“Pay attention to your book!”
This is the advice that was passed down through generations of the Primus family by matriarch, Drucilla, which has kept those under her care on the “straight and narrow”.
Drucilla had her name written in the history books on February 15, 2023, as the oldest living member of the Salvation Army in St. Vincent and the Grenadines at 101 years. She celebrated the tremendous feat at her Paul’s Avenue home, alongside her son, grandchildren, extended family- some who phoned in from overseas, friends as well as members of the Salvation Army – where she is also recorded as being the longest serving member.
The last of her two sons, Stanley Primus, recounted valuable lessons he has gained from his mother, noting that she was uncompromising on the issue of discipline as well as being on time.
“I can tell you how much whipping I got, but that was her best tool. Being on time is a thing she lived by. She is never, ever late, being on time is paramount in her mind and that is one of the things I got from her. You have to be on time wherever you go.”
Primus described his mother as a “church and school” parent, whose focus was making sure they attended church and performed well at school.
“Sundays, weekends, is for church and you get yourself ready for school. That was her philosophy…she did everything she could to get us the best schools and she also ensured, and ultimately succeeded in her grandchildren going into secondary school.”
Nadia Williams, Drucilla’s granddaughter, who she nicknamed ‘Naddy’ said her grandmother’s advice to stay focused on her studies has guided her attitude to school over the years.
“Pay attention to your book and choose your friends and company wisely, something she still tells us up to now, every time we see her, that’s what she says.,” the Girls High School student told SEARCHLIGHT.
Though immobile and with limited vision, Drucilla’s voice and hearing are still strong which she demonstrated when singing some of her favourite Christian hymns and choruses during her birthday party on Wednesday. The list includes ‘Sanctuary’ and ‘Hallelujah Anyhow’.
Drucilla told SEARCHLIGHT she was “praising God” for the blessing of reaching 101 years. The staunch church-goer attributed her long life to “living with God” and for the youth, she shared this advice: “Walk in the straight and narrow way.”
When asked what were her favourite memories of serving with the Salvation Army, Drucilla said she enjoyed having the opportunity to help the “poor and needy”.
Captains of the Salvation Army, Wilkings and Rose- Marthe Buissereth presented gifts to Drucilla and also shared wine with the centenarian. Captain Wilkings thanked Drucilla for her dedication to the religious organization over the years.
“Today you celebrate 101. We believe God will continue to keep you alive and you will celebrate more days and more years again. And we love you and we will continue to love you. We want to tell you thank you for the great work you used to do in the Salvation Army. We have great appreciation for you and we love you. And may God bless may the Lord keep you every day in your life. Happy birthday to you.”