Three Washington, D.C. women have proven that you really can be best friends forever: Childhood friends Ruth Hammett, Gladys Butler, and Bernice Underwood just celebrated their 100th birthdays at the same time.
The women were honored in a joint ceremony at Zion Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. this Sunday, the Washington Post reports. All three of the women were born in June or July of 1916 and have been close since childhood. They still speak on the phone almost daily.
Their 90-minute birthday ceremony was attended by hundreds of people and included a half hour video in which the women doled out advice on life and friendship (including brief-but-wise directives like “don’t talk back” and “respect”). A church member with a connection to Oprah Winfrey even arranged for the celebrity to send the women a video message (She wished them “the grandest and greatest” birthday.) Afterwards, the trio went outside for lunch and cake while guests formed a line to offer them birthday wishes.
The women had hoped that they would be celebrating as a group of four: Their friend Leona Barnes died this May, just two months before her 100th birthday. To honour her memory, Hammett, Butler, and Underwood sat with portrait of Barnes during the ceremony.
“This was so exciting and joyful,” Underwood told the Washington Post. “I’ve enjoyed every minute of the celebration.”
The women shared more of their stories with the Washington Post in this video:
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