Erlene “Girl” Bourne was stunned and close to tears as family and friends celebrated her 100th birthday on Wednesday, August 25th.
“I thank all of you for what you are doing for me – Everyone … Today you are here, and tomorrow you are not,” said the long-liver, expressing her gratitude to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who gathered at the holiday. Carters Gap, Christ Church, the home she shares with her youngest son, Trevor.
Girla, as she is affectionately known, explained her long and eventful life with biblical quotes “love your neighbor as yourself” and “do good, and good will follow you.”
She was a regular patron of Christ Church parish church, but when she lost her sight 12 years ago and then became an amputee after losing her leg to poor circulation, Girla began attending church at home.
Her son’s church leader, Bishop Marlon Jones of Mount Pisgah Spiritual Baptist Church, attended her birthday celebration to bless the centenarian.
“To reach this age, you must live a good life. Eat, drink and be kind to people. [and] Job. Get out and work. You don’t steal. Stealing will get you nowhere, but when you work and do your best, you beg God to carry you and bring you and he will help you,” Girla said. Loop news.
As a mother of four and working as a domestic worker all her life, Girla maintained her faith in God. She has been described fondly by family and friends as resilient and strong-willed – a notable example being the birth of her last son, Trevor.
December 25, 1956 [Christmas Day] a pregnant girl was cooking Kinchey in the kitchen of the family she worked for, and her water broke. Even when her employers urged her to go into one of their bedrooms and have a baby, she was determined to clean herself up and hurry home. Despite the contractions, she was calm and collected. She hurried to her then home in Providence, Christ Church, and delivered the baby.
The life of the mother of four was not smooth, but she explained that she spent her life like any normal person – cooking. [Girla was renown for her culinary skills]bathe and try to make something out of nothing.
girl said Loop news that raising three sons and a daughter was “not easy and not very hard.” She was strict and firm with the children. She boasted that her children were respectful and well brought up because of her teachings.
“I worked for my children and always told them that you must have manners and behavior. Manners make a man. yours,” she said.
“Children [that] they have no manners, they are treated badly. They are going to get [push] But if you bring up your children with good manners, they will grow up the way you give them birth. I raised my children, and I can say that I raised good children with good manners and respect,” she continued.
Girla went on to advise parents to “let their children know when they are right and when they are wrong.”
Her son Trevor recalled that his mother was “very strict” and disciplined. He said that, despite her age, she was probably the healthiest person in the family.
“She’s not sick, she doesn’t have a cold, [or] headaches,” he said with a chuckle, adding that his mother was also a good conversationalist.
He stressed that she is “a very strong woman.” Trevor recalled that more than 40 years ago, his mother, who worked as a housekeeper in the Christ Church family, came to work one morning and found that all the household members were dead – it was a murder-suicide.
This harrowing experience was traumatic and ended her career as a domestic worker.
He said Loop news that the fact that his mother turned 100 years old was truly a significant event.
“We are all excited to see her reach this age. You don’t see it too often and I don’t think we’ll see it again in a hurry for any of the other family members.”