Myrtle Rivers, born July 25 1926, affectionately known as Miss Veanie, recently celebrated her 90th birthday surrounded by family and friends.
A party in her honor was held at Scholars Park in West Bay on July 23.
She is the mother of 11 children, and has 26 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren.
Miss Veanie was just 5 years old when her mother passed away.
“But she was destined to give what she herself was lacking: the love and nurturing of a mother,” said family friend Eziethamae Bodden.
“Before she had any children of her own, the neighborhood children would frequent her yard,” said Ms. Bodden. “Those years, there wasn’t much to eat but she ensured they had something to nibble on.”
As her children came along and grew, other children would spend time at her home playing marbles and other games, added Ms. Bodden.
“And she didn’t mind that one bit. She was a special mother to the community’s children. At least she could keep an eye on them. She would rather have them all around her than around some corner getting into problems.”
Ms. Bodden said Miss Veanie continually gave and helped whoever she came in touch with throughout her life.
“Her house was steps away from the West Bay Town Hall School site of today’s Sir John A. Cumber Primary School, and if any child was without money for lunch, she made sure they did not go hungry,” said Ms. Bodden.
“If someone managed to get a cut, scraped knees or bucked their toe, she was always right there to clean and bandage the injury.”
Ms. Bodden has her own fond memories of Miss Veanie’s connection with the children of the community.
“I remember when I attended, and when my daughters attended the Sir John A. Cumber Primary School, Miss Veanie sold snacks,” said Ms. Bodden.
“It was always a treat to buy icicles after a hot day on the play field.”
Ms. Bodden said Miss Veanie indicates that her memory is fading, but those members of the community, now grown, are the same ones who remind her of what she did for them as children, and also how grateful they are to her.
Miss Veanie summed it up simply: “I just love everybody and I love to help people; it makes me happy.”
Ms. Bodden said Miss Veanie is recognized for her abundant love, kindness, advice and every kind act her hands could render.
“Filled with love from her heart, whatever she had she shared, leaving herself out most times,” said Ms. Bodden.
“This is what Miss Veanie is known for, and I am sure the half has not yet been told of all her goodwill towards all human kind,” she said.