BORN in 1924, Enid Taylor Grant-Heady celebrated her 95th birthday on March 7 and gave her secret to long life.
"Let go of things in the world and hold on to Jesus; pray and always be thankful," she advised young people.
Celebrating with her family at her home in Mt Pelier Trace, Scarborough, she said, “I can’t believe I am 95 years, the time went by so quickly.” Nearing her century, Grant-Heady has no health problems and boasted she has no need to take any type of medication.
As Grant-Heady recalled unforgettable moments in her life, she was unable to contain her joy. She smiled and touched her face as she spoke of her childhood days when she attended Scarborough Methodist school and getting married at the age of 18 in 1942.
She and her first husband Cleophas Grant, who was originally from Plymouth, decided to move to Scarborough and them to Trinidad, when her husband became employed in the oilfields. The couple lived in several areas including Fyzabad, Marabella, Penal and St James. She recalled her mother signing her marriage certificate because the law didn't permit her to do so as a teen.
She was later employed at the Scarborough General Hospital as a nursing assistant. Between 1961 and 1967 she was employed as a cashier then as a supervisor at the Tobago United Co-operative Society Limited, previously located on Carrington street. She furthered her career in nursing at the New Jersey Country Hospital, becoming a certified nursing aide. Although nursing was her career path, Grant-Heady could not ignore the passion for ministering and did so at various nursing homes.
Grant-Heady, the second of three sisters, said she began working for $5 a week in a parlour and vaguely recalled moments from World War II (1939-1945). She said she and her siblings would run and hide under their beds when they heard a whistle warning them of war planes approaching. She said they were afraid that the planes would drop a bomb in the area and would turn off all house lights as precaution.
Grant-Heady, who was married twice, has outlived both her husbands. The mother of Hilton Grant, Jacinth Waldron and Charmine Powder, Grant-Heady is the grandmother of seven and great-grandmother of six.
Her sister and caregiver June Taylor said Grant-Heady's love for children went beyond her own as she opened her heart to all. She migrated to the United States in 1967 and returned in 1987. During her time there she was heavily involved in child evangelism. She became involved in the prison ministry with social worker Sister Cynthia Belle (now deceased) after joining a nearby Seven Days Adventist church.
Recalling the old time days, Grant-Heady said the island was a safe haven and theft was not an issue. Tobago today has changed completely from the way it was, she said. Partying and revelling never amused her as she found her calling in serving God and helping others.
During the interview she was only able to remember snippets of her life, however the memory of her mother remained vivid as she described her as a “great woman.”
She said, “I was very ill as a child and I thought I was going to die. One day I saw a cloud come through the window and I called my mother telling her I was going to die. The cloud came, touched me and all my sickness went. I know that was Jesus. My mother was right in the kitchen, she sang for me and took care of me.”
Grant-Heady said she still enjoys playing the guitar and singing gospel because she feels a deep connection with God.
As she spoke to Newsday, Grant-Heady kept glancing at her watch. Her sister explained she still keeps her life organised, even though all she does is relaxes at home and attends worship service on Saturday at the Mc Kay SDA church. Grant-Heady is routinely up at 5am for a short devotion alone in the living room. She then adheres to a strict daily regimen for breakfast, lunch, dinner and fruits. Every night she goes to bed at 10pm.