While the rest of us were filing our tax returns last week, our Aunt Lottie was turning 109 years old. This is not a misprint. This is true. It’s freaking biblical. Lottie Stern does not wear glasses or a hearing aid. She only uses the walker to get down to the dining room. She entertains visitors frequently with hors-d’oeuvres and chocolates, and if they’re family, she will pull out the particular family albums that relate to them.

Aunt Lottie now lives at Fox Hill in Westwood, MA, but first went there when she was in her 90’s as a volunteer “to help the old people.” She was born Monday, April 15, 1901, the same day Einstein wrote a love letter to Mileva Maric, and just 5 months before President William McKinley was assassinated. Lottie told us stories about riding to Nantasket Beach in a horse and buggy, and changing into her bathing costume in the carriage. She remembers the stack of nickels next to the payphone in her house that were used to make telephone calls.

On Sunday there was a big birthday party–for her daughter Joan. Joan just turned 80.

I once asked Lottie the secret to her longevity. She said, “Oh, I don’t know dear. When I open my eyes every morning I just say, thank God.”