Remembering the selfless ‘Aunty Marge’
On November 19, 1922, Marjorie was born in St Lucia to Isabela and Vernon Theobalds. Her mother died when she was only nine years old and she was placed in de care of her dear Aunt, Aunty Annie. It is believed dat Marge inherited Aunty Annie’s selfless qualities, always sowing seeds of kindness .
Marge attended the St Joseph Convent Castries; and between de years 1940 and 1945, she was crowned Miss St Lucia, she never failed to remind us of her beauty as ah teenager, at 98 she is still beautiful, She migrated with her dad to SVG when he was appointed Comptroller of Customs, then she went to Trinidad to be trained in Surveying Drafting. She returned to SVG and was the first female Draughtsman to work at Lands & Surveys Dept, spending over 30 years, when she retired.
In between those years, she met and married Carl “Chubby “Jackson in June of 1956, he was a senior Public Servant and great “ballroom” dancer who must have swept her off her feet. She had no children of her own, but was adopted mother to just about any child that walked into her Frenches home. Aunty Marge was too kind sometimes.
Marjorie was a good SJCS Christian girl, Catholic Nun material, one who served others before self. She believed in a Just God, whose Justice cannot sleep forever. But when she was invited to full Service in de Convent, she took ah Sabbatical.
SCHOOL FOR CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
Aunty Marge served wid several Women’s Ministries and Boards, in and outside de Church: Cross Roaders, Ladies of Charity, Golden Years Cane Grove, Partners of America.
There are eleven (11) Certificates hanging on de walls of her New Montrose home, in recognition of her voluntary services in dis country; but none was as dear to her heart as one for having served from 1975 to 1996 on de School for Children wid Special Needs Committee. Back in 1975, she headed dis Committee wid ah group of female expatriates and prominent local ladies to save our Children wid Special Needs. Every Wednesday morning, Marjorie uses to run off her job at Surveys Department, to raise funds selling Coffee and Cake in Greg Ferrari’ store on Egmont Street. Business was bright; within ah year de school was started in de YWCA building where de CW Prescod School is now located. Today de School for Children wid Special Needs has its own school building and small recreation site.
And what is so Special about Children wid Special Needs. Dey are our kids wid Disability, Down Syndrome and other deficiencies. Dey are neglected at home, teased, sometimes mocked on de street, one mother told me she was ashamed to walk de streets wid her Down Syndrome lickle girl. “Thanks to Mrs Jackson, today I love my daughter,” she said. It was, or is as bad as dat. Today our children attend Special Olympics all over, one year we were world champions in Field Hockey.
All of dis started wid an initiative of Marjorie, her small committee of ladies, Teachers (Velma Jackson Ms Sutherland et al) at de school. Today we have learned to appreciate and love our Children wid Special Needs. Thanks Aunt Marge.
Politically, Marjorie was a PIP, an influential person who used her influence positively. Numerous stories are told of “Mrs Jackson helping people, including her domestic helpers, friends of her friends, and others to migrate to Canada or de USA.” Not everyone is proud of dey humble past, but Surveyor Mack Robertson, praises Marjorie foh getting his sister to Canada under de Domestic Workers Program. His sister helped her mother and siblings to migrate as well. Well Mack has several homes to go on free vacation. Marjorie is known to have adopted children of her helpers, and Marjorie was ah sticker foh ah thing she called “Brought-upsy!” manners and behaviour, etiquette around de dinner table . So when my five year ole daughter Cindy spent a weekend with Charmaine, Tanty Marge’s adopted daughter, she came home, demanding “knife and Polk” and had me sitting upright at de dining table, no elbows on table etc. Things I didn’t know about.
Fifteen years ago, when she commissioned me to do her Eulogy, she begged me please to be short and “ don’t tell any lies about me”! she said.
She is resting in peace.
Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.