Julia Campbell going strong at 105
Julia Campbell, who celebrated her 105th birthday on Easter Monday, April 18, is one sprightly woman.
During a visit to her home last week, the senior, at the urging of her daughter Marelyn Shaw, the centenarian danced to the infectious sounds of Master KG's Jerusalema, demonstrating that she still has a pep in her step.
"It feels good," the Hayes, Clarendon resident said about reaching such a ripe age.
Born and raised in Hayes, Campbell was the third of three children for her parents, Willel Richardson and Aldoman Robinson. She grew up with her grandparents. In her earlier years, she worked with a quarry in the Monymusk area where she broke stones for a living.
The mother of three also worked as a nanny in Clarendon, before migrating to the United States of America. Her husband, Franklyn Campbell, died last September after 59 years of marriage. He was 98.
Marelyn Shaw, her 75-year-old daughter who serves as her caregiver, said that she has a hard time convincing her mother that it is not a good idea to go walking on the streets. But Campbell, though, has her reason for wanting to stretch her legs beyond the driveway in her yard.
"Mi waan fi walk pon the road so when dem see me, dem know sey mi nuh weak," Campbell said.
Shaw joked that her mother constantly complains whenever she leaves her at home and travels to the capital town of May Pen. "This morning she said, 'Why can't I go in the streets?', and I said, 'Mama, you are old now'."
She said her mother's response was classic: "Me ole and me caah guh inna the street, but yuh young and yuh can guh. Is alright, gwaan."
At 105, Campbell pays little or no attention to her diet. Her daughter said that despite being diabetic and hypertensive, she eats and drinks everything.
"The other day she said, 'I feel like drinking something but a don't want water'. She wants something stronger than water, so I had to give her champagne," Shaw said.
The centenarian spoke of her undying love for boiled dumplings and mackerel. Using her hands to demonstrate the size of the dumplings, she said that they are normally quartered and placed on her plate. She said that she sometimes makes smaller cuts, and then "jam eh inna me mouth and me tan deh chew, chew it until it done".
"Dats all me can tell unno, nuttin but di truth, so help me God," the affable Christian woman said. And it seems that she has always had a way with food. Shaw had high praises for her mother's culinary skills.
"Mama was cooking until she was 90 years old," Shaw said as her mother chuckled with delight. "Mama would give you the best brown stewed pork."
Food aside, Campbell has been serious about her faith. When the subject was raised by THE WEEKEND STAR, she did not miss a beat to declare her hand.
"You coulda go ask mi dat? Yes man, mi believe inna mi God," she said with a sharp tongue. She said that she was always serious about being Christ-like and was never afraid to reprimand people who she felt were out of line, even when she was a child.
"If dem talk anything and it nuh right, me seh shet up unno mouth, I don't want anybody hear those words," she said.
Campbell lamented the breakdown of good morals and values among the youths of today, positing that "they don't act the right and proper way".
"My generation was a different generation from dem. The children dem grow the way dem feel like dem should grow," she said.