On the day Emeline Augusta Stoute was born, a lightning strike in the Canadian province of Ontario ignited a forest fire that destroyed two towns, killing 233 people.
With days of her birth, the British soldier Robert Baden-Powell published the handbook that established the basis of the junior section of the Scout movement, and weeks later, the first 40-hour workweek officially began.
Stoute was 15-years-old when Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave was born and yesterday, she was delighted to be joined by Sir Elliott at the Living Waters Community Hall, in St David’s, Christ Church for the celebration of her 100th birthday.
She was all smiles and full of joy at her birthday party, attended by family members, friends and loved ones.
Dressed in a cream suit, the bright-faced centenarian stood strongly to greet the Governor General when he arrived, and firmly shook his hand.
Though soft spoken, Stoute engaged the Governor General in a lengthy conversation about her five children – all of whom are still alive – and how she planned to celebrate the rest of her birthday.
Those gathered were thoroughly impressed with her ability to read the birthday cards delivered to her by Sir Elliott on the behalf of the Queen. She read them with ease and smiled broadly as she processed the words.
Following her meeting with the Governor General, Stoute was given a chariot ride around the community, much to her delight.
Her son David said it is what she would have done in her younger years.
He told Barbados TODAY apart from slight problems with her short-term memory, his mother was in good health and still tried to be independent.
“Obviously age has taken its toll on her but besides that she is fine. She still does her crossword puzzles everyday and loves to eat,” he said.
How life has changed in the 100 years since she was born! She has lived through the invention of the hair dryer, the electric kettle, the artificial heart and the pacemaker. There’s been the birth of the Internet, the arrival of the smartphone, artificial intelligence and virtually reality.
Stoute is thankful that she has been around to see it all. Yet, amid all the changes in the world, two things in her world remained constant – her love for dancing and her passion for eating.
“Once the music plays I can still do a little something. I love to dance,” she told Barbados TODAY.
“Whatever you cook that is good I would eat some, but I really like ham,” she added with a laugh.
In her younger years, Stoute worked as a maid on plantations and as a clerk at Super Centre, now Massy Stores Ltd.
Apart from her five children- three boys and two girls – she has 16 grandchildren, 23 great-grand and 14 great great-grandchildren.