Norfolk, Va. – There are fewer than 60 people living in the world who can say they are 110 years old or older. And one of those people lives right here in Hampton Roads by the name of Lela Babb Burden.
“I’m not old yet. I’m still a young lady,” said Burden, who turned 111 years old Wednesday.
Burden was born in Southampton County on May 7, 1903, the same time that Theodore Roosevelt was president, the price of a loaf bread was 5 cents, and a stamp was only 2 cents. She later moved to Norfolk, raised by her aunt and uncle.
“The first school I went to was Queen’s Street school called Smallwood, which was on Queen’s Street, which is Brambleton Avenue today,” said Burden.
She lived through the Great Depression and even voted in the 2012 Presidential Election. Burden left school when she was in the 4th grade, but Burden did not let that stop her. Even now, at 111 years old, she reads the newspaper every day. And she’s smart as a whip, even remembering the year the Titanic sank.
“I guess the one thing that I’ve learned is just to persevere in anything that you want to try to accomplish. If you put God first in your life, you can come through anything,” said Brenda Gunn, Burden’s great great great niece.
While Burden says there is no secret to living all these years, she says it’s all about faith.
“We’re here on God’s will, not ours,” said Burden.
To help celebrate Burden’s birthday, family and friends gathered at the Lake Taylor Transitional Care Hospital in Norfolk, where she lives, to have cake and ice cream.
The ice cream was provided by Doumar’s of Norfolk. Doumar’s is known for selling ice cream in the world’s first waffle cone. Burden is older than the waffle cone.