NC woman celebrates 100th birthday during coronavirus pandemic

ARDEN, N.C. (WTVD) -- Birthdays in the time of social distancing are a little different.

But turning 100 is still worthy of spreading some love, even if you can't give the birthday girl a hug.

Ardenwoods retirement community won't allow visitors these days because of the coronavirus. So Bruce Pope, the son of Hedi Pope, headed to the back porch of his mom's room for a surprise.

"Can I hug him?" Hedi asked before being told no. "Pffftt," she said while sticking her tongue out.

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"We had a big party planned," Bruce told WLOS. "But it's totally appropriate for us not to be around her."

Hedi has led quite a life, owning her own ballet studio, meeting her husband as a pen pal during World War II and even getting to rub elbows with former first lady Betty Ford.

She also said she's learned a few things over the years.

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"You accept what you can't change, and then some of it can be changed and I did that very good."

Her birthday is the latest adventure in an interesting life.

"So she's had a very interesting life, so this is kind of a strange story," said Bruce.
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