This Is What Friendship Looks Like at 100

From childhood to their centennial year, these three have been through it all

How long have you known your oldest friend? Ruth Chatman Hammett, Gladys Ware Butler and Bernice Grimes Underwood have known each other for nearly 100 years. The three best friends, who’ve attended church together since they were children and all have summer birthdays, recently celebrated turning 100 at a big party that drew national attention.

The party, held at Zion Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., was bittersweet. Another lifelong friend, Leona Barnes, had passed away just two months shy of the party. A story in The Washington Post described the festivities, which included birthday wishes from hundreds of people, videos honoring each centenarian and a video message from none other than Oprah.

I have no regrets. I'm just happy; I've had a good life.

— Bernice Grimes Underwood

The three women, who chat almost every day on the phone, have come together to mourn the loss of husbands, children and friends. They’ve witnessed a century’s worth of history: women getting the right to vote, race riots, the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., the election of Barack Obama. Through it all, they’ve continued to see each other at church every Sunday.

“I have no regrets,” Underwood told The Washington Post. “I’m just happy; I’ve had a good life.”

Check out the video below and read the article here.

By Amy Knapp
Amy was formerly the associate digital editor for Next Avenue. She previously was an editor for InnoVision Health Media's consumer publicationNatural Solutions Magazine.  

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