World-class Jamaican citizen, 'Mother Lowe' marks 100 years

Friday, May 04, 2018

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Josephine Lowe recalls the days when respect for elders and good manners were hallmarks of Jamaican society.

Her face lit up at the memory as she discussed those good old days with the Jamaica Observer last Friday, April 27, two days after she marked her 100th birthday at Eden Gardens, the business complex on Lady Musgrave Road in St Andrew owned by one of her 10 children — renowned scientist Dr Henry Lowe.

“Oh, Lord, Jamaica was much better than now, because you had to have respect to elders,” the centenarian said when she was asked to share her memories of the island in her younger years.

“When you pass people you say 'good morning', and when they give you anything you say 'thank you', and you say 'please' when you are requesting anything. Now, the children don't say those things, they don't have that respect,” said the woman the woman more popularly referred to as “Mother Lowe” by family and friends.

In 1961, Mother Lowe went to live in Pembroke Hall and hasn't moved since.

She has pleasant recollections of the following year when Jamaica achieved political independence from Britain, as those days, she explained, were peaceful.

“I felt good about it, because everybody started to feel that they were their own person... we never had so much killing like now; we could go out late at night and get home safely,” she said.

After reciting her birth date — April 25, 1918 — without hesitation, Mother Lowe related that she was born in Cavalier, St Andrew, where she went to school.

After completing school and eventually getting married, Mother Lowe dedicated her life to her family.

“I worked with my kids, raising them. I never worked with a government,” she said with a broad smile.

With so many years under her belt, Mother Lowe naturally has a long association with her church — two, to be exact.

The first, she told the Observer, was St Anthony Catholic Church where she joined the women's federation.

“I went to that church for a long time... one night I went to bed and I dreamt that I met three ministers and they asked me which church I belonged to and I told them.

The ministers, she said, told her to go and get baptised by immersion.

“So I went and told Father, and he agreed, but said I must not leave the Catholic faith. So I went and got baptised at Disciples of Christ Church,” Mother Lowe said.

“I have been going to that church for 75 years now,” she added. In fact, as much as is possible, she attends both churches on Sundays.

Her son Henry, in his opening remarks at last Friday's birthday celebration, described her as “very special in many ways” because of the work she does with her family and in communities.

“She's helped hundreds of people in Pembroke Hall and elsewhere,” he said before revealing that Mother Lowe suffered a serious injury 20 years ago while on a charity mission in Waterhouse.

“What happened was that she was in the community visiting shut-ins at night when she fell into a ditch and shattered her hip,” Henry Lowe said.

“When that happens, you normally have to get hip replacement in five years, but you can go up to 10, she's gone 20 years,” he said.

“Except for a few little problems she's had a good innings,” the scientist said of his mother who recently lost sight in both eyes but who said she was thankful to God that she can still move around. “She's a world class Jamaican citizen,” he added.

Noting that Mother Lowe is a big fan of cricket, Henry Lowe told the guests: “Someone asked her earlier if she was looking forward to the next century and her reply was, after you make your century you retire.”

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