Brac resident Myrtle Dean Brown never thought she would live to see 100 years as she celebrated her 100th birthday with family and friends recently at the Aston Rutty Civic Centre in Cayman Brac.
Fondly known as “Aunt Dean,” she lived a simple life, taking care of the family and helping her husband provide for the home, like most Cayman women of her time.
“What I like most about living on Cayman Brac is the people and the way they live good with each other,” she said. Recalling her days growing up on Watering Place, Brown says there was no running water, electricity or motorcars.
“We did not even have a fridge until my children were full grown,” she says. “Fish my husband Lewin brought home was salted and hung on the line to dry to keep it from spoiling. The rest I shared with others.”
She adds: “During the 1932 storm, the sea rose up and came all the way up to Watering Place Bluff. A lot of folks sought shelter in my parents’ house, but the storm was so terrible that we had to leave to seek shelter in caves on the bluff. My eldest child Chestley was just 4 months old and I was so afraid that he was going to drown.”
Respect goes a long way with the centenarian. Her lessons for life are to obey parents, serve the good Lord, never make enemies and always do your best.
“Do good, keep a good name and don’t bring shame on your family,” she advises.
Brown notes that in her day people cared more for each other and families made more time for each other. She says that people also attended church more often.
“Praise the Lord I have lived a good life,” Brown says. “The Lord blessed me with a good mother and father, Eli and Mary Jane Scott, a loving husband and six fine children. I never thought that I would live to see 100 years. In fact, I don’t feel old at all,” she said.
Brown says her most memorable time was when her parents agreed to her marrying her husband. “I was the happiest woman in the world on my wedding day. There were struggles along the way, but God knew what he was doing because when my husband died at age 71, my son was good company for me. He died recently at age 81 and I really miss him,” she says.
A homemaker all of her life, Brown baked heavy cakes, yam and cassava, sewed and made Easter buns for special occasions.
Brown says she has no regrets in life. “I was satisfied with what God gave me, but if I had a wish, I would ask for my husband to still be alive today. He would be 101. I also wish my youngest daughter did not die so early, but God knows best. If I had a chance to change anything in life, it would be no sin and no death.”
Her mother, a Montego Bay, Jamaica, national influenced her the most. “She was a strict mother and kept us in line. She had a sound business head and taught us to love the Lord. When I had children, I practised the same principles.”