? Our Mothers had children round about the same time and were “wet nurses” for each other. Ms Connie was my brother BYRON Godmother and played her part as stated in the good book of life the Holy Bible, by which she lived her life. Unlike my Mama, Ms Connie did have the misfortune of having what people of her generations called “the patchwork children –patchwuck pickney.” However Ms Connie was never daunted by this fact or what my Mama considered misfortune. Ms Connie always said that if she found herself in a relationship that was not working, it is best to get out rather than stay in and suffer. She always looked on the bright side of life and said “every old hoe have it stick in the bush” or “a woman’s luck is buried at the rubbish heap” and all it needs is a fowl/chicken to come along and scratch it out.

She was always relating the story about someone or the other who got married despite having children out of wedlock, so one should never give up hope. If marriage is written under your number then without a doubt your number is bound to come up like the lottery I supposed, even if it’s when it’s too late to be of much help to you? If I win some money I know who I would be lavishing some on and it would have to be Ms Connie for the way she contributed to helping my family and I to unearth the story of the great relationship between my Mother and Ms Connie and be empowered to document my Family History! In my own experiences, in life I am more like Ms Connie than my Mama the way how my life pan out. Suffice it to say that I believe in some of her logics about the chances of one getting married if marriage is written under their numbers.

I was told in no uncertain terms that men do not usually marry women like Ms Connie and I who have children who don’t belong to them and I should get married before having any more children. Well I have proven that person wrong even when I did not set out for this to happen deliberately. I can rightly say that norms of the society in which we live do play important roles in our values and beliefs and I have no regrets about not getting married to either of my children’s father. They just were not husband materials for me anyway and it took me almost all my life to realise this fact. Ms Connie and Ms Lou shared lots in common in that they met as young ladies before my Mama had any of her children and went on to forge a friendship that was only broken on the death of Mama. They married men from St Elizabeth and were baptised at the same Church together. Their husbands did not share the same faith as them in that they worshipped at the Church of God and lived their lives to the teachings of the Bible and worked hard throughout their lives.

Ms Connie and Mama differ in that the colour of their politics were different as they supported opposing Political Parties. However that did not impact on their friendship in any way or form as Ms Connie was the intellect and Mama would turn out to be the one who became the tireless informal career spending most of her life looking after those in need of some tender loving care. My family – Mama and Papa were the silent type where politics are concerned and were more interested in sharing their views in the privacy of their home. My Papa famously said if there was a political meeting being held outside his gate he would not attend, and Mama would more than likely adhere to those rules to please her husband. Ms Connie on the other hand was a headstrong woman who would not be stopped from her pursuits once she set her mind to them. She was an activist for her party, hitting the campaign trails at election time and she never allowed her support to waver and let anything stand in her way of giving her all to her cause and her political beliefs. She worked on the frontline as scrutineer, poll clerk and canvasser from the time of census taking up until the day of election when she would be involved in getting the troops to cast their votes.

Mama’s Mother, my Granny cared for Ms Connie’s Mother when she was ill and came from (Barnette – Barney) Side to live with Ms Connie’s sister, Ms Elsie Gillette. Although Mama had her one sister and Ms Connie had her sisters – Ms Elsie and Ms Eulalee, there was a special bond between both ladies that is hard to describe. Therefore Ms Connie and Mama’s friendship exceeded the boundaries of being related by blood. The LEGISTER and NEMBHARD family as well as others from Ms Connie’s side lived like one big happy family and links established away from the parish. When my brother BYRON who is Ms Connie’s godson passed away, the family was united because Ms Connie’s nephew Trevor aka Cecil Hutchins and Byron’s wife teach at the same school. Although I was not present at Byron’s funeral, I spoke to Cecil on the telephone on the day who told me he sees someone looking like me. Cecil and Byron’s family travelled from Kingston to attend Mama’s funeral, so I was able to see him after so many years absence.

Because Ms Connie is responsible for telling me most of Mama’s life story, once I got the research bug and started digging in my family history, and then my brother Balis filled in some of the missing blanks. It was no surprise that even thou Ms Connie is a year older than Mama, and her physical health started deteriorating before Mama’s. Once Mama had the onset of Dementia which I diagnosed, her health went into steady decline. I recalled going home for a visit and Ms Connie related the story when they went to collect their pensions. Because of some of the changes that took place over the years where the Postal Agency was moved further down the road to the Lewis premises from where it was first situated at Ms Connie’s sister Ms Elsie Gillette’s premises. The post office was opened at the Gillette premises about 1969 when I was attending Townhead Primary School. I remembered the time well because we had to dress in our uniforms and march down for the official openings.

So there were some changes over the years resulting in the Postal Agency being moved out of the community and all posts were collected at Frome. I believed Ms Connie and Mama became adventurous and started going to Savanna-La-Mar to collect their pensions as anywhere Ms Connie went, Mama was sure to go or vice versa? This day in question Ms Connie said despite her warning Mama to keep a tight hold on her handbag, she wasn’t paying much attention. To Ms Connie’s dismay she said she noticed when this young man came edging up to Mama, trying to take the bag off her. Ms Connie said she started “screaming, hollering thief leave the woman alone…” and lashing out. The man said he was trying to fix her clothes and sauntered off without getting hold of Mama’s money. So Ms Connie was now Mama’s protector now that they were old, even though she was the older of the 2.

