Evening Magazine cameraman records the event as (left to right) Shelly Orchard, Jim Chrysler, Andrew Dawe, and Richard Bixby get ready to board the Grumman Goose for an aerial tour.
Photo by Lisa Allen/Woodinville Weekly.
by Karen Diefendorf
If you count the number of actual birth days they have celebrated, Richard Bixby is 14, Andrew Dawe is 4, and Shelly Orchard is 3. In reality, however, the three are 56, 16, and 12, respectively.
Jim Chrysler, owner of Seattle Sea Planes, decided to make this Leap Year Birthday a special event for a group of Feb. 29th babies who are "birthday-deprived." The group met at the company's Lake Union location where they were greeted with a Happy Leap Year birthday cake, noisemakers, hats, and balloons.
Following a toast and cake, they were taken for an aerial tour of Seattle, Lake Washington, the Eastside, and Puget Sound aboard a Grumman Goose that was once used on the TV series Tales of the Gold Monkey. At the conclusion of the tour, each was given a $50 certificate to Tillicum Village.
To make the event even more exciting, the film crew from Evening Magazine was there taking pictures to use on their nightly program.
For Bothell resident Shelly Orchard, the plane trip was a "neat birthday gift," and her first experience on a small plane. "Taking off was scary. We went faster and faster and the water splashed on the windows," she said.
She was more concerned about landing on the water, however. "I was afraid we'd get hurt landing on the belly of the plane, but it turned out to be really smooth," she said.
Unlike most Leap Year babies, Shelly has not been celebrating her birthdays on the 28th. Her parties have taken place on Feb. 25. The reason is a good one: "Since I've been in kindergarten, that's always been a sunny day," she reported. Although she had told all her friends about her appearance on Evening Magazine, she planned on spending her special day with her family at home.
Andrew Dawe, a sophomore at Woodinville High School, thought the celebration was great fun. He particularly enjoyed seeing Bill Gates' new home from the air, although he said he thought it looked like a big mess.
This Leap Year birthday was especially important for 16-year-old Dawe. His grandparents have given him a car and he planned to take his drivers' license test on Saturday.
Richard Bixby of Woodinville enjoyed the party and the 20-minute plane trip as a special way to celebrate his actual birthday. He's also looking forward to the trip to Tillicum Village.