At 90, Mrs Dow Takes a Bow

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Caption: Hyacinth Seemoy Dow relaxing at Top O’ Tobago Villa & Cabanas in Arnos Vale, Tobago last week

By Sue-Ann Wayow

AT 90-years-old, Hyacinth Seemoy Dow is as strong as ever celebrating her birthday with song and dance, surrounded by family and close friends. 

She was born in 1934 to parents, mainly of Chinese descent, in Port of Spain.

Although April 8 was the actual day, a grand party in celebration was held at Crews Inn Hotel and Yachting Centre in Chaguaramas on April 5.

With Dow, fondly called Auntie Seemoy, were her children who all live in Canada: Larry Dow, Camille Dow Baker, Lisa Date and Jennai Ayers, her grandchildren, great grandchildren, nephews, nieces, other relatives and friends. 

Dow, the sixth child of 12 children, was also joined in by her three surviving younger brothers, Peter, Kenny and Ronald Wayow. 

Hyacinth Seemoy Dow, seated third from left, surrounded by her many family members and friends at her 90th birthday party held at Crews Inn Hotel and Yachting Centre in Chaguaramas

Her maiden name Wayow changed to Dow when she married Alphonso Dow who has passed on.

The event in celebration of Dow’s influence and inspiration to many was also a family reunion as relatives came from Canada, the US, UK, France, Australia, Brazil and Venezuela to all wish Dow a happy birthday and to spend extra time with their friends and family in Trinidad and Tobago, the first reunion of its kind since 2017.

A special song was created for Dow, “Take a bow, Mrs Dow” by her nephew Carl Rajack while Larry Dow created videos using timeless photos of the family.

Entertainment was also provided at that event by singer Tricia Lee Kelshall.

Larry Dow issued special thanks for all who took the time to make his mother’s day extra special.

“She is truly lucky and blessed to be surrounded by family and friends who took the time and some travelled for such great distances in an effort to make her day such a special, memorable one,” he told AZP News.

Larry Dow added, “What memories we already have after meeting our family and friends (for some) after nearly seven years. Everyone I spoke to, has expressed their appreciation for being able to participate in such a memorable event.”

He also praised the staff at Crew Inn since the event was being planned for quite some time before the actual day.

“The venue was great, the food was excellent, the entertainment and music was superb and most importantly, the ambience with the family and friends was beyond belief. Kristopher Thomas, of Crews Inn, who for months helped us organise the seamless order of the party. Being thousands of miles away and not being able to see the venue closeup, Kristopher took the time and patience to explain and send photos,” Larry Dow said.

Camille Dow Baker says her mother was a pioneer. At a time, when few girls went to secondary school, Dow attended St Joseph’s Convent, San Fernando, and learned how to swim and received her driver’s license.  

After married women were allowed to attend Teachers’ Training College, she attained her teaching certificate and there she was hailed as the ‘women’s ping pong champion’.  

She taught at many schools across Trinidad and maintained a close friendship with her past pupils some of whom attended her birthday party.

“Not often in our lives does someone very special come along, someone like Mrs Dow whose calm, pleasant aura, puts you at ease and reminds you that amidst all the chaos, God is still here, manifesting himself in beautiful people like her,” was the opening statement of one of Dow’s former students, Suzette from the class of 1975.

Dow ended her formal teaching career as principal of Western Boys RC Primary in Port of Spain. 

Hyacinth Seemoy Dow in her younger years

Although born in the capital city, Dow lived in several areas in Trinidad including Williamsville, where she grew up, Point Fortin – when she taught at a school in that area and she has eventually settled back in Port of Spain in St. Ann’s.

She continues to teach the younger generation by providing good advice whether they listen or not. 

Her advice to having a long successful life is, “Work hard. Work, keep busy, don’t just sit down and do nothing.”

Dow is grateful for life itself and the ability to be able to move around freely. Taking her vitamins and supplements daily also help Dow who does not have any sort of illnesses. 

Taking her own advice by keeping busy, Dow spends her time, gardening, reading – making sure she is up to date with the latest news and playing sudoku. 

Camille Dow Baker says, “We have never known our mother to be sad or defeated. She is almost always happy, singing away or dancing with enthusiasm at some family event.”

Dow ended her celebrations in Tobago last week staying with a smaller group of family and friends at Top O’ Tobago Villa & Cabanas located in Arnos Vale.

Larry Dow also complimented the staff at that villa for the exceptional service the family received.

Dow spent the time  singing, dancing, relaxing and sharing stories just as her daughter said she would do.

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