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Onetha Thomas in rare celebration

Onetha Thomas in rare celebration


At the age of 100 years, Onetha Thomas still does not know what it is to be weary. “I hear people say they weary. I never weary,” Thomas said, added that she always had something to do.{{more}}

“Neat”, as she is affectionately known, has had so many occupations that she doesn’t even remember some of them.

Thomas, a resident of Rillan Hill, said that when she was much younger, she had to wake up at ‘foreday morning’ and walk to Arnos Vale to plant tomatoes on Mr. Casson’s estate.

Thomas said she cleaned roads, burnt coal pits, made farine and cassava bread to make ends meet for her family. The well-groomed and jovial centenarian believes it was all of the hard work she did that has kept her living so long. Thomas said that she is “glad” to have lived to see this age. “My tongue is not worthy enough to give God thanks,” she said.

The sprightly centenarian has no medical problems and only complains of arthritis in her knees.

The mother of four also thanks God for her children. She said that they “prevent me from begging a bread”. Her second son, lawyer Randolph Howard, had to comfort her as she started to get teary eyed when she reflected on the goodness of her children.

The mother of four is described by her children and grandchildren as a strong disciplarian. Thomas said she made sure her children went to school because she wanted them to “reach higher than me’. With a smile on her face ‘Neat” said she cannot remember how far she reached in school but “I could read and write me name”.

Not very sure what her favorite dish is, Thomas said that she loves to eat fish and mutton. She also loves participating in political discussions, and was very happy when Othneil Sylvester, a former South Leeward representative, called to wish her a happy birthday.

The devout Catholic said that the children of today are very mischievous and that their parents don’t teach them manners. When asked if she enjoys the technology of today she said: “I not accustom to them in my days, so it come nothing to me”.

Denise Lockhart, her granddaughter, said that Education was always important to her grandmother. She said that they had to wake up at 4 am to get ready for school. Her grandmother never wanted them to be late for school, said Lockhart. She said her grandmother was also their playmate when they were children. “She made tops and kites for us”, she said.

Thomas is the mother of four children, one of whom is deceased. On her birthday, she was surrounded by her relatives, some of whom traveled from North America to spend the special day with her. She was also visited by Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne and area representative Dr. Douglas Slater. (VM)