106 and fit! fit! fit! - Hanover’s eldest male celebrates with birthday party

June 15, 2020
From left: Kadian Neil (grandson), Ryan Patman (grandson), Uton Samuels, Pearlina Samuels (daughter) and Everton Neil (grandson)
From left: Kadian Neil (grandson), Ryan Patman (grandson), Uton Samuels, Pearlina Samuels (daughter) and Everton Neil (grandson)
Uton Samuels
Uton Samuels

Hanover's oldest man, Uton Samuels, celebrated his 106th birthday last Friday, and is looking forward to many more years. "I am happy and feeling alright in the body -- Fit! fit! fit! Blessings, whole heap a blessings. I don't have any ailment, the doctor said I am fit and healthy right through, only a little pain," said Samuel, who is among 11 centenarian in Hanover.

Samuels, who walks unaided, was born to Cecilia Campbell and Etelbert Samuel in Mount Piece, Hanover. He said that he never benefited from formal education. "Dem never send me to no school. My father carry me to my grandmother and tell her say 'See my boy here, if you want a pan a water him can take it up to give you'. Him never tell her to send me to school," Samuels said.

Swinging his cutlass

As a youngster, Samuels spent much of his time in Mount Piece, Hanover. He said that he started working from the age of 12 at Georgia property in Lucea. After leaving that job in his late 20s, Samuels worked at the Spring Valley Farm in Kingsvale, Hanover. He said that he was swinging his cutlass even at the age of 100.

A father of eight children ,he was married to Etta Samuels, who died August 25, 2005 at the age of 83.

Looking back at his youthful days, the sprightly Samuels said his generation was respectful of their peers and elders, and that contributed to their peaceful existence. "Children were different. In the past, if you passing your neighbour and don't say good morning or evening, and just a pop your big whistle, he won't say anything to you. Him just tell your paps and you know you going to get a flagging for it,"he said.

"In the past, you could sleep with your home door wide open and go sleep sound. Big difference to what you see going on now," he added.

He continued: "These youths now don't want no work whatsoever. I start work from 12 years old - me start use cutlass and work at Georgia property by Lucea. If you want something, yuh worked for it. (Nowadays) you only waiting on me, as me work for it, get it, and put it down, to come take it up. That's what's going on now, but in the past, everybody work and they love each other."

But the good ole' days were not as blissful, Samuels admitted. "In the past and now are two different things, things are better off now. Back then, if you want a shoes, you could only find a crep that they used to call 'puss'. If you want it black, you have to buy a tin of black polish because it only come in white," Samuels said.

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