A 104-year-old Villa resident – Antigua and Barbuda’s oldest living person – is being honoured today as the country marks National Centenarians Day.
Gladys Delores Hodge was born on December 20 1917 and is a mother-of-five to Kenneth Evanson, Charles and Carlton Green, Fitzroy Lake, and Verlyn Samuel (deceased).
She attended the Moravian school from the age of five, before moving on to the girls’ school at Country Pond. In later years, when the Point school was built, she completed her education there.
Upon leaving school she earned a living by washing, cleaning, working in the cane fields and picking cotton. When recalling places of employment, she is quick to mention Langfords, Cedar Valley and Westcott. She speaks of working at Miss Tavernier’s store selling cloth by the bale, and hats. And then, when ladies needed a hairstyle, she would fix them up with plaits of rope or congo.
Through a routine checkup with her doctor it was found that she had developed glaucoma, and 35 years later she is completely blind. In spite of this, she still takes pride in doing many things for herself.
Hodge is a born-again believer and has been a member of the Villa Nazarene Church since its inception and remembers worshipping at Princess Margaret School before the church’s present location on Amy Byer Street.
She loves her congregation and attends services every Sunday.
She recently spoke about how she is forever grateful to God, as many have passed on and she is still alive in this century because of God’s favour and mercy.
She has proudly raised five of her 15 grandchildren, all of whom love, respect and cherish her.
Hodge, whose favourite food is rice and chicken, and pineapple pizza, is described as a joy to converse with, humorous and up to date with current events as an avid radio listener.