CHARLOTTE HALL, MD — Wearing her tiara proudly, Irene Blade of Maryland recently celebrated her upcoming 104th birthday like a queen, surrounded by family and friends and lots of tea.
“It’s wonderful. You have no idea. It’s the best day of my life,” she said in a video recorded by Shary Chaney, the owner of The Cottage Boutique & Tearoom in Charlotte Hall.
“I thought it was the birth of your daughter!” her daughter quickly shot back with a laugh while everyone enjoyed a tea party in Blade’s honor.
Chaney hosted the surprise tea party for Blade, one her most loyal customers, who she described on Facebook as a “very special lady.”
Blade was born on Feb. 9, 1918, which means she’ll turn 104-years-old in a few days — a milestone only a lucky few ever reach.
Upon first encounter, even strangers are quick to notice Blade’s quick wit and how easily she moves around. She admits, however, Father Time has taken a toll on her body over the years. Neither her vision nor hearing is what it used to be.
“The sad thing is I’m moving into assisted living. I have to give up my home after 60 years, and I’m really going through a hard time with that, but I’m accepting that,” she said in Chaney’s video during the party.
In her time on earth, Blade has lived through numerous pivotal moments in U.S. history- including two pandemics: COVID-19 and the Spanish flu. She’s also lived through the Great Depression, World War I, World War II, the civil rights movement and much more.
She was just 3 years old when women were finally given the right to vote in 1920 thanks to the 19th amendment.
In 1918, as you can imagine, the cost of living was significantly less than it is today. A loaf of bread cost just seven cents, a sirloin steak 25 cents a pound, a dozen of eggs cost 34 cents and a quart of milk just 9 cents, according to the website, Make Change.