Tribute to Dad on his 100th Birthday - July 30, 2008
Our dad is a devout man of God
He reads his Bible and says his prayers
In the morning and at bedtime too;
A stricter Dad no one could have had;
No dating did he allow us girls;
Still growing-up days were a hoot
And love for Dad wavered not!
Dad taught us girls how to drive,
And change spark plugs too
“Pay attention to noise as you drive,
And stranded, you will never be!” he warned.
One took this to heart, and never did learn how to drive!
For home entertainment, Dad commandeered the piano;
Saturday nights we played musical chairs;
Dad pounded the keyboard, like you’ve never seen
Left leg keeping time, shoulders pumping
Nose-tip close to keyboard range!
Then on Sunday mornings, Dad piled us into his Morris 10
And off to Church we went to praise and worship the Lord!
Sunday nights after dinner, it was hymn singing time
With Mom in total control of the keyboard
Our voices blending in praise to God!
Yes, those were the good old growing-up days;
Days before his 100th Birthday
We wheeled Dad to the piano
There he tapped out hymns and Carols
Arthritis which has crippled three left fingers!
And so to you, Dad, a tribute make
On behalf of all your children,
Accept our thanks and love
For being such a loving, caring Dad;
May God forever bless you!
“He shall call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble, and I will deliver him
And honour him. With long life will I satisfy him
And I will shew him my salvation.”
H. Lena Jones
When young, the achievement of age accumulations does not seem to matter much; and going to say a fiftieth or sixtieth
birthday observance just appears to be another social/recreational occasion.
Thus, when my friend John Callender indicated that his father-in-law, Ivan Wickliffe Joseph, was going to be one hundred
(100) years old during July of this year, I grasped at the opportunity to do a piece on him, because that is definitely a
I grabbed at the opportunity, because in this era of celebrating 50’s and 60’s, as well as the young age at which so many
young people are dying at young and tender ages via guns or other forms of violence or via ailments like cancer or AIDS,
getting to one hundred years is a massive achievement.
As a matter of fact, Ivan, who is the eighth of nine children, is the only survivor. He was born on July 30, 1908 to Conrad and
Diana Joseph. He hails from Beterverwagting in Guyana.
One feature that I often admire is the way that Ivan and his wife have been able to hold their family together, because he
and his wife insisted that the children and grandchildren and other extended family members gather together for the
celebration of traditional Guyanese festivals like Christmas, Easter and anniversaries. I am also impressed that they held
their marriage together.
Ivan is an accomplished musician, and he endeavored to ensure that his children and grandchildren attained musical
skills, hence it was always a joy to see the family performing together. I do not know why they never went professional.
When asked about the secret of his many years on this earth, I expected to hear a variety of speeches on the importance
of safe living, diet and exercise; instead Ivan credits his long life on earth, to his long-term personal relationship with "God .
. . The Creator," as well as the fact that his mother . . . a devout Christian, often prayed for him . . . Ivan spent a lot of time at
home and hardly went to parties.
Hence, you my friends may not be Christian, but whatever persuasion you belong to, I urge and encourage you to find time
and motivation, in order to offer prayers to whoever your Higher Power might be . . . A lot of you might have gone to so
many parties and consumed so many things — that it might be too late for advice.
MAKING ENDS MEET
I have lived my entire life (and I am carefully and steadfastly batting towards a hundred (100) myself) with the belief that if
those older folks could have done it on their slim wages and conditions of employment, many of us in this era — living in
North America or Europe — with both partners working — and armed with modern forms of education and technology,
should be doing better.
For example, I am often puzzled how poorer Guyanese and older West Indians — often with just the man working — were
able to put aside the funds to ensure that their children at least got a high school education.
Ivan Joseph, who exchanged marriage vows with Lottie Archer (who is still alive) in 1941, started on a weekly salary of
$9.20, and up until his retirement he was earning $300 a month. I am talking about Guyana dollars.
Yet he was able to raise seven children, striving to ensure that their basic needs were met and he sent all of the children to
the best high schools that Guyana had to offer at that time.
