Garfene Grandison, Gleaner Writer
As Jamaica celebrates 50 years of Independence, Outlook came across a family that has seen Jamaica through the times.
Within the Scott family there are four generations of women, some of whom witnessed the birth of Jamaica as an independent nation, others its transition to a self-sustaining state. And the final generation will witness what the future holds for the country.
Meet the four generations of the Scott family that includes Millicent Scott (1931), her daughter Donna-Marie Scott (1959), her granddaughter Terri-Karelle Reid (1982), and her great-granddaughter Naima-Kourtnae Reid (2012).
According to Reid, it's surreal to think about but has been a blessing for her. "It's surreal having four generations in the family because it represents where I am coming from and the journey that we have taken as a family and as women, taking it together." She added, "It's particularly special to me because my grandma stopped working to take care of me because mommy was young and also working. She needed to earn but she wanted me to speak well, and be well-rounded so she sacrificed all that she had to make that possible by taking care of me," she ended, with her grandmother chiming in with a laugh, "not that I could afford taking care of you".
The family's light-hearted approach to life is evident in their jovial jabs at each other throughout the interview. Listening to their story, it's evident that they have accomplished more than they could have imagined, coming from single-parent households. Reid has broken the family's single-parent curse having been married for almost four years. But she has still managed to take lessons from her mother and grandmother having witnessed their growth and views them as strong black women. The lessons learnt and the traits instilled in her are what she is most proud of and will pass on to her daughter, Naima-Kourtnae.
"Dedication, commitment, respect and spirituality are the attributes that I walk with every day and ones that I will certainly pass on to Naima-Kourtnae."
According to Donna-Marie, "It always amazes me that my mother was able to raise us (along with her twin brothers) as wholesome individuals and that is something that I am now witnessing being passed along to Naima-Kourtnae via Terri-Karelle."
Reid notes that growing up and seeing what her mother and grandmother have accomplished, education was something that was very important to the family. "It was always drilled into me, education, education. I used to even get dictation and compositions after schools. It was ingrained in me from birth and so it was second nature to me."
For an 80-year-old, Millicent has a great sense of humour as she dished about living to see the birth of her great-granddaughter, while her daughter and granddaughter laughed and jeered at her miscalculation of when it was her time to be six feet under. "Every year grandma says she can finally close her eyes, but she's going to outlive everybody in this family," Reid jokes.
Millicent takes the jab with a smile, merely brushing it off and notes that she is now batting for 100 because she promised her great-granddaughter that they will do three things together. Go to church, the movies and participate in a nature walk (which she says might prove to be a problem since walking for her has now become a hard task).
Just shy of Jamaica 50, Millicent tells Sunday Outlook that the Jamaican society has in fact changed from when she arrived here in 1949 from Panama.
"Coming here in 1949, Jamaica was mostly bush. There was no real structure. Portmore was all swamp where we used to catch crab," she explains. She also gave a detailed account of the country's socio-economic structure, educational and transport facilities while playing with her great-granddaughter's hand. She notes that they all seemed so 'backwards', especially coming from Panama which was more advanced.
Donna-Marie notes that over the years, she is most proud of Jamaica for the fact that inner-city children are able to transition into the more traditional high schools because of good grades and not "curry favour". And that young black women are coming out and representing more. "They are going out of the box despite mommys days when they were just helpers and administrative assistants. Women are now becoming architects, CEOs and managers."
As a unit, these four women function with such love and oneness embodying what a family is supposed to be, considering the generation divide. The Scott family enjoys laughing and just having fun. "On any random day, you can catch us having our ladies fish flex at either Rodney's Arm or Prendy's on the Beach," said Reid with a laugh.