Real People, Real Stories: 100-year-old eats chocolate every day, loves life

( -- A question: If you could, would you want to live until the age of 100? After you meet Anna Sammartino your answer would be: "Absolutely."

Sammartino is the matriarch of Phillips Candy House and just celebrated her one-hundredth birthday. She says the secret to a long life is the right attitude and a little chocolate.

"I have to eat chocolates every day," laughs Sammartino.

She's feisty, sharp as a tack and never stops smiling or laughing.

"What is there to get crotchety about? I love my reading. I love my crossword puzzles. I love existing. I love talking and I am so grateful," says Sammartino.

Her parents, Philip and Concettina started making candy in the basement of their Revere home. Eventually, they moved the business to Dorchester. Her father made the centers. Her mother dipped them in chocolate. Anna and her brother packed them all up for sale. It's where Anna learned about life and hard work.

"Of course I loved working with my father. He always had a joke. He made light of working," said Sammartino. "Oh God, I love him. I miss him so much. I still close my eyes and I can hear him say different jokes he used to tell me."

"We were more quality minded than you people are today," Sammartino quips. "Today it's anything goes. Just like those peppermint patties. I would never let them go out to the store if they weren't perfect. They have to be perfect."

It's that attitude that made Sammartino so successful and a great teacher of life.

"Smile. Smile and the world smiles with you. Cry and you cry alone."

Sammartino said she's grateful for everything," Why shouldn't I be. God's been so good to me?"