My birthday comes once every four years

By Steve Seepersaud

"According to my mother, when I looked at the calendar as a very young boy and could not find Feb. 29, I concluded that the calendar had an error. She broke the news about Leap Day to me gently," said Elliot Orol '77.

The problem, in Orol's case, is that he was born on Feb. 29. This date, which is considered by most people to be a chronological anomaly, is very special to Orol and 70 other Binghamton University graduates. Some of them celebrated a little extra in 2016, making up for the fact that the calendar bypasses their big day three out of every four years.

"Because the 29th is a Monday, we did most of our celebrating on the weekend of the 27th and 28th. We went to a special dinner and followed that with a family brunch on Sunday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art," says Orol, who – to "keep it in the month" – usually celebrates on the 28th, instead of March 1.

Bob Garland '64 is just the opposite, preferring not to celebrate during the month of February in non-leap years. This year, he and his wife, Barbara (Schwartz) Garland '65, celebrated with their younger son and his family at home on Feb. 28. On his actual birthday, they'll have dinner out with close friends.

"In 'normal' years, we celebrate on March 1," Garland said. "We tried doing it once on the the 28th, but it didn't feel right because the 1st is the day when the 29th would occur if it were the right year." 

Bill Moon '98, MBA '00 looked forward to a pair of milestones — turning 10 (or 40 in non-leap years). His wife organized a party in Manhattan, to be attended by several Binghamton friends.

"In other years, I go back and forth between the 28th and 1st," Moon said. "At Binghamton, I celebrated on both nights! On my 21st birthday, I thought I was going to have a problem getting into Uncle Tony's on Friday night the 28th, but the bouncer let me in since I showed up at around 11:30. In 44 years, I'll turn 21 again and will hopefully still be carded."

Michael Cohn '98Michael Cohn '98 reached the same milestones as Moon, and says he's flexible with celebrations in other years.

"This year is a special birthday as I turned 40," Cohn said. "I'll be celebrating with a ski trip with close friends from high school, including Ian Kalmanowitz '97, in Crested Butte, Colo."

As she does every four years on Feb. 20, Liz Wiener threw a surprise birthday party for her boyfriend of 14 years David Goueta '81 (middle of photo below with Brendan O'Hara '83 and Tom Pasquarella '84). His golf-themed party took place at a restaurant in Hoboken, N.J., and was attended by 45 guests.

David Goueta '81 and friends

"I planned an elaborate scheme to get him there, telling him we were going to the christening of a friend's baby," Wiener said. "I even sent a fake save the date and fake invitation to our house for the fake party. Dave walked into his birthday party and was totally surprised!"

"I have come to particularly enjoy having a Leap Day birthday," Orol says. "There is no other day that appears so infrequently, and no other month that – Leap Year or not – is as short."



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Last Updated: 9/26/16