Daphne Broderick still enjoys whisky and cigarettes daily
BY DONNA HUSSEY-WHYTE Sunday Observer staff reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
AMONG the many gifts presented to Daphne Millicent Ferreira Broderick last Thursday as she celebrated her 100th birthday were two bottles of whisky and a carton of Craven A cigarettes.
Smiling, alert and charming, Broderick accepted the gifts — two of her favourite commodities — from family and friends, who gathered to celebrate her milestone at the Woman's Club Home on Gladstone Drive in Kingston.
"She loves whisky. Everybody who knows her knows that," Broderick's nephew, Anthony Watson, told the Jamaica Observer in an interview following the party. "She likes Craven A, it is the only brand of cigarette that she will smoke. She limits herself to at least three to four per day. She has a friend here (at the home) and they have a scotch and cigarette almost every evening together. That's what keeps her going. She has been smoking most of her adult life, but she has been a sort of on-and-off smoker," Watson, the former owner of Plantation Inn hotel, explained.
"Old-time people used to drink a lot, you know. And she still has one or two friends who come over and drink with her in the evenings. So she still drinks a little each day."
Also among her birthday gifts was a letter from Governor General Sir Patrick Allen congratulating Broderick on her milestone.
Born on July 31, 1914, Broderick grew up in Duncans, Trelawny with seven siblings, their father Xavier Ferreira, who was of Portuguese ancestry, and mother Alice Maud Watkis Ferreira, who both owned and operated a bakery in the town. Broderick, who was the youngest of the siblings, is the only one alive today.
Though she enjoyed the celebration in her honour, Broderick said she would not recommend to anyone living for 100 years.
"I wouldn't advise it," Broderick said. "You have a lot of perks being old; if I go out people will open doors for me, they give me a chair to sit on and so on, but it has its down sides, I tell you — plenty!"
The down sides, she shared, include waking up in pain each morning, not being able to remember as much as she would like to, and forcing herself to get out of bed in order to make it through the day.
"One mind say to stay in bed, but the other mind say don't be an idiot, get going!" Broderick said. "And you know, you get going 'cause you can't give in to yourself."
As a young girl, Broderick won a scholarship to Westwood High School, which she attended for two years before transferring to Alpha Academy in Kingston.
After completing high school, Broderick attended Alpha Commercial and the sister in charge arranged for her to be interviewed by Douglas Judah, an attorney-at-law who was looking for a secretary. Thus, she worked for two years as Judah's secretary before returning home to Duncans.
Initially she had gone home on vacation, but found that her mother was under considerable stress caring for her father who was suffering from diabetes. She returned to Kingston and reluctantly quit her job in order to return home to assist her mother.
"But there was some good to going back home," Watson explained. "She met Winston Alexander Broderick, who was a relentless suitor who pursued her night and day. And on the first of July, 1940, they were married," he said.
The couple moved into what Watson described as an extremely smart house built from cut-stone located on the Falmouth main road heading to Montego Bay, a short walk from the family's bakery that was now operated by Broderick's husband.
"Winston ran the bakery very successfully, with the help of a manager, which provided him with ample time to pursue his hobby of running three large aviaries, bottling and selling logwood honey and tinkering around cars since he was in fact a first-class mechanic," Watson said.
The couple also pioneered the tourist rental car market and successfully operated a fleet of six vehicles with Broderick playing an integral part in its operations, having personally driven and delivered cars from their Falmouth base to the Montego Bay airport.
"Well, my husband had two drivers and he loved motor cars," the centenarian recalled. "Nothing to him like cars. And one day a brand-new Cortina went out on its first rental, and a fellow at Rose Hall phoned him and told him that his car just had a bad accident outside the hotel. So we drove down, and when I looked at my husband's face when he looked at his car — brand-new car — I felt so sorry for him. I said 'you know what you do, fire the two men; I will help you'," she said.
"And he and I did it the whole time. We had no more accidents. But it was hard work going to the airport, and especially when we had to meet the London plane. It was always late at nights. And as you go to the airport and come home you hear that Shaw Park wanted a car right away; and these Americans, when they want something, it's right away. So we jump in the car and gone again," she said with a smile. "It was hard work, but I had a good life."
The couple retired in the late-1970s and migrated to Clearwater, Florida, where they spent nine years together before her husband passed away. Two years later, Broderick returned to Jamaica and lived for five years with her sister, Viva Feurtado, in Red Hills before moving into the Woman's Club Home where she has resided for the past 19 years.
As she spoke, the love she had for her late husband was evident. However, she explained, he could not fool with her.
"We didn't have any children, but we were very happy," she said as a smile lit up her face. "He knew he couldn't fool with me, because my parents' home was only 10 miles away. And he knows if he fooled with me I would pack my grip and gone. So him never even tried; him know better. But he was a good fella, really good. I don't put up with no damn foolishness!" she declared.
In advising young people on how to make their marriage work, Broderick said the best remedy is to give and take with each other.
Even at 100 years, Broderick still has a sharp wit.
"An old man was asked his age, so he proudly said 'I am 95' and the people said 'wooh 95', he said 'hold on, hold on, is not old mi old, is just time fly — so is me now, is just time fly," she said with a laughed. "They say time wait for no man."
Today, Broderick reads, hears and reasons quite well, and though she said she is not able to remember much from the past she still holds a strong view on Jamaica's Independence, to be celebrated in three days.
"I don't know how we can be independent and we so poor. We can't be independent and poor. That don't make sense," she said firmly.
Watson recalled the days Broderick would take him and others to the beach.
"I used to visit her a lot over the holidays and she gave us the most wonderful time," Watson said. "She always took us to the beach, swimming, and I was afraid of the water but she made me go in and taught me how to swim and so I had a lovely time at Half Moon Beach in Falmouth," he said. "And we used to go to the park to walk with her and to the bakery and all these things. It was lovely. It was just great, great fun.
Watson said his aunt showed him a lot of love while he was growing up, and he was willing to return even a portion of it to her now, especially since she has only three nephews and one niece — Dr Peter Feurtado, a Kingston-based dentist; Dr Bernard Ferreira, a retired gynaecologist, in Ontario, Canada; and Ann Watson Sokoloff, who now resides in Florida — along with their offspring alive today.
Watson Sokoloff, who was present at the birthday celebration, said she was spoilt by her aunt.
"She had no children, so as a young child we spent quite a bit of time with her and Uncle Winston in the country. It was lovely and she enjoyed having us. She spoilt us and we ate all the ginger bullas that we could," Watson Sokoloff recalled with a laugh.
"She had a cracker that she used to make with the inside hollow and we used to stick a hole and pour condensed milk inside. We used to have a lovely time. We were quite close because our mother, her sister, died quite young (44 years old). She is a good soul and they tell me I am as miserable as her," she said.