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Pearline Reid bats on gracefully at age 103

Published:Tuesday | May 24, 2016 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas
Pearline Reid (right), 103 years old, with her son, Errol Reid, and one of her great-grandchildren.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Despite having a little hearing difficulty and requiring a cane to walk around, at age 103, Pearline Reid of Content district in St James, still has a sharp memory and is only too willing to share words of wisdom with all and sundry.

Born in Dumfries, St James, on December 8, 1912, the oldest of five children of parents Gersham and Clementine Spence, the sprightly Reid, who is affectionately referred to as "Sister Reid" in her community, says she is the product of a simple but very disciplined upbringing.

"Dumfries was like any other country place where little children grow up. In those days, you never had any mind to become doctors or anything like that. You would just grow up, go to school, and try to live a decent life," the centenarian told The Gleaner.

"My parents were very strict, so we did not have much pleasure with the other children," continued Reid. "When they had fairs, we would go to the fairs, but my parents kept us very strictly. They did not allow us to mix with the other children."

While Reid cannot recall the year she got married to her now-deceased husband of over 30 years, Lester Reid, she remembers that they were wedded at the Falmouth Parish Church, with the Reverend Purcell Hendricks as the officiating minister. The union subsequently produced five sons and three daughters.

In between taking care of her husband and children, Reid worked as a dressmaker and was a faithful member of the Anglican Church. In later years, she switched allegiance to the Seventh-Day Adventist faith.

Going to church

"I was at the Church of England (Anglican Church), and going to church, I became a member of the choir. It was after that that I went to learn sewing. So I was really at home most of the time because I had to do sewing, but I would go to choir practice every Thursday evening," said Reid.

"After I was an Anglican for so many years, we heard about the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the minister came there and had meetings, and afterwards, we decided that what we knew, it could be very much improved in this day and age, and so then I became an Adventist, and I was head deaconess," continued Reid.

One of her sons, Errol Reid, described his mother, who now has 14 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, as a loving individual who always cared for her family.

"She is very loving and kind and always telling us about Jesus and encouraging us to live the best way that we can," said the son about his mother. "She went through lots of struggle because my father left for a whole heap of years ... but she was the one who stayed with us, and through thick and thin, she was always there for us. She was always taking us to church and always encouraged us to go to school."

In noting that the current generation of young people required mentoring and guidance, Reid had encouraging words of advice, which, she hopes, will reach them.

"In this day and age, it is so hard because you try to talk to young people and they tell you yes, but as soon as they go out and mix with other people, they change. So you that are older have to try your best to see them and talk to them," said Reid. "One day, Jesus will come to claim His own, and we have to live for that day or we will be lost. It is two ways we have to go: we go to hell or go to heaven. We that are older have to try and see if we can talk to the younger people to let them understand."