I remembered going home on holidays when Mama had slowed down a lot, but she was still determined to be up and about. One morning I had left the house and was returning when I met Mama ambling her way slowly as I turned to go into the Street. When I asked Mama where she was going, and if I never asked her to stay home? Mama looked me in the eyes and told me straight “Connie send come call me, so me a go see what Connie want…” Now even if I had a mind to ask Mama not to go, and to go back home to stay in door, who am I to try and stop her from going to see her friend Connie? I just asked the Lord in my heart “to keep my Mama safe as she goes about her business” because by this time my brother Balis was expressing concerns about her walking about on the Street. It was crop season and the cane carts laden with sugar cane were on the roads. God answered prayers and kept Mama from all harms and dangers until she passed away at home amongst her loved ones.

Even though Mama did let slip a few relevant details about her family, without Ms Connie’s input I would be in the dark. And I would not have the information that I have at my fingertips to piece Mama’s life together. With Ms Connie’s help I was presented with all the information I needed to piece together a Memory Book of the person who was my Mother and get a better understanding of what made her tick? This is my way of saluting the Courageous Omnipotent Notable Nimble Incredible Enigmatic Jovial Old-fashioned Radiant Discrete Irreplaceable Noble Endearing Loveable Eligible Generous Industrious Sincere Terrific Eager Respectful– Connie Jordine-Legister the lady who is Mrs Connie Jordine-Legister. We shared much in common that some would find hard to comprehend and I guess some of her grit might have rubbed off on me unwittingly? I know that going through some of the life changing experiences that I have gone through has given me the hindsight to become even more aware of where Ms Connie is at in her stage of life.

Therefore I realised that I have to be more tolerant of how persons of her generation, temperament and age begin to view and feel about certain issues in life. Whenever I go to Jamaica I take the opportunity to spend time with the elderly folks who have played important roles in my upbringing because I know I have so much to learn from them still that can make my life, now that I am aging run much smoother. That is why I spare the time to go sit with Ms Connie and listen to her talk about the things that are important to her. Sometimes I hear the same story over and over again and I commit some to memory, but I know that this is just a small way that I can contribute to Ms Connie’s health and wellbeing in her twilight years. Ms Connie is lucky that she has not being affected by the ravages of Dementia like my Mama and she still have some stories to pass on to the younger generations that they should try and soak up, if they are interested in knowing their history.

I wished I had my Mama to talk to especially the time I went to Jamaica for my son’s Valdin Legister’s wedding. By this time Mama never recognised me and I always go to look on her throughout the day and night when she was in her room. I recalled walking into her room and she said to me “Come Mek We Chat…” but that was all she was capable of saying before she went away from me again. That is why everyone who have an elderly family member or someone of importance who played a part in their life should spend the quality time giving something back before they missed the chance I believe? Getting the opportunity to spend these quality times with persons like Ms Connie left me prepared to handle the realities of life like I was never able to before. Therefore Ms Connie and other elders with whom I am associating myself are helping me to better understand the saying “once a man twice a child” because I am living the life daily. As one who was there with my Mama to help with the care of my Papa and Grandmother, during the time I was bringing up my children.

I gained a wealth of knowledge and experiences that no amount of going to college could have prepared me for. The opportunity I had gaining the practical skills that I was privileged to enhance via theoretical studies in my roles as an informal and formal carer have guided me to how to best cope in my personal and professional life. I work with the young children to earn a livelihood and I have to care for myself and elderly husband, both of us suffering from high risk conditions that can impact on how we managed our lives on a daily basis. So Ms Connie is blessed and have lots going for her in her twilight years. Knowing how popular Ms Connie is, I know she will have her family friends and acquaintances rallying around her. But at the end of the day when your health is slowly going in decline, one can only make the best of what is available to them and we all have to play our parts, like everyone done for my Mama. So although I will not be there in person, I am there in Spirit and wish that Ms Connie will continue to be blessed with relatively good health for the foreseeable future.

She sometimes confides in me about matters of the heart, in particular where a certain member of her clan is involved because of the kind of relationships we had over the ensuing years. I guess Ms Connie must have realised my frustrations over the years with that person and realised that I made the right decisions by cutting my loss, listened to my heart about what is best for me and breaking free from the ties called love that enslaved me. Even though I am not always in agreement with some of her decisions, she knows me well enough to understand that I am not biased and I don’t let my heart rule my head and better judgements. I will always respect her for her opinions and whatever decisions she choose to make about her loved ones. Both ladies became bosom buddies when they lived in Frome & ended up going out with 2 men from St Elizabeth! They met up again years later at Townhead where they continued the friendship, being there for each other through thick & thin, raising their expanding broods as one! Although 1 was more intellectually inclined than the other, they always looked out for what was best for one another.

This is my way of using what are one of my primary credentials in saluting the lady who is Mrs Connie Jordine-Legister, my Mama’s best friend for life. Ms Connie and I shared so much in common that it is hard to understand. I know that going through some life changing experiences in life has given me the hindsight to become aware of where Ms Connie is in her stage of life and be more tolerant of how she feels about certain matters that may impinge on my life. On behalf of my Mama I am using this medium to salute Ms Connie during her life time when she can appreciate and not necessarily agree with some or even all of what I have written about her? As Mama’s life-long friend who dedicated a lifetime of supporting and protecting her friend through some of the trials of life. I am only left to recommend that there are more selfless persons like Ms Connie to be role models for the young and those of us who have forgotten some of the norms and old fashioned values and beliefs that we were brought up by? Long may Ms Connie enjoy good health and continue to be a Beacon to one and all!

Ms Connie & my son Valdin Legister.

Mrs Connie Jordine-Legister.