SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) – More than 100 family, friends, well-wishers and literary lovers attended the recent book launch of Love is Forever… the true tale of love and romance shared between 100-year-old Carmen Eleanore Hodge Carrington and Mr. Ralph Gordon Carrington.

Love is Forever… written by #1 Bestselling author Dr. N. Erna Mae Francis Cotton, is a labour of love and respect to her dear friend of over 25 years, Mrs. Carmen C. as she’s affectionately called. The enthralled and inspired guests were treated to a literary evening filled with love, laughter, music and the warmth of friends, and loved ones.           

St. Martin’s King of Sax, Connis Vanterpool opened the evening as he serenaded the audience with his beautiful renditions of love songs which soothed and relaxed them. Well known candy lady Candy, confessed that she came to get her book and leave, but was so inspired by the ambience and captivated by the music, that she decided to stay.           

MC Rosa Richardson had the audience in stitches with her witty punch lines; and captivated them with her reading of choice passages of Love is Forever… which motivated them to get the book. Mrs. Carmen C. at 100 years was alert, fully switched on and visibly enjoyed the evening’s proceedings. She was seen laughing, blushing and simply in the moment as her story was colourfully read by MC Rosa Richardson. Mrs. C. even signed a few books during the book signing.           

One of the highlights of the evening was Don Froston’s rendition of “When I Fall in Love,” by Nat King Cole, played masterfully on the bottle neck trumpet; the instrument on which he first learned how to play the trumpet. The audience was mesmerized by his rendition.           

Mrs. Carrington’s daughter, Iona Carrington and great granddaughter Jeanee Stuart, accompanied by Jenessa M. Cunningham, Mrs. C’s great-great granddaughter travelled from the United States for this memorable occasion. Both shared their gratitude in having their mother and great grandmother still alive at 100.           

Author Mr. Gerard Van Veen shared some of Mrs. Carmen C.’s rich family history, especially of her father, Joseph Emanuel Richardson Baley, of St. Martin, known in his day as “The Father of the people.” He was chosen at 18 to work in the Mairie. At age 22 he was promoted as the Municipal Secretary and served the community in this capacity for fifteen years; while still farming and advancing husbandry on St. Martin. The grandmother of Mrs. C., Carmen Richardson, was a talented and artistic person, born in Rambaud in 1845 and was famous for her dancing and interest in music. She also taught young girls how to dance the ponum.           

Lady Ruby Bute, Poet, Artist, local cultural icon and cousin of Mrs. C. brought the house down with a phenomenal reading of her poem, Love is Forever… inspired by the book.           

Francis Cotton, ended the evening by taking the audience on a personal journey within to imagine their lives, relationships and the world where we truly love and respect each other. She thanked all who contributed to making the evening a memorable one, especially Mrs. C. for sharing her story and legacy of love. She presented Mrs. C. with a beautiful edible bouquet by Kyla Marrishaw. Edible bouquets were also presented to her parents Oswald and Kathleen Francis, for their seeds of love over the years; MC Rosa Richardson, also her mother-in-law, and her loving husband Roy Cotton, Jr. for his support and being her # 1 cheer leader.

Motor World’s General Manager Melvin Abreu extended well wishes to Mrs. C. and Francis Cotton on the launching of Love is Forever… Francis Cotton thanks Motor World’s management for contributing the venue and support in helping to make the launch a success.             

Love is Forever… is sold out and a new order will be made on August 26th. Persons interested in ordering their copies may do so by calling 1-721-524-8731; or visiting

Minister of Culture Youth and Sports Mr Wycliffe Smith greeting Mrs C.

Mrs C. holds book next to author Erna Mae Francis Cotton with her daughter Iona Carrington and neice Bernadine Van Veen standing.

Author Erna Mae Francis Cotton signs book of former Lieutenant Governor of St. Maarten Ralph Richardson.



Source: Souliga Newsday…-sold-out-book-launch-a-great-success&Itemid=451