VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A Virginia woman is celebrating the start of 2020 with the title of centenarian.
Ethel Brown was born on January 1, 1920, in Lee County, Virginia. Her family has been in the state since 1740.
Over her lifetime, she has lived and traveled to many places, but on Wednesday, she was in Virginia Beach with her family.
"I feel wonderful and I’m happy. I stay happy - that’s one thing that has helped me along, I guess," shared Brown.
Brown says having a big family has also helped her along the years. She has two sons, seven grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and nine great-great-grandchildren, along with friends and other family members who called her to wish her a happy birthday.
"Most of things I’ve been doing is answering the phone. I’ve been getting calls all one after another," laughed Brown.
When it's not her birthday, Brown spends her time doing puzzles, playing cards and games. Not only does she enjoy them, she credits them with keeping her brain sharp.
"Use your mind, play cards, play games, play anything to keep your mind busy and you won’t lose it. If you don’t use it, you lose it," she said with a smile.
The other thing she credits for her long life - healthy eating.
"I ate a lot of fruit all my life, and I still do."
With only one surgery in her lifetime, no illnesses and a sharp mind, she is making big plans for the new year and next year of life.
"I hope I stay healthy and keep a lot of friends. I love everybody; I hope everybody loves me."
According to Brown's family, everyone does love her. It's why they are hosting a large surprise party for her 100th birthday on New Year's Day - but during her interview with News 3, she didn't know it yet.