If Ida Stewart's date of birth is what she says it is, she may very well be the oldest person alive. Stewart, who lives in Devon, a small community outside of Brown's Town, St. Ann, told THE STAR that she was born on November 5, 1886. This would make her 121 years old.
Although she has completely lost her vision in one eye and the other is quickly going, Stewart was a gracious host and engaged THE STAR team with various stories of her life as a young girl. Apart from having some trouble hearing, Stewart is in good health and is able to move around her house. Her mind is as sharp as a tack and she seems to remember quite a lot. She is also very witty and sharp-tongued.
When THE STAR team asked Stewart if she was sure of her date of birth, her quick response was, "Den if u nuh tink mi sure why yu ask mi dat question?" She revealed that she was born in Longhill, which is a district a few miles up from Devon. She also told THE STAR that she got married to Leonard Stewart on June 2, 1928, and moved to Devon shortly after. Her husband died in 1988 and the couple's only daughter was born in the 1920s. Stewart has nine grandchildren, countless great grandchildren and even a few great great grandchildren. Though she only has one biological child, Stewart said, "mi only have one but mi raise a whole heap."
Miss Ida, as she is called, told THE STAR that a lot has changed since her days as a young girl. She said, "Is di first mi see seh people in di world change because dem doomed to hell. Nuff a dem a di generation of vipers whe mi read bout inna di Bible. First time manners did deh wid children, none nuh deh again and everyting raise. Every day price raise like aeroplane. Kerosene oil whe mi used to buy one gallon fi a shilling, now dat a sell fi bout $300."
She also revealed that she was quite a catch back in her day, and told THE STAR about her experience at a party she attended. "Mi go di party and everybody waan dance wid mi, mi haffi tell dem seh mi young man a come meet mi. Nuh young man naw come ennuh, but jus fi keep dem off."
Stewart told THE STAR she held several jobs while she was young, many of them in Kingston. "Di work whe mi do, Missis, it nuff till mi can't even tell yu. Di first work mi do is carry lunch go Sutton Street fi police and di las work mi do a mek coffee a Port Royal Street."
She also told THE STAR that she believes that her time on earth is done as these days are not for her. "My time done. Mi jus a watch and wait fi go to di place whe all mi loved ones gone. Dis ya time a nuh fi mi. Mi read dat man would leave dem woman an go to man. Those people belong to the devil. A better day is coming."
She continued, "Nuff a wha mi read, mi see it a happen. God seh wi mus be ready, so mi deh ready up miself fi be wid God and anyting whe nuh right inna mi life mi a beg im correct it."
Miss Ida believes that her long life is a reward for the respect she showed her parents and how she lived her life. "Mi honour mi parents and mi neva box box bout wid mi body and mi love everybody, up to mi enemies dem. Mi married and mi put miself inna di hands of God and God keep mi. Mi close to God ya now."
She said her birth certificate was destroyed but told THE STAR that if we went to the community of her birth, we could check the tombstones of her parents. "Whatever dem tell mi from mi a pickney, mi keep it in ya so [her head]. Mi nuh lose reason."
According to the Guinness Book of Records, the world's oldest person is 114-year-old Edna Parker, who resides in Shelbyville, Indiana, USA. She turned 114 last year.
To be considered as a Guinness world record holder, one has to visit the Guinness website at: www.guinness-worldrecords.com
and complete the application form. The company will then verify the information and confirm the claim once the applicant provides Guinness with evidence that a record has been set or broken.
To be an eligible candidate for breaking the record for the world's oldest person, that person has to provide evidence that proves age and date of birth. jamaicastar.com