parents
Sybil & Earle, Dec 2004

My parents, Sybil and Earle, will celebrate their 43rd Wedding Anniversary this year.

I believe the secret to my parents’ marriage is that they work as a team – my parents are the ultimate team.

My father is an attorney-at-law who has a successful conveyancing practice. However, if I had to choose the word to describe my father that would be most fitting it would be "creative." My father is an ideas man. He has a wonderful way of making the most mundane idea become amazingly unique and exciting.

He is an excellent writer and speaker and has an extremely charming personality. Because of this, he is a natural leader. In every group he joins he is quickly selected as the leader and spokesperson.

As a youth he had an interest in journalism, but was concerned that he would not be able to support his family in the profession. Thus, he studied law instead. We share an interest in writing. I inherited the ability to write from my father.

watsons
Sybil & Earle, and daughters (l-r) Roxanne & Kerry (circa 1983)

My mother’s degree was in the languages. She studied Spanish and Latin at the University of the West Indies. After teaching languages in high school for awhile and spending some time as an administrator with the Jamaican government, my mother left the job to manage my father’s legal practice.

Mum is the ultimate administrator – organized, sympathetic to employees and very aware of everything that is happening in my father’s firm.

But my mother is also one of the most naturally intelligent women I know. Musically inclined, she can read the notes but mostly plays the piano by ear. She also has a naturally beautiful contralto voice. She was the only one in her family to go to University. This achievement was important in the context of the time when the access to University and any higher education was scarce for black people whose parents could not afford to pay for them to go to high school.

watson babies
Watson kids (l-r) Kerry, Roxanne & Huntley (circa 1969)

Both my parents got government scholarships to high school. However, while my father was the son of a school teacher who trained him toward the scholarship exam, my mother did not have this strong scholastic support at home.

Notwithstanding this, she earned the first place scholarship for the Parish of St. Ann to attend high school. My father also won the parish scholarship for St. Thomas. Scholarships used to be awarded for each parish in Jamaica on an annual basis between the 1940s and 1960s. In order to win the parish scholarship one had to earn higher grades in a scholarship examination than anyone else in the parish in that year.

Mummy subsequently won a scholarship from St. Andrew High School for Girls to attend the University of the West Indies where she pursued her degree in languages.

My mother is the epitome of the word “female” for me. She is strong and intelligent in her own right, but has always taken seriously her role as helpmeet for my father. Strongly Christian, she has brought her family up with a reverence for God. I have inherited from her, not her brains or her beautiful voice, but her strong faith in God. For me the process has been a little slower. I have had to learn slowly the importance of depending on God for all things. But by observing her faith reaction in times of testing, little-by-little my own faith has grown through the years and I have become a better Christian because of her example.

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