What if you were born on February 29, a day like today that only comes around once every four years? Do you age four times slower, or do you just have less fun because you only get to party it up every four years? I’ve always wondered how that would go. Here’s one woman’s story. (Oh, and Happy Leap Day!)
Tillie Iverson is observing her 24th birthday Friday — at the age of 96.
Family members from as far away as Florida, Ohio, Nevada and North Carolina are helping her celebrate her Leap Year birthday. Iverson was born in 1912 on Feb. 29, a date that only comes around every four years. Like others born on that date, she has sometimes marked her birthday on Feb. 28 and sometimes on March 1.
“It depended on what day of the week it was and what fit the best,” Iverson said. “Someone might have been too busy one day, so we’d do it another day.”
But she still feels a little cheated as a Leap Day baby. “I didn’t enjoy it at all,” she said. “The day before, that’s not my birthday. And the day after, that’s not my birthday either. I’ve been shorted on birthdays.” Iverson, whose husband died in 1993, helped deliver 42 babies over the years as a midwife. She kept a scrapbook with information on the infants. “We’d get up in the morning and she’d be boiling her instruments on the kitchen stove, and she’d tell us about the baby she had delivered,” said Evelyn Maloney, one of four surviving siblings. Two others have died.
Iverson lives in an apartment in Chippewa Falls where she still handles many of the daily chores of life, with help from Maloney, who visits often.