Of course, as many of us know too well and actually experienced, Ivan praised the support that he got from his wife — who
he familiarly calls Tiny, for his survival. He said she was a witty thinker, who was able to take a little and stretch it a long
way; and while he worked, Tiny assisted in keeping food on the table by planting fruits and vegetables and raising animals
In essence, the lessons that one gets from looking at and speaking with persons like Ivan Joseph cannot be replaced by
lectures from college professors or essays found in reading materials. In fact, folks like Ivan should be sent on lecture
Ivan and his siblings moved from BV to Bath Estate in Berbice, where his father was in charge of Bath hospital. Ivan’s
family life and upbringing were rich in every way. Ivan matured into a tall, handsome, gracious and shy gentleman. When
the time came for him to leave home and join the work force, he found employment in Blairmont estate. For a time he
worked in the store associated with the Sugar Factory.
In the off-season, when the Factory was not grinding sugarcane, Ivan worked in the Estate Office as a Paymaster. For a
time, he was also the "draughtsman" responsible for plotting the layout of the land and recording all the houses that
occupied the land. He was also responsible for conducting a house-to-house census to determine the number of
occupants per household. Ivan tackled every task with diligence and pride . . . You see how practical or pragmatic those
older folks were.
For recreation, Ivan played the piano by ear. He was also a member of the Young People’s cricket team. He was an
excellent batsman . . . I am still trying to ascertain what Guyanese mean by "ear-sound."
While he was still a single man, Ivan had the opportunity to emigrate to Aruba on a working contract. Had he accepted, his
life might have had a much different outcome. However he chose to stay and work at Blairmont, where he advanced to the
position of Process Supervisor, overseeing the production of sugar. You see, those older folks did not cut and run at initial
It was during an off-season that Ivan journeyed to Georgetown for a much-needed holiday. He stayed with his brother,
Woody, who lived at Robb and Albert Streets. It was during that visit that he would meet and eventually marry his beloved
Ivan proved to be a strict but loving father of seven, a good provider and a dedicated husband, Ivan was never one to hold
grudges, nor was he ever indebted to anyone, and he always attempted to be helpful to others.
Ivan socialized little. His friends were few, but genuine. He taught his children to be respectful of themselves and others,
and to conduct their lives with dignity, always following the will of God.
Entertainment at the Joseph household would come in the form of Ivan at the piano pounding tune after tune, while his
young family engaged in a series of musical chairs and heaps of laughter.
He taught his three daughters how to drive, change spark plugs and flat tires. He gave them sound advice too: "When you
drive, listen to the engine. It will tell you when something is wrong." Sadly, one took this advice to heart and never became
There is a serious side to this gentle man when it came to disciplining his children. His "nays" were "nays" and his "yeas"
though seldom said, were "yeas." To disobey him was asking for the strap. It was always wise to keep that in mind.
Now in his advanced years, Ivan’s seven children still love him dearly and thank God daily for granting him long life. God has
blessed Ivan and Tiny with fourteen wonderful grandchildren and sixteen great grandchildren. He has also blessed them
with a marriage that is in its 67th year.
* * * * * * *
Ivan, Fight on
You give the inspiration to carry on
Many would like to join you and become 100 too,
Please share some knowledge about achieving old age.
|TO READ MORE...
Birthday Greetings to Ivan from: Val
(New Zealand); Annette and John (New
Zealand); Rhonda (USA). The bread
below is from Judi (USA).
"He shall call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will
deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him My
salvation." (Psalm 91:14,15)
Dad went to be with the Lord on September 11, 2008, at 11PM
Mom joined him on April 15, 2011.
Thank You, Heavenly Father, for both Dad and Mom.
1) GOD - FIRST
2) FAMILY - SECOND
3) WORK - THIRD
Whoso findeth a wife, findeth a
good thing, and obtaineth
favour of the Lord...
Daily Soulfood For You
FOR TRIBUTE TO MOM,
CLICK ON LEFT PURPLE