SANDRA L BLOOD
The St. Theresa’s R.C. Church situated at 6th Avenue, Malick, Barataria, Trinidad was graced with the family, relatives, friends, and other loved ones of Lorna Rogers-Corbie on December 9 at 10am, to celebrate her rich, inspiring, fun-loving, fulfilled, culturally-infused life. The celebration was officiated by Deacon Terrence Cezair.
Loaned to the earth on April 24, 1939, she was taken back on December 3, 2023 where she would have been welcomed by her parents De Wilton Rogers and Pearl Alleyne, first two children Patti and Sharon, and husband Gilbert Corbie – ardent long-serving parang musician and singer.
Among her trail of relatives, Lorna is survived by her sole full sibling, Mona “Bunny” Goddard; paternal siblings: Roger Rogers and Juditha Fitzwilliams, and her generations:
two last children, Denyse and Johann; grandchildren, Toya-Mae, Jason, Damien, Emmanuel and Kristoff, and great-grandchildren J’Kobe and Niré.
Deacon Cezair said the only way we can demonstrate love is we must be connected to the source of God. He drew reference to how Lorna treated people:
“She demonstrated first and foremost, love.” He apprised, “It is a privilege to be children of God” and asked, “If we are children of God, how do we demonstrate it?”
This calibre of life was painted throughout the eulogy on Lorna that was penned and delivered by her first grandchild, Toya-Mae McIntosh (Toya), who made it quite clear that “Lorna was always willing to make sacrifices for everybody,” stressing: “EVERYBODY!”
“I was always in my granny’s place, space and face, and I don’t think two days ever passed without me seeing me. My granny was so important to me, I’m sure she knew it,”
so it goes without say, that Toya knew her granny Lorna, inside-out.
Toya said she recalls her granny as being born to midwife (nurse) Pearl Alleyne and sociologist and headmaster (school principal) De Wilton Rogers, and being sibling to Mona “Bunny” whom she (Toya) loved calling sister-sister or Bim & Bam; a sister with whom she shared 84 years of love and closeness. She also recalled her granny’s other siblings, Roger, and Juditha (mother of T&T’s second Miss Universe, Wendy Fitzwilliam), from her granddad’s other union.
Regarding Lorna and Bunny, Toya said she always absorbed their unconditional love for each other that was so strong. “Do not call aunty Bunny and complain on granny. That never worked.” This drew laughter from the mourners.
Lorna D Dancer Gyirl:
“Granny loved socializing and never stopped loving as well. Mummy (Patti) used to pull her along to gatherings and events, much to her delight. She loved going dancing. Granny would always tell me how much she wished there was a way she could’ve recorded herself dancing back in the day. From stories told to me by her and others, she was ‘D Dancer Gyirl’. She told me when she walked the streets, people would point and say, ‘look d dancer gyirl’.”
To the approval of many mourners via nodding their head, Toya unraveled her granny’s story of uncle Russel (Russel Audain) spinning her above his head, passing her around his waist and between his legs without rehearsing. She said Russel would just say, ‘Now!’ – showing off that they were that good.”
Lorna’s selflessness; love-moves:
“Granny raised her daughters single-handedly – an accomplishment oh so well – and loved looking at her creations (daughters) with pride. In the mid-60s granny migrated to NY leaving her children with her mom – a love move – one with sacrifice and heartbreak in the name of betterment. She landed a job at General Cigar Company. She followed the trendy styles of fashion. I heard about the miniskirts granny wore to work. Mummy told me while being in NY for summer, she woke up early to look at granny dress for work daily; admiring her styles.”
“By 1971 granny returned to T&T leaving everything in NY behind – another of her love moves. Her mother passed away and leaving everything she worked for was nothing hard for her to do. She came to honour her mother at her funeral and return to her children. I said to myself, ‘Lorna you had a fire and lost everything.’ That’s what she told herself – a sacrificial type of love; always willing to give of herself for anybody. Aunty Bunny always talked about how willing granny used to be; to wake up every morning to comb her hair for her. Yup! Daz granny.”
Lorna and music:
“Granny still had a record collection she brought back from NY – Glover Washington, Quincy Jones, Pharoah Sanders, Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone. The jazz enthusiast didn’t know that she was fueling her first born Patti, to become one of the best jazzists that T&T would ever see.
“Granny met her husband Gilbert “Gilly” Corbie in early 1970s and had her only son – her ‘sonshine’ Johann – and stories uncovered are that his sisters fought to take care of him; a blended family taught to love each other.”
Toya learned compatibility:
“As a young woman, I took note of the importance of compatibility in a union from looking at theirs. Their humour, their relation, and their communication had a flow to it. So much so that granny discovered a hidden talent she had – shaking the maraca. Alongside her parrandero, granny played the maraca next to him strumming the guitar on stages with Robert Munroe and Friends, some of which have been aired on television and still being aired at times.”
Lorna was a safety reassurance:
“I never really had a problem that panicked me because I was always very sure I had that granny up the Malick hill, and the time I spent with her allowed me to truly understand her. We had lots of conversations. On my visits, I followed her around the house and we would chat. She hated my phone to distract me. ‘Oh gosh, you sick with that phone!’ or ‘nah nah, I done talk’.”
Lorna’s last three months:
An emotional Toya revealed that over the last months of Lorna’s life, she was at her home as caretaker/giver.
“It was truly an honour. There was a strength in granny that I always knew, but in her sickness, it was even more apparent. Granny had the ability to tap in and invoke an inner strength to become what she needed to become to endure and overcome. I saw it in her acceptance of losing her two daughters, and again in her sickness.”
Proud of the power rangers:
Toya described the manner in which her granny’s surviving children Denyse, Johann, and herself and her aunty Bunny teamed-up to ensure Lorna’s needs and wants were met. She paralleled their tenacity to that of the Power Rangers
Toya thanked her “aunty June – a friend indeed for her soups. Wayne for rallying through the hard nights with them – his ability to calm Lorna. Ylendon Wattley, Babaju, Mariana Wattley-Smith, Chris Romany, aunty Juditha for having prayed for her over the phone, uncle Wolly, aunty Shirley from overseas, and aunty Cheryl.”
Most of all:
“My son J’kobe: your daily roles in taking care of granny – your great-granny – and last but not least, my fiancée Stephen who has been right on spot and took half of my load for me – full support and dedication.”
For and on behalf of the family, Toya then thanked all the well-wishers who had Lorna and the family in prayers.
“Fly high granny. Rest in peace. (I’m) carrying you with me forever.”