THE HEADLINE is love of each.
The story is devotion to each other.
Cheryl and Rommel Skeete are the friendly husband-and-wife newspaper vendors who you can’t get away from on the Searles Road, Christ Church route. One sells to the westbound traffic, the other to east bound motorists.
But theirs is more than paper love.
That Cheryl and Rommel sell newspapers side by side is just a fraction of what this loving couple share.
The tale of their lives is a love story that they believe was penned in Heaven.
They met 35 years ago as employees of the same company. Rommel would later admit that from the moment he first saw the former student of Ellerslie Secondary School, he was smitten.
Five years after their first meeting, they consummated the relationship in marriage – a union which produced one son. Twenty-two years ago they became born-again Christians together; were baptised together and received into fellowship at the same church, together. Today, they are both active in church ministry.
Rommel, who admits to being the passive one in the union, spoke about having love and respect for his wife and of a marriage built on “doing almost everything together.”
“It is definitely God who has brought us together and who is keeping us.
“I was a bachelor before I met her. When God brought her into my life, it was turned around. I used to be with friends, drinking and partying, but all that changed when I met her. She is the go-getter in the marriage,” he said.
Each weekday, this husband and wife team leave their Christ Church home in the early hours of the morning to give travellers who whiz by an early dose of daily news.
While she has been doing this full-time for the past 13 years, he sold newspapers part-time for ten years and has been selling full-time for the past three.
The Skeetes’ life of togetherness was even borne out in the decision Cheryl made when she left her former place of work 15 years ago. Sometime later, she shared with Rommel a desire to sell newspapers to help keep her occupied. Unknown to her, he went into The NATION’s Fontabelle, St Michael offices and completed the necessary paperwork on her behalf.
“At first I was hesitant but I went ahead and made the arrangements anyway,” Rommel confessed.
Interestingly enough, he began to sell newspapers during his vacation in an area that allowed people travelling from Lowlands, Lead Vale, Coverley and Coral Ridge to see him and make their purchases. Their first day and weeks on the job were not the best.
However, over time, “a clientele started to build up”.
“When I started selling newspapers, I was actually on vacation. After that, she would go out on her own and I would only sell with her during my vacation,” the former St Leonard’s School student added.
When Rommel retired three years ago after 38 years of employment, he took up his position on a permanent basis across the street from his wife.
According to Cheryl, on average they spend four to five hours Monday to Friday selling newspapers on their chosen route, primarily to people making their way to work.
“We have our regular customers and even though some of them have retired, they still collect papers from us if they are using the route,” Cheryl explained.
“We even have regular, daily customers who will give us an idea of their schedules, let us know when they are travelling and who advise us about their whereabouts,” Cheryl added.
Their customers consist of “a good mix of young and old” who mostly hail from parts of St John, St Philip and Christ Church.
“We will continue to sell newspapers. We enjoy doing everything together and selling newspapers together is one of those things we love to do as a team. When we are out there we meet lots of people and over the years she [Cheryl] has become friendly with quite a number of people,” Rommel declared.
Watching the Skeetes make their newspaper sales in rain or shine is a classic picture of their togetherness. They watch out for each other albeit from opposite sides of the road and always endeavour to greet their customers.
At home, their social life is centred on watching television together, reading the Bible together and of course, spending time in prayer together.
Theirs is definitely not just a marriage on paper.