Prairie du Chien woman celebrates 15th leap year birthday

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Lynn (Atchison) Tesar is pictured at age 4 and age 8, celebrating her first and second leap year birthdays on Feb. 29, 1960 and 1964. Also shown is a current picture of Lynn, who turns 60—or 15 in leap years—today.

During a party for her first leap year birthday, when she turned 4 years old, she is pictured with friends and neighbors. From left: June Hayes, Brenda Hayes, Linda Hayes, Keith Schara, Vicki Becwar, Lynn and Bonnie Hayes.

Editor’s note: This story is a result of a request from the Courier’s Facebook page for local people with Leap Year birthdays. If you’re not yet a friend of the “Courier Press Newspaper” on Facebook, like us to keep up with what’s happening locally.

By Correne Martin

Unlike most people, Lynn (Atchison) Tesar, of Prairie du Chien, gets to celebrate two ages for her birthday.

Today—Monday, Feb. 29—is Lynn’s 60th birthday. But it also happens to be her “15th birthday,” aka, only the 15th day in her lifetime that her true birth date will show up on the calendar.

This is because Lynn is a “leapling;” she was born on a Leap Year: Feb. 29, 1956. She considers herself lucky that her birthday isn’t typical and that she has the opportunity to teach others about what a Leap Year is.

According to Wikipedia, a Leap Year “is a year containing one additional day added to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical or seasonal year. The term ‘Leap Year’ comes from the fact that while a fixed date in the Gregorian calendar normally advances one day of the week from one year to the next, the day of the week in a Leap Year will advance two days (from March onwards) due to the extra day added at the end of February (thus “leaping over” one of the days in the week). For example, Christmas fell on Tuesday in 2001, Wednesday in 2002, and Thursday in 2003 but then “leapt” over Friday to fall on a Saturday in 2004.”

When acquaintances learn that Lynn’s birth date is a Leap Day, “They usually say, ‘Oh, you’re one of those,’” she said.

Mostly, her birthday is just a fun topic for her to discuss with her family—which includes husband Michael R., two daughters Holly and April, and six grandchildren—and children at Prairie du Chien Schools, where she’s worked for over 20 years. Otherwise, there aren’t many advantages to celebrating her birthday once every four years.

“She does only allow us to say how old she is in leap years,” daughter Holly Tanner joked. “She likes to say she’s the teenager of the group with her grandkids because they’re all perplexed by it.”

According to USA Today, Pizza Hut will give away free one-topping Personal Pan Pizzas today to carryout customers with IDs showing they were born on Leap Day.

But, Lynn said, she and her family will be enjoying a low-key celebration with tacos at home this year. She also recently traveled to Key West with her husband to visit family, as part of her birthday festivities.

“I’m just thankful to be healthy and happy and to have good family and friends,” Lynn said.

Next year, her official birth date will not arrive, according to the calendar. So, she’ll observe it on Feb. 28. However, she quipped, “I’ll accept gifts whenever people want to give them.”

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