Life & Times: Ethlyn is no fool - retired businesswoman celebrates 99th birthday tomorrow

March 31, 2018
Ethlyn Johnson will celebrate her 99th birthday tomorrow.

She may have been born on April 1, but Ethlyn Johnson is certainly no fool. In fact, she has managed several businesses, including a bakery, hair salons and retail stalls.

As Johnson prepares to celebrate her 99th birthday, she told THE STAR that she was never teased about her date of birth while growing up in Charlton, St Ann.

"I was never teased about being born on 'Tom Fool Day' because mi parents never give out my exact birthdate. People did just know say me born April," she said between hearty laughs.

"Back then inna the days, press and curl was the hit, so me used to get nuff customer. Me was the best hairdresser, so people come from far to get them hair done," she said with pride.




During the 1950s, Johnson travelled to England where she got married. She said that they resided in England for a few years before returning to Jamaica in 1960 to open a bakery and a beauty salon in Kingston.

In 1970, Johnson said that she closed the bakery and moved her hair salon to Chapelton Road, May Pen, Clarendon.

"About three years later, me just close down the hairdressing ting and buy a stall unit in Clarendon and start a retail business. Mi used to sell nuff tings, including clothes and food," she said.

A few years later she relocated to Dela Vega City, Spanish Town, and continued her retail business every weekend in the May Pen Market until she retired in 2012 at the age of 92.

These days, age is really just a number for Johnson, as she doesn't allow it to limit her independence.

"Mi eyesight not so good, but me health good otherwise. Me really thankful for that because younger than me have health issues. It is just a blessing," she said while adjusting her body in her chair.

But she laments that there have been many changes in society over the years, and some of them haven't been particularly good.

"This generation is really different. Back in my time, people used to have manners, but today tings nuh stay the same way at all. A nuh lie me a tell. The people of today are different," she said.

However, there will not be any unhappy thoughts, as Johnson will be surrounded by two of four surviving children, 13 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren as she celebrates her 99th birthday at Cecil's Restaurant in Spanish Town, St Catherine.

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