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.
So I had another one of my bonfires last night. The idea for these things started when I had the idea to have a Christmas Party last year. I wanted to have a bunch of people over, but didn’t want to deal with having them all in the house and whatnot. So I decided to have it outside. It was cold, so I got some wood and put out the fire pit. I also set up a projector and made a screen of sorts from some fabric and stretched it between two trees to show a movie. It was a big hit. I had about thirty people, a great amount. I did it again for my graduation party, at which about seventy-five people came.
Banking on the popularity and success of the previous gatherings, I decided to try it again this past summer. It was pretty much a flop. It was basically the victim of poor planning on my part. I invited everyone about a week before and had it on the weekend most people were headed off to college. Smooth.
Well, I did it again last night. I originally was going to have the thing before Christmas, but found myself broke and realized that too many people had prior commitments with it being a little more than a week before Christmas and all. So it turned out alright last night I guess. It wasn’t an amazing turnout, but twelve or thirteen isn’t anything to complain about either.
Jen and Allie were there from the beginning, and were pretty much the staples that held the thing together. With the exception of two others, the rest of the guests were high school friends. Just worked out that way. Now I may be quick with a joke or humorous one-liner here and there, but for the most part I’m just not one to be able to keep a party going (I was busy enough doing that with the fire anyway). I guess I figured I was like an air traffic controller or something in the sense that I thought I would get the plane (or in this case the party) started and on the right course and then the thing would naturally take off as people started to talk to each other. Well, it just didn’t really happen. I think the biggest problem is I have so many different groups of friends in a lot of different places, from all walks of life. It’s the same thing when I hang out with people. There’s always some sort of conflict or difference between the groups that prevents things from going as planned.
So anyway it wasn’t any sort of catastrophic failure or anything, I just don’t think I’m going to try and do the whole bonfire thing again. There’s just too much of an assortment of people that don’t seem to mix well together for some reason. I think I’ll stick to my close-knit group of friends when it comes to these types of gatherings in the future.
So after five paragraphs you’re probably wondering when the revolutionary stuff the title of this post hints at is going to show itself. Well, it’s nothing revolutionary or anything. Pretty basic. I think this whole thing has shown me that I’ve kind of moved on. See, living at home while in college thus far has caused me to straddle myself between Deep Run and VCU, at least friend-wise. There are a lot of Seniors I’m still friends with, and at the same time I have my college friends as well. The only ones I really keep up with lately are Winston, Jenn, and Lizzy. Me and them do lunch/dinner and stuff from time to time, but for the most part with everyone else I guess I’ve just moved on. It can be expected I guess. I guess you can get this mental picture of what your life looks like and then you see it physically (like last night) and you realize it’s completely shifted in a different direction and changed a lot.
I think I need to get a place to truly feel like I’m in college. It just sort of feels like I’m taking some classes right now doing the whole commuting thing. It’s time I get into this thing all the way.
Anyway, I think another thing this bonfire taught me about life is that we never think things are as good as the first time we do them. We never think Christmas, for the most part, is as special or magical as when we were kids. It’s all because we have this idea in our heads about what we think the perfect event, holiday, etc. is supposed to be like based on past events. Things change. That’s life. It’s tough to do sometimes, but we need to realize that change is a part of life and new traditions can be formed even if the old ones don’t work out anymore. This is another thing that happened at my party (having so many people come before) and it’s just something that really says a lot about life in general.
Who knew a simple gathering with friends could be a metaphor for so many things in life?