Centenarian Ione Waterman listening on as President of Barbados, Her Excellency The Most Honourable Dame Sandra Mason, chats with her via Zoom, while family and friends look on. (T. Barker/BGIS)

Barbados’ latest centenarian Ione Waterman has been recognised by her family and close friends as a lady who made her mark on the lives of those with whom she came into contact.

The family and close friends of Ms. Waterman gathered recently, where they shared via Zoom with President of Barbados, Her Excellency The Most Honourable Dame Sandra Mason, memories of growing up with their matriarch.  Dr. Reverend Sonia Hinds, the Rector of St. Leonard’s Anglican Church, was also in attendance.

Ms. Waterman’s youngest daughter, Linda Waterman, shared that her mum was a fish vendor and was instrumental in helping to build the wall of the original Kensington Oval.

Acknowledging that her mum was a role model for her children in many ways, Linda said: “She worked very hard for us” and looked out for the individuals in her neighbourhood, often providing food and support whenever she could.  The centenarian also looked after those less fortunate in the neighbourhood, as she would “always share” what she had with those in need.

Angela Waterman, another daughter, who flew into the island for the special occasion, stated that her mum “has a big heart” and while they were not rich, they always had food.   

Dame Sandra said “that is how the older people grew up, whatever you had, you shared with each other”.  She added that the older people needed to “tell our young generation how we grew up….  We did not have lots of money….  We had food, shelter and clothes, and most important of all, we were loved”. 

Additionally, Her Excellency stressed: “We knew our parents loved us by the way they treated us, and by the way they treated our friends and the way they treated the neighbours.”

Margaret Haynes, who Ms. Waterman treated like one of her daughters, praised the centenarian and remarked: “I was one of the children that came into the neighbourhood and found her a hardworking lady.”

Ms. Waterman also received praise from her grandchildren and one of her great- grandchildren.  Her great-grandchild, Bianca Boyce, expressed gratitude for the centenarian whom, she said, took the initiative to purchase a sewing machine for her when she was younger. 

According to Bianca, her great grandmother realised she was interested in sewing and sought to support her interest, which has continued today and is still a “pretty big hobby” of hers.

The centenarian’s favourite foods, which she still enjoys today, include sea egg soup, sea egg on Cou Cou, Cou Cou and salt fish, as well as pig tail.  On occasions, Ms. Waterman enjoys a bit of brandy.

Ms. Waterman has five children, 25 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

T. Barker/BGIS

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