CALCUTTA - Today, Cheryl Nalette-Taylor's birthday cake will have 16 candles on it. She's waited a long time for her "Sweet 16" birthday.
Nalette-Taylor is 64 today, but in Leap Year years, she's just "Sweet 16."
"I really want those 16 candles," she said.
Cheryl Nalette-Taylor (left) is celebrating her Leap Year “Sweet 16” birthday today with her mom, Berdina Rice and other family members. (Photo by Nancy Tullis)
The inn keeper of Calcutta Bed and Breakfast, Nalette-Taylor and her husband, Don, plan to celebrate today with her mom, Berdina Rice, and other family and friends by going out to dinner.
Nalette-Taylor said she is looking forward to her Sweet 16 cake because she has waited so long for a cake with 16 candles on it. She says she's going to have 16 candles, and not just the two 1 and 6 number candles.
She said she's waited so long for 16 candles because she didn't get 16 candles on her cake when she actually turned 16. As a joke, her mom put just four candles on her cake since it was her fourth Leap Year birthday.
"She just put those four candles on my cake for my 16th birthday," Nalette-Taylor recalls. "She thought it was funny, but I didn't."
After she married and her children were growing up, Nalette-Taylor said the children had a lot of fun with the idea that counting just the Leap Years, they were older than Mom.
As an adult, Nalette-Taylor said she enjoys her birthdays in the off years. With no Feb. 29, she celebrates on both Feb. 28 and March 1.
One special Leap Year birthday was the first one after her first husband passed away, she said. Her children were planning a vacation to the Mexican Riviera, and coaxed her into going along. "They said 'Come on Mom, you need to take a cruise,'" she recalled. "When I went to my cabin on the cruise ship, there was a "Happy Birthday" sign on the door. When I went in, I found they'd decorated the whole cabin. That was special."
Nalette-Taylor said when she was a child, the off years were awkward. Her friends had actual birthday days, and she did not.
"Everyone has their own special day - one day - that's their birthday. I didn't. It's tough when you're a kid not to have that special day."
She said, however, that while growing up, her parents tried to make those Leap Year birthdays special.
"I usually got a special present on Feb. 29," she said. "I can't remember them all, but one special one was when I was 12. That was my third Leap Year birthday. I got a Philco record player. Up until a couple of years ago, I still had that record player."
Nalette-Taylor said she will enjoy celebrating her birthday with family and friends. She is not, however, anticipating any special "Sweet 16" presents.
"My grandsons said that since it's my 16th birthday, I should get a new car."