Miss Hepsie celebrates birthday 101

March 20, 2019
Hepsibah Folkes gets her hat fitted by her great granddaughter, Anique Spence, as she gets ready to participate in her birthday celebrations.
Great and great-great grand children share in this photo opportunity with Miss Hepsie.  
Miss Hepsie (seated left), with her friend Ivy Williams Clarke (seated right), takes a pic with nine of her children.
The birthday cake, adorned with a message of love.

It was a special occasion in the deep rural community of Lucky Hill in the western region of St Mary recently.

Relatives and friends from across Jamaica and several from overseas joined others in the community to celebrate the 101st birthday of Hepsibah Folkes, affectionately called Miss Hepsie, whose birthday was on March 6.

Folkes, whose first name, Hepsibah, has the Hebrew meaning ‘My delight is in her’, is blessed with a large family.

She had 13 children (nine boys and four girls, but one daughter passed away), 66 grandchildren, more than 100 great-grandchildren, and a similar number of great-great-grandchildren.

Every generation was present to share in the occasion.

Though her hearing isn’t what it used to be, with the assistance of one of her sons, she told THE STAR that she was doing fine and life was “not bad”.

She said she was happy for the celebration and even more so to have so many family members present. Her good friend, Ivy William-Clarke, was also present and sat with her throughout.

Married in the 1950s, Folkes lost her husband 20 years ago. She is baptised and attended the House of Praise Church in the community up until some time ago when she was confined to home.

“Growing up, she was a hard working woman. She worked to look about her kids, she, and her husband,” said her first child, Percival Ricketts, who celebrates his 82nd birthday on Sunday.

“I am the first one for her. The other children are Folkes. I never grow with my mother. After mi reach about six years old, she send me go live with mi father. Mi auntie grow mi. When I was about 15, mi come back down a mi mother, and we all go live dung a Goshen, down the bottom there, and in the ’50s, we come up here (Lucky Hill) and start live up here.”

Phillip Folkes, Miss Hepsie’s third child, celebrated his 75th birthday on March 11.

“Growing up with her, she always treat we nice, and thing, loving. She’s a nice, lady, great mother,” Phillip said.

Meanwhile, great-granddaughter, Anique Spence, who flew in from Canada with her two children, said it was a happy occasion for everyone involved.

“I brought my kids, one three (years old), one six, and they’re very excited to be here,” Spence said. “They have been here before – when they were just born – to meet her. But now they’re older, I decided to take them so they can enjoy this moment.”

She added: “Her birthday was Wednesday, the sixth of March and we came on the fifth. She didn’t know we were coming. We surprised her, and she was very excited to see us. My kids are very happy, and it’s a blessing to be here. This is a milestone. Hopefully, I will live to see that long.”

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