Born: 10.7.1939 | Died: 25.12.2015 | Aged 75
Our Mother, Margaret White, was the youngest of eight children born to Moxi White and Olive White (nee McKenzie). Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, Mum was always proud to elaborate on the fact that she was a “true Kingstonian”.
Mum was affectionately known as “Tee”, “Aunty” and “Sarah” to her friends and beloved family. Mum was truly blessed; she was mother to Patsy, Michael, Sharon, Simon and Mark, grandmother to 21children, great grandmother to 30and great, great grandmother to two. Growing up in Jamaica, Mum had many a beau vying for her attention, but they lost out to Lloyd Stephenson who mum always referred to as “Lloydie”, her first love. Mum and Lloyd had their first child Pauline, better known as Patsy in 1954. Unfortunately Lloyd died in the Kendal Railway Train Crash in Jamaica in September 1957. Mum was devastated. She searched for Lloyd’s body over several days and like many others that died that fateful day, his body was never found. At the time Mum was pregnant with her second child and the added stress resulted in her losing the baby.
Eric Scott (Lord Koos) or “Keat” as mum called him, stepped in and was a tremendous support to Mother and daughter. Mum and Lord Koos had a romance that was undescribable. They fed off of each other and couldn’t do without one another, where you saw one the other was not too far behind. This strengthened their relationship and as a result their union produced three more children, Michael, Sharon and Simon.
In June 1960, Mum came to England with the young Michael aged 9 months. Mum’s sister, Aunty Joyce had helped mum financially to come to England and Aunty Joyce secured a position for her at the Cumberland Hotel in London. Mum worked hard and out of herwages paid back her fare to Aunty Joyce at 2 shillings and 6p a week. Mum not only paid back Aunty Joyce but within a year of her being in England she was determined and able to send for her daughter Patsy. Mum had numerous jobs which included working at Lyons Tetley in Greenford.
Broken biscuits and ice lollies were a perk of the job; however, this was the cause of many disputes as Michael would fight the rest of us for them as he wanted to make money from it by running his own tuck shop business at school. From here Mum had several other jobs before securing employment with the London Borough of Hackney remaining there until she retired. Even though she worked hard there was always time for the family.
Unfortunately, in 1970 after many years together, the marriage to Lord Koos broke down and mum left West London and moved to North London to live with her brother Joseph and his family. Mum concentrated on her children and it’s whilst living there that mum met Kenneth Swaby better known as (Blue) and this union resulted in her last child, Mark.
Mum was extremely hard working and as some of you will know, liked the finer things in life. After retiring, Mum was able to indulge in some of her favourite pastimes, which included a flutter at the bookies and when she told us that “she soon come” or that she “jus gaan down de road” that was where she went, even going as far as taking a dislike to Lester Piggott.
She was adamant that he was “too teef” and that “him only want fe win when him want fe win”. Mum was also known as the Ludi Queen and many a Friday night the house would be filled with friends who would not only come for the good food but leave with their pockets much lighter as she always trumped her opponents.
Her skills on the Ludi board were second to none and her “take no prisoner attitude” was passed onto her granddaughter, Natalie, entrusting her with her precious Ludi board which had been made personally for her in 1978. Simon, however, did ask for the board but Mum insisted that“as him wasn’t good at playing Ludi, it did betta fede red gyal fe have it”. Music played a big part in Mum’s life where she spent several years supporting Lord Koos and his sound, enjoying the weekly dances that were put on. Lord Koos had introduced the tune “Margaret” by Dennis Walks to Mum and pretended that he had spoken to Dennis and he had personally written the tune for her.
Mum had a kind, warm and caring nature and whenever you would visit her, be sure you that wouldn’t leave her presence feeling hungry. You could even do home shopping from Mum’s cupboards as you would be laden with goodies before going home. This would even include clothes from her wardrobe. One thing with mum though, she was a force to be reckoned with and we were all aware of this. Mum did not take to fools gladly, and as little as she was, she could hold her corner in any argument or fight. Growing up with mum we were often threatened “Nuh badda come home and tell me say anybody beat oono”, we knew that losing a fight would result in getting a beating from her. This is one trait that has been passed onto her children and even her grandchildren. mum was always an expert at looking after children taking on board the “rude” grandchildren and bringing them to task.
Mum’s life is like a book and many of us here today are within the pages and chapters of that book. Although Mum’s chapter has ended, the book that she started so long ago will continue and is ongoing as she has done her part.