Queen of Black Rock
Centenarian Wiltshire gets royal celebration
Llewellyn Wiltshire is quite a chatty old woman.
In fact, she made it clear to Barbados TODAY this morning that she loves to talk and everyone knew it.
And did she talk yesterday as Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave visited her Goddard Road, St Stephen Hill, Black Rock home for her 100th birthday!
“I got a lot of chat,” she said up front.
And based on the rate at which she continued it was clear she had not lost the power of speech.
“My son somewhere bout here tell me this morning, ‘before the reverend get here I tell you hush your mouth, sit down there and hush your mouth’. I say, ‘wait, well I in prison?’
“I like talking and I can talk.”
Even at age 100 Wiltshire’s voice is strong – a clear sign that it has had lots of practice – and she is witty. She talks about everything and loves to offer advice on everything.
“As old as I am, I can give anybody advice. I don’t ask for advice, I give advice on how yesterday was.”
Dressed in a green and white frock with pearl accessories and a tiara, the centenarian entertained the Governor General with an enlightening conversation that was full of laughter.
Despite the occasional pain in the foot, she is “okay” health wise, she said, and she was contented and satisfied to reach the ripe old age of 100. At the same time, she said she has already had a conversation with God about taking her home because she is ready to go peacefully whenever He is ready for her.
In her generous talking spirit, Wiltshire shared her entire life story with the media who listened attentively, never losing interest. She said for many years she was a proprietor of a shop at the bottom of Lakes Folly and that her husband was a police officer.
She recalled that at that time the Bridgetown harbour was being built and the workmen would visit her shop in their numbers, especially during their lunch hour.
She also talked about growing up in Oistins and enjoying the sea at every opportunity, especially during school holidays.
“We get frays and make fray cake and stew lil potatoes as girls. And I dive sea eggs. I pick my own sea eggs. I use to go and pick the sea eggs in the sea, come back out, break it and I got a bowl with lime water and it eat it raw.”
Wiltshire testified that to this day, she eats meat on Sundays only, and consumes fish every other day of the week.
Just when it appeared no one could stop her, Wiltshire was asked to share some advice with the youth on what they should do to get to her age. She became skeptical, reasoning that some young people did not like hard work. But she spoke anyway, and offered some guidance nonetheless.
“The young people don’t want to start no where; they want to go and find things done. But you can’t do it so. You got to start from the bottom and come up.
“And you got to grow up loving people and helping people. You can’t be selfish. You ain’t gine survive. And care your body,” she shared.
Member of Parliament for St Michael North West Chris Sinckler, who indicated that over the years he had become good friends with the centenarian, was also there to wish the “queen of Black Rock” many more birthdays.
He said during an engaging conversation with the elderly woman yesterday, she informed him that she intended to live for a few more years.
“She is quite strong and she is from Oistins. She went out on the boats and ate grub and dumplings in sea water,” said Sinckler, who too, was thrown into laughter by Wiltshire’s jokes.
To end the interview, those gathered in her living room erupted into laughter as Wiltshire spoke about Barbados Father of Independence Errol Barrow, whose birthday is being celebrated tomorrow with a public holiday.
“Tomorrow is Errol Barrow Day, yes I know. And today is mine,” she chuckled.
Her adopted son and owner of Carlton & AI Supermarket Andrew Bynoe said he joined Wiltshire in the countdown to this day four years ago, when she turned 96.