Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 08, 2020 (SKNIS): Vernon Connor of Soho Village has turned 100 years old today May 08, making him the oldest male within the federation.
On his special day, the Ministry of Community Development, Gender Affairs and Social Services has extended Birthday greetings to Mr. Connor. “Congratulations on becoming a centenarian Mr. Connor,” said the ministry.
Vernon Roy Connor was born on the island of Anguilla on Thursday, May 8, 1920, to Wilfred Josiah Connor and Dorothy Brooks Connor. In a quest to create a life for himself, he travelled by boat to the Dominican Republic and to other neighbouring islands.
Vernon was 18 when he journeyed to and stayed in St. Thomas for three years. When there was no work in St. Thomas, all the aliens were sent home. He went back to Anguilla for six years. At age 27, he migrated to St. Kitts in search of work. He stayed with Auntie Richards. Her husband got him a job packing up bagasse, weeding the field, and spreading manure at Ponds Estate. His week’s pay was 10 shillings ($2.50).
In January 1950, he started work at the St Kitts Sugar factory as a painter and a member of the railway yard gang. He was promoted for his good work. He became understudy to persons going on leave and would fill in in their absence. When one of the clerks passed in 1954, he was given a permanent job as a clerk in the railway office. During the dull seasons, he would paint all the line gate signal stations and sign boards. Also, for three years, he was supervisor of the railway cleaning gang. He retired in 1990, after working for 40 years at the Sugar Factory.
Vernon met Esther Alvira Henry while residing with his sister, Auntie Sutton. Auntie Sutton was renting a downstairs apartment from Esther’s mother, Ida Henry (whom we called Sister).
It was there he met Esther who was 13 at the time. He used to give her notes in a match box. ‘Twas quite a love story!
In 1954, they got married. They each had seven (7) children: six (6), they shared as husband and wife, and eight (8), as a family. They are Winifred, Hilton, Leslie, Joycelyn, Asheila, Rudolph, Errol and Steadroy.
They had planned to travel after raising their children, but in 1971 she died at age 37. Her last words to him were, “Please take care of my children, and do not let anyone take advantage of them. He promised, not knowing that she was preparing to leave. He has kept his promise up to this day. He believes she was the one and the only one. He discovered that he could never find another like her. In deference to her wishes, he did not get into any serious relationship, nor did he remarry.