A ‘GRAND’ mother Miss Gertrude leaves 120 grand­chil­dren

The Star (Jamaica) - - NEWS THE WEEKEND STAR -

stall at their gate while her hus­band ploughed the fields as a farmer. But even with all that hard work, the Halls still strug­gled to feed their chil­dren.

“It was so rough! At one point in time, all my par­ents could af­ford was yam, dumplings, and but­ter for, like, two years. It was our break­fast, lunch, and din­ner. The thing is, at the time, we didn’t know how poor we were be­cause we were al­ways play­ing,” she said.

De­ter­mined to have a bet­ter life for her chil­dren, Gertrude sought em­ploy­ment over­seas as a do­mes­tic helper and Yvonne said that their lives im­proved dras­ti­cally.

NO FIGHTS

“My mom then went to Amer­ica and did do­mes­tic work, and when she came back, she bought a prop­erty on Man­nings Hill Road, and she never stopped un­til she build a man­sion. We grow in very hum­ble be­gin­nings, and we didn’t have much friends, but we didn’t need any be­cause there was a lot of ex­cite­ment in our house­hold. There weren’t, any fights. We lived very good, and this is one of the qual­i­ties we still have to­day,” Yvonne said.

As there fi­nan­cial for­tunes im­proved, the Halls grad­u­ally weaned them­selves off yam, dumplings, and but­ter.

“It would take seven loaves of bread, four pounds of salt­fish, and eight pounds of flour to feed us,” she said in be­tween laugh­ter.

Now in her 50s, Yvonne her­self has five chil­dren and 24 grand­chil­dren, 18 of whom are from one of her sons. She now calls Eng­land her home but states that Ja­maica is never far from her mind. Us­ing child­hood mem­o­ries as her in­spi­ra­tion, she fre­quently makes do­na­tions to her for­mer school, Swal­low­field All-Age.

“We strug­gled so hard. We never had toys grow­ing up. Our main toy was prob­a­bly a milk tin with a string. My mother couldn’t af­ford to buy pen­cil or even read­ing books. We used to steal other chil­dren pen­cils some­times. I re­mem­ber get­ting a beat­ing from a teacher be­cause I never have my read­ing book, and my mother was so mad she went back to the school and deal with her and let her know that we weren’t re­spon­si­ble for buy­ing our own stuff,” she said.

Ac­cord­ing to Yvonne, she does not sees her sib­lings on a reg­u­lar ba­sis be­cause they all re­side in dif­fer­ent parts of the world. She, how­ever, stated that their mother had the op­por­tu­nity to meet most of her 120 grand­chil­dren.

“My mother lived in Eng­land with us, but ear­lier this year, she kept say­ing she wanted to come home, so I came home to stay with her, but she didn’t make the trip back home. She took ill and died at the Kingston Pub­lic Hos­pi­tal on Septem­ber 26. We loved our mother. She lived her life for all 20 of us,” she said.

Ger­tude Hall

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