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|Bermuda's oldest treasure dies at 106 years, two months, and twenty-one days of age!|
When I was growing up, I recall that people who were the age that I have now reached were asked, to what did they owe their longevity. Often they were pictured in wheelchairs. The rare person who lived to reach their one hundredth birthday would definately be wheelchair bound and drooling, and most likely they would be in bed. We have now entered into an era where we are living longer, and enjoying life.
Ms. Hilda Smith was one such person. She lived her professional life as a teacher, and in that regard she will have impacted a great many people, and a number of those she will have outlived herself. Her great love was music. In that regard she played the piano, the harp, and she was a tenor saxophonist. This was truly impressionable for someone who lived through the many decades of repression of women's rights, and as a black woman she suffered immensely through the dark days of racial segregation. How she received the news that the the world's most hated regime in South Africa had been taken over by Nelson Mandela, I do not know; and that the world's most powerful man, as president of The United States of America, is a black man, I can only imagine.
I presume that Queen Elizabeth II of England still sends out congratulatory messages to those who reach their one hundredth birthdays. In that case she would have sent such a message to Ms. Smith. A year after that the Queen visited Bermuda and heard a painist play God Save the Queen. That was Ms. Smith, at 101 years old. The Queen was suitably impressed.
Ms. Smith lived out her golden years in a home for the aged. The residents regularly receive visits from choirs who come to lead them in joyful song. The pianist was 106 years old, playing from memory.
As stars go, Ms. Smith was a super nova, one of the brightest in the universe. Yet she was so humble but at the same time, so brilliant. As a wordsmith I am sorely taxed to even express my admiration and respect for this wonderful person, who I am so sad to have to say that I never did meet her. Yet, she was my fellow Bermudian who lived out her life in the most positive manner, just by being her wonderful self.
She leaves mega shoes to fill and very large footsteps to follow. I suspect she will live on in the thoughts and conversations at dinner for a very long time to come. To be able to boast that you were taught be her is a considerable gong.
Born October 21, 1907
The end came on January 21, 2014
106 years, 2 months, 21 days
When asked to what did she owe her longevity, she replied: "I am in the Hands of the Lord. This is all his Doing!"
Copyright (c) 2014 Eugene Carmichael