28 February 2020

What are the Odds?

Jan Grape

The night of February 27th, 1948, I was 8 years old, but the next day would be my 9th birthday. Not only was I excited about my birthday; that night my mother was having a baby.

I wasn’t exactly sure how the doctor was going to get that baby from my mother’s tummy. And I could tell the grownups weren’t going to explain anything to me because they were sending me off to a neighbor’s house. Yes, my mother would have the baby at home, but with our doctor in attendance. Post was a small town, which didn’t have a hospital. Mother definitely didn’t want her and my step-dad to make a crazy 40 mile trek to Lubbock to the nearest hospital. Besides we knew and trusted our wonderful young doctor, Glenn Kahler.

Late afternoon came and I was happily sent off to my girlfriend’s house to play and do a sleepover. My girlfriend’s mother went to my house to help the doctor make the delivery. Thank goodness I had learned the stork didn’t really bring babies. Doctors, nurses or midwives took on this major task.

Sometime in the wee hours, a knock on the neighbor’s door woke up the whole house. It was my Daddy, Charles. The plan had been for him to wait until morning to come get me but he was excited. “Your baby sister is here and I want you to see her right now.”

The excitement in his voice captured me while I pulled clothes on over my pajamas. But I couldn’t find my shoes.

Daddy Charles said, “Don’t worry about your shoes. I’ll carry you.”
And carry me he did. Diagonally across our street and two houses down. It wasn’t far and at eight years old I was skinny and not that heavy.

It was a cool, February night. The 28th, to be exact. My birthday. But I was too excited to even think about a birthday. I was going to see my new little baby sister, Sharla.

We got to our house and he set me down on the cold concrete porch and led me by hand inside the warm house to the middle bedroon to the beautiful bassinet (like a cradle but with no swing or rocker) my mother had lovingly made for the baby to sleep in.

I crept up and looked inside and there she was, my brand new baby sister. Big brown eyes looking up at me and looking all around. A big beautiful baby doll. I just knew she was thinking, “Hello world. Look out cause here I come.”

“Happy Birthday,” my mama kept trying to say. Then she said, “Take this,” as she held out her hand. I touched her hand. Nothing was in it. “Take this needle,” she said. Daddy Charles said, “Pretend to take it. The doctor gave her medicine and it made her a little loopy.” I didn’t understand exactly, but I pretended to take the invisable needle. “Thank you,” Mama said and closed her eyes and went to sleep.

Still to this day, after all these years, I still can feel that wonderment and excitement and the overwhelming love I felt for this little sister.

Now comes the one in a million odds. The year was 1950, and again it was the evening before my 11th, birthday, February 28th,. My mother was having a baby. Of course, it wasn’t planned.

Once again I was sent to my neighbor’s house to play with and do a sleep over with my friend Toni. Doctor Kahler was again there along with my friend’s mom to assist the doctor.

Jan, Patsy, Sharla
Jan (13), Sharla (5), Patsy (3)
This time Daddy Charles did wait until morning to come and get me. A second sister, Patsy had been born again on my birthday. The excitement, wonder and love once again filled my heart. A big eyed beautiful living doll lying in the ruffled yellow trimmed bassinet. Happy Birthday, Janice.

These two sisters are always part of my life and we always, always talk about our special connection. Not twins or triplets but the shared birthday is always thought of as the 28th, of February rolls around. Patsy likes to tell me, “I was the best birthday present you ever got.” She’s right but I have to then say, “Both you girls were the best presents I ever got.”

No more sisters or brothers born on 28th, of Feb. But my mother’s sister had a boy, named Michael who was born on Feb 28 a year or two later. He was my aunt’s second child and that made four out of five Grandchildren born on February 28th,.

Someone want to figure up those odds?


  1. Um, Jan, how do I put this discreetly?

    See, only a few years ago, a friend said she knew what my mother was doing on her birthday. (giggle giggle) "What?" I said. She pointed out my birthday came exactly 9 months after my mother's. That was a weird shock.

    So, uh Jan, I'm thinking about May 28, your family likes 'getting busy', so to speak. Why the 28th? I dunno. What are the odds?

  2. Happy Birthday, Jan and Sharla and Patsy! And that is one amazing thing for all of you and so many others to be born on the same day. I can see how you'd share a special connection.

  3. That's so cool. I'm a big brother and remember the others coming along and how I felt about those baby dolls. My son was born on my father's birthday. I have a great-niece born on my birthday. Kinda cool. Love your story.

  4. Really remarkable. You must have had some very festive birthdays!

  5. Maybe 2 - 28 should be part of numbers you girls put down on a lottery? Wow.

  6. That's so nice, Jan. Must make for such a festive day for the family.

  7. Happy Birthday(s)! Wonderful story!!!

  8. Thanks everyone for your great comments. Janice: mother was glad to have our parties all on the same day and get it all over with.
    Eve: I tried those numbers, never helps me. But Patsy is the lucky one. She's never
    Won the big one but she wins small amounts especially in casinos.
    O'neil: Seeing those little new babies is such a wonderous thing.
    Leigh:giggle is right.
    Again thanks to all.


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