Rosaline October is the owner of the oldest run restaurant and liquor bar on Regent Street in Georgetown, Guyana. And despite living in Brooklyn, this senior citizen is not daunted by the thousands of miles she has to travel to take care of business in her homeland.
But what is most amazing is that on Feb. 6, a cold winter’s night, the youthful senior citizen arrived in her Sunday best to celebrate her 92nd birthday, a historic milestone for this noblewoman who birthed 16 children.
The blaring music that filled the dance hall did not disturb the grandmother, of more than 40 grandchildren. Instead, the great-grandmother got on the dance floor with her 15th-born daughter, with the same name to show off her dance moves.
“Today is a day of thankfulness. God has allowed our matriarch four scores, plus 10, plus two,” said daughter Rosaline October-Edun,” after showcasing her mom whom she said she is passionate about.
“It is a privilege being an offspring of this sophisticated woman who is known for her quietness, contentment, even-spiritedness, and most of all, her compassion.”
October-Edun said despite her mother’s diagnoses that limit her in some ways, she is doing great.
“She is a mother who has always put her children before herself. It is because of her strong shoulders that her grandchildren and great-grandchildren are able to show success,” she added.
“I am reminded of the African proverb, ‘It takes a village...’ Villagers, thank you for helping us lift our matriarch! Oh happy day! We give thanks for this, the 92nd year of our mother’s life,” said her daughter.
Margaret October the 12th child born to October, shared great memories of her and siblings growing up in Georgetown, and praised her mom for always ensuring her girls looked beautiful. “Our hair was always neatly braided.”
“My mom was a disciplinarian, and she instilled in us, the importance of gaining an education,” said Margret who added that ever though her mom gave birth to 16 children, she still took care of the neighborhood kids. “She cooked in a big pot so that everyone could eat.” Margaret is now a mother of six children.
Ten, who are all grownup now surrounds mother October who outlived six children. Like Godfrey, the eldest son / second child, remembers every Sunday his mother cooked a delicious pot of soup because anyone wanted a taste of mother Rose’s food.
“She was a hard-working woman, and I was her right-hand child who helped her in the business. My mom was a miracle worker, as soon as she gave birth, within two days she was back on her feet working. She is a strong person, a godly, kind person and wonderful to everyone,” said Godfrey.
“She lived to enjoy her 92nd birthday because of her close-knit family. Anytime she becomes ill, we all drop what we were doing and run to her side,” he said.
Godfrey October recalled Rosaline’s short stay in a nursing home where she had gone to recoup after an illness. Amazed at how quickly she healed, Godfrey said, “It was a miracle, even the staff of the nursing home too, said they had never experienced such a quick recovery.”
This, he said, is all due to the love and attention Rosaline receives from her children. “We are at her side all the time,” he added.
Désirée October the first-born girl, and the oldest child alive, said her mother is a jovial person. “My mother lived to this ripe old age because she laughs a lot and always make us laugh. She is a loving, caring person.”
“Mama October laid a strong foundation for her family. Her children had a strict upbringing,” said Désirée who mused that Rosalind used her four- feet height to meet whomever appeared at the family house in a compound, to ask for date-night with her girls.
“She taught us to respect everyone we met, because she though that what ever you give out, you back, said Désirée who is also a mother.
Deceased husband, Ivor Weir Prince, was a pork knocker — a prospector of gold and diamonds — who went away to work for long periods of time. As such, October began selling ice from an icebox, and later opened a business in Georgetown with her husband, that is now a landmark in Guyana.
Rosaline October received the Yesterday’s Child Award last year from the founder of Mauby Media, Glenda Cadogan. The tribute celebrates senior citizens from the Caribbean who make outstanding contributions to their community.
Mother October was born in 1924 in Sister’s Village on the Berbice Coast, which was between 1627 and 1815, a colony of the Netherland, and later merged with Essequibo and Demerara.