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At 105, Daisy Morgan living life like it’s golden

Published:Thursday | December 31, 2020 | 12:12 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Centenarian Daisy Morgan spends some of her leisure time doing daily crossword puzzles in The Gleaner.
Looking back on her more than four decades in the classroom, centenarian Daisy Morgan said, “I know I did well.”
At 105 years old, retired educator Daisy Morgan of Knockpatrick, Manchester, is a bubbly figure although she despises the limelight.

Knockpatrick, Manchester:
Though unassuming, 105-year-old Daisy Morgan is undeniably witty, charismatic and will leave your cheeks hurting from laughter with her zesty personality.

An agile tomboy who enjoyed climbing trees in her youth, Morgan later spent her life moulding young minds and now enjoys life in her peaceful Knockpatrick home, which she calls ‘The Icebox’: due to the cold climate.

On an average day, Morgan can be found vibing with the ‘Too Live Crew’ with Dahlia Harris and Burger Man on Radio Jamaica, reading her devotionals, and catching up with current affairs in The Gleaner and completing the crossword puzzles as her caregiver and cousin, Doreen Anderson, prepares her meals.

Spending a significant portion of her life in the classroom, Morgan has touched lives too numerous to count and remains grateful for what she says God has allowed her to do.

Born and raised in Manchester, she attended the Bethabara All-Age School and Bethlehem Moravian College in St Elizabeth.

From there, she took up a teaching post in St James, which lasted for three years, before moving to Port Maria All-Age (later Port Maria Primary and Junior High and now Port Maria Primary), where she gave 40 years of service before returning to the parish of her birth.

The centenarian told The Gleaner that at first she thought that the nursing profession would be a perfect fit for her so she could always remain behind the scenes, but her father would not have it.

“My teacher at Bethabara told my daddy I would make a good teacher. So when I said I am going to be a nurse, my daddy said, ‘Says who?’ Teacher say you going to be a good teacher, so you going to college’,” she recalled.

While at Port Maria, Morgan had the privilege of shaping the minds of persons such as Senator Dr Floyd Morris and famous Jamaican cricketer Jimmy Adams.

“The blind senator was a good student. Bright boy,” she said. “I especially loved teaching the boys. We had so much fun … . I could teach from grades one up to nine, and I can remember when there was a class that wasn’t doing so well that the principal would move me up to that class … . Not praising myself, but I know I did well.”

Her small frame and meekness could be easily confused with delicateness, but Morgan never spared the rod and spoilt the child.

Having up to 60 students in her class each year, the strong disciplinarian said the students knew once they entered her class, they had to fall in line or face the punisher ‘Juicy’.

“I had a strap called Juicy and I put it down on my desk and I said to them that I only use Juicy if they didn’t behave … . The children didn’t give me trouble. When they get break, they know that as the bell rings, they are supposed to come back. If they are late, then Juicy would step out,” the retired educator said.

Does not like limelight

“Not a soul know me,” Morgan said when asked about the awards and accolades she racked up during her more than four decades in the classroom, stressing that she does not like the limelight.

“I was always behind the scenes,” she said, adding that even this interview putting the focus on her was not among her favourite things.

Around her living room were plaques and citations from the Ministry of Education, service clubs, schools and churches, paying homage to her service to the country in the field of education.

As the only one surviving of seven siblings, Morgan said she never thought she would live to see more than 100 years.

“[It feels] wonderful,” she admitted. “One thing is that I know my God. He is keeping me and caring for me … . I have a cane and I walk about in the house, but I don’t go outside because if I go out there and I fall maybe there [will] be no one around … . I am looked after and I am praising God.”

Although she visits the renal clinic at the hospital occasionally as hypertension has affected her kidneys, the down days pale in comparison to the blessings bestowed upon her.

She said that the fundamental Christian principles on which she grew up remain a crucial part of existence.

“I spent most of my days going to church and worshipping God, so I knew God from I was a child … . Thanks to the Lord, I went through life thanking Him, trusting Him, and He has been carrying me safely through ... and I thank God for sanity. I can argue with you and laugh with you. Praise the Lord.”

As one who has lived through many eras, Morgan admitted that adapting to technology remains the biggest struggle.

“I have a [smart] phone which I don’t understand and I have my little banger, and this is the one I use. Everyone is online and all I know is that I would have to be on clothes line. I don’t understand the online,” she said between hearty bouts of laughter.

Her wish as the new year approaches is that Jamaica will trust God and be rid of COVID-19 so life can return to some normality.