Blogovus: Genealogy of an Extended Family: Remembering Linnette (Girvan) Cooke


 Coat of Arms of Jamaica


Remembering my mother

Linnette Cooke,

The First



By Lisbeth Cooke Haddad,

Click on the newspaper clipping below to see why Alan Cooke was smitten.


That Girl in The Gleaner!


An  Exchange of Emails


On Saturday, February 7, 2015 Lisbeth wrote in response to a notification of a post published Friday February 6, 2015:

Blessed thanks. Not sure if you have these (sent three photos of her Mom) . 🙂

On Saturday, February 7, 2015, Garry Girvan wrote:

My God! What a beautiful lady was your Mom! Thanks, will include all of these in the last set of posts

Lisbeth’s reply of the same day follows below:

IMG_0446By Lisbeth Cooke Haddad,

February 2015


She never saw herself as such :).



Mummy used to say, “Aunt B (Beryl) is the pretty one. Everyone who came to the home always said that. Why do people always compare family members. This is not right and I do not like it when people do the same thing to my children. But Aunt Beryl is the family beauty”. Guess they all had beauty. Mummy saw herself as the shy one. Aunt B and Mummy were very close sister companions and Aunt B is my godmother. They were close in age so grew up at the same time, attending St Hugh’s High School together. The home at Dunoon Road was purchased so they could go to school in Kingston, under the watchful eye of elder brother Thom, before Papa and Mama retired to Kingston for full residence.

Mummy often shared the delightful memories of herself and Aunt B going out dancing at Springfield, honing what came to be legendary skills for my lovely mother. Another little known bit of trivia about my mum is that she was renowned as a very skilled and fabulous dancer.

Screen shot 2015-02-07 at 12.41.53 PM


The story I really enjoyed and Mummy relished telling, was their trickery over elder brother cum Kingston Dad, stern disciplinarian, elder brother Thom. (Quote from Mummy). Aunt B and Mummy, partners in youthful vigour, having stayed out beyond their stated curfew, walking hurriedly home from glorious swirls around the renowned beautiful wood dance floor, would hear brother Thom’s car coming down Dunoon Road (on his way home from visiting Aunt Rita most likely). This was their cue to hide in the bushes, peek on his progress to park the car, then make a sprint for the house and dart under the covers, before their surrogate father’s usual greeting to Nenen.

Uncle Thom (asks) : “Are the girls home?” . Nenen answers: “Yes dear.”. :). In bed, fully clothed, two young ladies, thank beloved Nenen for the shield…

Apparently mummy was a big time sprinter at St. Hugh’s, winning many an award in track and field at her alma mater. The only running I ever saw her do was after (my brothers) Allie and Pat (Alister and Patrick), brandishing the broomstick after they busted the flower pot playing cricket. Her skills were no match for their fleet bare feet.

The songs in the Anglican hymnal are near and dear to my heart, as I never hear them but hear Mummy’s beautiful voice raised in praise in Church on Sundays. In contra distinction to her usual shrinking from public scrutiny, in church, Mummy never cared to just “be”, no matter who could hear her. Voice lessons offered her as a youth were consistently declined, as in her words, she was too shy.


Uncle Thom (David Thom McWhinnie Girvan, Linnette’s older breother)

Uncle Thom, one evening, attempting to impress friends with his sister’s talents, insisted she perform for them. Mummy says she was so mad that she was given zero option, she belted out the song, “Valencia”. Every time she got to the word “Valencia”, she would throw her arms wildly and dramatically up and outstretched from one side to the other, in full bodied movement. That was her moment of ultimate defiance. It worked, and she took the ensuing wrath of elder brother for naught after the guests were safely out of earshot. He never asked her to perform again. She won that round. 🙂

Aunt G (Gloria) tells of Mummy’s literary prowess. Allan Cooke came to call on Mummy, (aka Miss Girvan) for the first time. Aunt G was in hiding behind the curtain separating the living room from the dining room, listening in as little sisters are wont to do. The conversation went like this: “Miss Cooke, what Shakespeare do you Like?” Aunt G from her hiding place scrunches up her face, taut with tension, eyes squeezed shut and silently prays, “Think Linnette, think!” Linnette came up with an appropriate answer and Aunt G released tension. Aunt G always told this story with great pride in her big sister who passed the test that night and eventually made this Shakespearian aficionado her husband and Daddy to Alister, Patrick and Lisbeth, me. Yay!



Click on photo to magnify. (Editor’s note: Shakespeare had nothing to do with Alan’s decision!)

Memorial to Alan and Linnette Cooke

Memorial to Linnette  and Alan Cooke

Post Scriptum: Garrymy goodness, this is totally unpremeditated :). I was simply responding to the “beauty” word, and here I have given you an epistle. 🙂 Please use whatever of this you may like. Late…bedtime…

Lots of love to you both. Lisbeth.

High Steppin' Cousin Lisbeth

Another Milady steps


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