This leap year baby is about to turn 92 -- or is it 23?

Mary Ann Thomas, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on

Published in Lifestyles

PITTSBURGH — If Ethel Jean "E.J." Bergad Bonder hits the lottery, she plans to buy a Porsche for her granddaughter because they will both turn 23 years old this year.

Yep, Ethel was born on Feb. 29, 1932, and will technically turn 23 Thursday. She's a leap year baby.

The Gregorian calendar is based on 365.25 days — the amount of time it takes for the Earth to orbit the sun, according to NASA. Most years, the calendar is rounded off and every fourth year, an extra day is added in February for accuracy.

Ethel, who will turn 92 — counting every year since she was born — owns items from many eras.

Her Lower Burrell living room is decorated with durable furniture, some from relatives, some from local stores, like a soft pink couch. "It was much darker but it has faded after 25 years," she said.

Her home reflects the nonagenarian's storied and proud life. But one of her legacies never sat right — being a leap-year baby.


"I was angry because I didn't have a birthday when I was a kid," she said. "I told them I wasn't born in March."

There were always celebrations, but she was the birthday girl without an actual birthday most years.

Now her three children and nine grandchildren enjoy calculating her age in leap years and celebrating when they are the same age.

Later this year, granddaughter Zoe Spodek, of O'Hara, will turn 23 along with her leap-year grandmother.


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