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Songster Clarke tops 100 with wife

Carlos Atwell

Songster Clarke tops 100 with wife

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One more person has been added to Barbados’ ever-growing list of centenarians. It’s Leslie Gordon Clarke, of Clifden in St Philip.
And, unlike most his age or older, he is still happily married to his wife of 56 years – Lucille, 75.
“We have been married since August 21, 1955, a month before Hurricane Janet,” Lucille said proudly.
She explained that the secret of a long-lived, happy marriage was in knowing when not to speak.
“Marriage is a funny thing; if you don’t plan to keep at it, don’t get into it. Sometimes you have to keep your mouth shut.”
The Clarkes, former cane cutters, worked on the now defunct Guinea Plantation in St Philip. Lucille was also employed at Chapel in St John.
The two raised five children, who in turn gave them five grandchildren.
And yesterday the couple hosted Acting Governor General Elliott Belgrave, who brought centenarian Clarke gifts and best wishes from Queen Elizabeth II.
Clarke said he felt “good” when asked to reminisce on his old cane-cutting days.
“I could cut more than anybody else. If you start before me, I would come and catch yuh,” he said.
Time has now left Clarke dependent on a wheelchair. He is also partially blind and hearing-impaired.
“He don’t go to church now, but sometimes he would start singing – seven to eight hymns straight without a book. Then he would sing some psalms, and his alphabet. He is the only person I know who can sing [the alphabet] forwards and backwards,” she said.