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I could never have imagined that I would be writing this column so soon; not today, not this month, not this year, not even this decade.

I could never have imagined that I would be writing this column so soon; not today, not this month, not this year, not even this decade.

Mommy was not ailing; she was not laid up. She was hale and hearty and active, barring a few complications that are expected as one approaches 84. We had big plans for the celebration of her 84th birthday on February 23. Instead, this past week, our family was making funeral plans, and Mommy was buried yesterday.

Mommy’s boy
Everyone who knows me knows that I have always been a mommy’s boy, and she and I have always shared a special relationship. When she hadn’t seen me for a while, she would call and say: “Martin George, I have forgotten what you look like,” and I would respond and say:
“You see me every week in the papers,” and we would both have a good laugh about it.

logoGreat exemplar
I have written about her and praised her in previous articles for the great exemplar, teacher, mother and guide she was, not just to us her eight children, but also to thousands of other citizens or students who interacted with her, either through her teaching at Scarborough RC School, St Nicholas Primary School, Scarborough RC Church, or Patience Hill RC Church. Her love and devotion to God and her Church were legendary, and she was recognised by Pope John Paul II for it with a personal plaque and certificate. She was actively involved in Legion of Mary, St Vincent de Paul Society, and she ran the religious bookstore at Scarborough Catholic Church.

Tireless worker
Althea Margaret George was a tireless worker who was always reading, seeking knowledge, and imparting knowledge. She taught for a total of 51 years and still did not want to stop, but the family prevailed upon her to take a rest at age 70, when she retired as principal of St Nicholas Primary School. This was after almost 40 years as teacher, vice principal and principal of Scarborough RC School.

Legacy will live on
The students who passed through her care are all over the world now, and many remember the stern, but loving educator, teacher and mother figure who imparted knowledge, values, morals, religion and good character into so many students who have gone on to be leaders, professionals and success stories. Mommy’s legacy will live on, not only in the minds and hearts of so many people, but also in social work she did in helping so many people, including the folks at the Home for the Aged in Tobago.She also published an anthology of her poems and plays and skits, which she wrote during her teaching career. Lots of young students use the book now as a reference guide.

Expected perfection
She travelled extensively, doing many religious pilgrimages and sightseeing tours through Rome, Jerusalem, Yugoslavia, France, and so many other places. She would make each trip an educational experience and a history lesson. She always expected perfection of us as her children, and I recall once in primary school coming first in my test and her quarrelling with me still, and when I asked her what she was quarrelling about, seeing that I had come first in test, she said, “Yes, but look at the handwriting.” That was the way Mommy was. She wanted the best for all her students and pushed them to excel in every way they could. She was one of the old breed of schoolteachers who would give extra lessons for free to students who were lagging behind. She would give lessons on weekends, or she would let the parents drop them off at our home, so that she could give weaker students extra coaching.

All her children
If students were hungry, or did not have anything to eat, she would take her money and buy food for them, because as far as she was concerned, they were all her children. Once they were entrusted to her care as teacher, she felt responsible for them and felt responsible for their all round development, and she did this all while raising eight children, single-handedly, after our dad died in 1973. So Mommy, on behalf of your eight children, Bernadette, Theresa, Bertrand, Ann Marie, Jean, Joan, Lizzi and myself, and on behalf of your thousands of “children” who passed through your hands over the decades, we know that words cannot express just how much we will miss you, but we thank you, we salute you and we applaud you, for what was truly a beautiful life.
Extracted From: Byline Author:
Martin George
Article Date:
Sunday, January 31, 2010



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