A Cayman senior who just turned 100 after a remarkably productive and adventurous life, says she still has plenty of work to do, and hopes to add more years to her tally.
”There is so many things I could wish for, I can’t name all them … a long life. I need to do more work, a lot of people need my help and they can’t get it,” said Marguerite Rankine. “If God gives me a longer life, I can lend them a little bit of my life, and we all can live good together.”
Ms. Rankine turned 100 on Oct. 7.
As she sits on her pink recliner at her home in Snug Harbour, decked out in a pretty pink dress and pink nails, she is all smiles. “I love pink, it’s my favorite color,” she declares.
Proudly displayed on a table nearby is a birthday card from Queen Elizabeth II and a host of birthday flowers, also in pink, sent by friends and family. Her son Antonio is quick to say how proud he is of his mother.
Born in East End on Oct. 7, 1917, to Eleanor Mazanell Watson and Joseph Franklyn Rankine, Marguerite is the eldest of seven sisters. She was taught by her grand-aunt, Lucy McLean, who operated a small private school in East End. She attended government school in East End for a short time before the family moved to George Town. She did not finish school, opting instead to find work to help care for the family. She proved to be a hard worker over the years.
Ms. Rankine held many jobs in her day. She assisted her mother with laundry work, and cared for Bertie Panton’s children, helped with pastors of the Church of God Chapel, including the Hastings and the Kluges. She worked at the Thompson bakery, Merren’s Store and as a practical nurse.
On her birthday this month, she was surrounded by more than 150 friends and family members at the Family Life Centre.
“Thank the Lord for keeping me these many years. Today I am celebrating 100 years, that is a long way, you know, and a long time to be in this world,” she said.
“When I was small, I think I was a ‘sassy’ little thing. Anything the children would do to me, I would tell them off, and outsiders too. I believe I am still sassy today,” she said with a laugh.
“I remember walking from East End to Bodden Town with my mother when farmer Touslin Wood picked us up on his horse along the way,” she recalled. “When we arrived in Bodden Town, I didn’t want to come off the horse to walk the rest of the way to Spotts to visit my aunt.”
Ms. Rankine still attends church, visits her hairdresser, and delights in enjoying her favorite foods, such as turtle, conch and fish stew.
She said that as a girl, she loved skipping rope and would visit the beach to cut bay vine to use as a skipping rope. She loves movies like “The Sound of Music” and “Annie,” and her favorite character is Sophia Petrillo of the “Golden Girls.”
She had one son, Rogelio Antonio Hawkins, but cared for any child who crossed her path.
She enjoyed being a Girl Guide, and loves cooking, baking, sewing, gardening, traveling and assisting the church and schools.
Ms. Rankine said, “I feel good. The Lord has helped me to live a long life. Some of my friends are all gone, but some are still here. I am happy.”