Rosalie Viola Holmes, affectionately called “Girlie”, “Mum” or “Ma Holmes” was born June 01, 1916, to parents Miriam Elvira Mapp and Cyril Conrad Bynoe at Parish Land, Christ Church. She later moved to Leadvale, Christ Church.
Married for over 65 years, she is predeceased by her husband, Herman Randolph Holmes. She is the mother of four children, three girls and one boy Beautelle, Wendy, Windell and Francia. She is also the step-mother of two – Violet and Deanis, grand-mother of 10, great-grandmother of 11 and great-great-grandmother of three.
Ma Holmes was born in an era when access to education was severely limited for some families. She attended what was known at the time as the “Penny School”. Her mother was a single parent, and could not afford the penny, resulting in Mum leaving school at the age of 13 and “looking for work”.
To survive, Mum tried her hand at several jobs. These included keeping the blackbirds away from the corn, picking pond grass, being a cleaner and apprentice cook at Paragon, working the land around the home and selling her produce of ground provisions from door to door on her husband’s donkey cart. She was also a mason tender, an agricultural worker and cotton picker. In addition, she baked sweet bread and other delicacies, made butter from cow’s milk, ice-cream and ice-cream blocks on weekends, reared chickens and other livestock and sold eggs.
Mum Holmes was a devout and faithful worshipper at the St. Patrick’s Anglican Church for many years, and loves her church family and parish priest. She now receives the sacrament of Holy Communion from her Rector, Rev. Angela Phillips. Mum still prays the Apostles Creed and the Lord’s Prayer at each meal, and always asks God to wrap her in His loving arms. Her belief that “my God is merciful and he is keeping me here for a reason” is testimony of her strong faith in Him.
She was a wonderful mother, a strict disciplinarian, a stickler for good manners, and believes “in not sparing the rod and spoiling the child”. She instilled in her family the value of a good education, and the dedication and hard work to achieve it, even though her education was limited. Mum made sure her children and grandchildren received a sound education, that they attended church and Sunday School, had good manners, and were taught to be honest and to remember their Creator in the days of their youth.
Her longevity can be attributed to her deep faith in God, hard work, love for family and friends, sharing and caring for old and young alike in her community, a generous heat, good food, and use of natural remedies.
She is well respected and loved by her family, and all who know her. She represents kindness, tenacity, determination, tolerance, fearlessness and was a tower of strength. She was blessed with an incredible memory up to 100 years, along with having a flair for detail and many old expressions. She always had the right one to suit the particular occasion.