By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
“One thing about my birthday this year,” says Curt Bland with a wry smile. “This year, I’ll finally be a teenager.”
Make that a teenager who has already retired.
Born February 29, 1960, Bland is actually going to be 52, but as a Leap Year Baby, his 13th calendar birthday is this year. Aside from being born February 29, he also has the distinction of being the very first Leap Year Baby born at Madison County Memorial Hospital. Dr. Julian Durant delivered him.
His mother, Corene Bland, was teachers’ aide and then a secretary at Lee Elementary School before she retired, and his father retired from Dixie Packers.
There was the usual teasing from other children at school about being a “leap year baby,” the jokes about being “only two or three” and he used to hate it when someone would ask his father how old he was and his father would reply “two” or “three” and then explain than his son was born on February 29.
However, what he remembers best about his childhood birthdays are that he almost always spent them fishing with his father, whose birthday was March 2.
“That was our thing, going fishing every year on March first or second,” said Bland. “If the weather wasn’t too cold, we always celebrated our birthdays with a fishing trip.”
Then, Bland moved to Jacksonville, where he lived and worked for 23 years for a metal plate galvanizing company that galvanized boat trailers, before he retired and moved back home in March 2010 to help take care of his mother. His father had passed away Thanksgiving morning of 2006, and Bland still misses him.
He has two older sisters, Marcia Webb of Madison County Community Bank and Debra Bishop of Kissimmee. He has a daughter named Haley Fargason, whose husband has been on his fourth deployment to Afghanistan since January 4 of this year, and a 21 month-old grandson named Jack.
He also has a hunting dog named Jackson, a yellow-and-chocolate lab given to him as a puppy by his sister Marcia for Christmas of 2010.
He doesn’t recall ever having any problems with employers or government agencies with his leap year birthday situation. In fact, he used to list his birthday as Feb. 28 on his driver’s license several years ago and no one questioned it, even when he decided to change it back to his official calendar DOB of Feb. 29.
“When I was little, I couldn’t stand it,” he said of his unusual birthday status. “But now I think it’s kinda cool.”