A Year Full of Birthdays

Published on December 30, 2013

Post photographers spent 2013 documenting one birthday a month

On New Year’s Eve, we share a communal sense of time’s passing. We go to parties and pop champagne, or watch the sun rise on a new year, or maybe just turn the page on the calendar. Individually, though, we mark time in more personal ways — greeting the anniversary of the day we were born with feelings that can range from joy to determination to reminiscence.

Washington Post photographers chronicled some of those celebrations during 2013, and we share a calendar’s worth of them here.


January | Blow out those candles, pardner

Edward W. Neufville IV
2 years old

Bahia Akerele and Edward W. Neufville III met at the first inauguration of President Obama. They married and, a few years later, Edward W. Neufville IV came along. Edward IV woke up from a nap on Jan. 26 with a puzzled look on his face. Guests and presents greeted him as the celebration of his second birthday began. A cowboy theme complete with Cowboy Funnyman Mark Hoffman doing magic tricks wowed the kids. Grandma held her grandson tightly, Edward’s godmother snapped photos and kids reveled in having their faces painted. A cake with strawberries and plenty of frosting for all to eat was a highlight of the day.

Photo by: Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post


February | The king of rock-and-roll makes it special

Juanmarie Matthews
65 years old

The heart pumps faster, a blush washes over the face and smiles appear as Valentine’s Day arrives. Juanmarie Matthews celebrated her birthday as new and old loves blossomed around her. But today, on her 65th birthday, Elvis was raised, and Jed Duvall sang and danced like The King for her birthday. Other residents at ElderPlus in Baltimore laughed as Matthews was given a kiss at the end of the show.

Photo by: Katherine Frey/The Washington Post

March | Welcome to the world, baby boy

Miles Jacob Metcalf

It started on the 24th, the relentless contractions that let Kathy and Dan Metcalf know their second son was on the way. The MAMAS midwife group arrived at the Takoma Park, Md., home, and friends and the family dog waited through the night for Miles Jacob Metcalf. Kathy held people’s hands, walked stairs and finally climbed into the birthing tub, set up in the master bedroom. At 8:35 a.m. March 25, Miles took his first breath and was laid on his mother’s chest. Dan leaned down and kissed his wife on the forehead. An hour later, Joseph Finn was hugging his younger brother.

Photo by: Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post

April | A raucous party, times two

Matthew and Zack Schneider
29 and 24 years old

The music pounded, lights swirled and, soon, ties loosened and libations were pouring into the mouths of the Schneider brothers. Though Matthew, 29, center, and Zack, 24, were born on different days in April, they chose April 20 to celebrate with their friends at Nick Sanchez’s rooftop bar Eden in Washington.

Photo by: Joseph Victor Stefanchik for The Washington Post

May | A quinceañera fit for a princess

Johanna Zavala,
15 years old

She turned 15 on April 5 but marked off the days on her calendar until it was May 18, her day to celebrate. Johanna Zavala’s quinceañera day began with a quiet moment of reflection before the makeup and donning of her white dress. As a final touch, a tiara was placed on her head. The tiara sparkled and so did the joy on her face as she presented herself to a room filled with family and friends in her Quincearñera Court. A limo waited, as did her 17-year-old chambelane, Kelvin Guevara, to escort her to church. Her Bible held tightly, Johanna was presented to the world no longer as a girl but as an adult. Her party was filled with teary speeches and cutting the cake. Johanna and her father twirled on the dance floor, where the celebration lasted through the evening.

Photo by: Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post

June | The congresswoman gets her groove on

Donna F. Edwards
55 years old

Sign your name and get a bumper sticker, free for the taking: “Vote Democratic, we’re not perfect but they’re NUTS.” Dappled light shown through the woods on a warm summer evening at Watkins Park in Upper Marlboro, Md., where Donna F. Edwards, who represents Maryland’s 4th Congressional District, hosted a birthday celebration. She didn’t hesitate to give a quick speech on national politics, then quickly thanked everyone who was gathered one day after her June 28 birthday. Barbecue was a centerpiece of the feast, and Edwards danced “The Wobble,” with Timothy Adams Jr. leading the way.

Photo by: Linda Davidson/The Washington Post

July | Making a splash, cutting the cookies

Chloe and Maddy Long
11 years old

No shoes required, bathing suits only, please! Chloe and Maddy Long celebrated their birthday together, just as they came in to the world together 11 years ago, on July 20. Cookies instead of cake, bright pink wrapping paper and teeth stained blue were all on display as the girls opened their birthday bounty. With a splash, the kids were off for a dip on a hot July afternoon.

Photo by: Matt McClain/The Washington Post


August | On a shared day, a ride in the sky

Rochelle Young and Catharine Martin
45 and 50 years old

Rochelle Young, 45, and Catharine Martin, 50, celebrated birthday milestones with their feet in the air. Their Aug. 17 summer balloon ride over Maryland farm fields was provided by Tailwinds Over Frederick and kept them smiling all afternoon.

Photo by: Katherine Frey/The Washington Post

September | Tattooed memories from childhood

Jordan Swartz
24 years old

Loud music, strong drinks and close friends brought in another year for Jordan Swartz at his Washington home. Swartz, who typically likes to not make a big fuss about things, wore a half-annoyed and half-gleeful expression throughout the night as people wished him happy birthday and munched on the leftover pancakes that Swartz’s girlfriend and younger sister had made that morning. Swartz posed while his friend took a few shots with an old Yashica T4 Super film camera to remember the night by.

Photo by: Nathaniel Grann/The Washington Post

October | A defiant, satisfying anniversary

Philippa Hughes
45 years old

Philippa Hughes, founder of the Pink Line Project, underwent a double mastectomy after her 45th birthday this year. Hughes says: “I was diagnosed with breast cancer in August. My birthday has always been a big celebration, but this year it felt kind of weird to do that. All I wanted to do was be with my close friends. I still wanted to celebrate my birthday but still acknowledge that this … thing was happening too. My good friend, Max, sent me a link to let me know my birthday — October 13th — was also ‘Set the Tatas Free Day’ because it was during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

I’ve been told by several women who have had this type of surgery that they never had to wear a bra again because of the fake boobs. So I burned all my bras at my birthday party. And I brought extras just in case the fellas wanted to throw one in, too. I couldn’t believe how much heat they made and how fast they burned. … They build a fire to burn the corpses in the Ganges River. It’s a way to cleanse and start anew. The cancer will be gone, and I will be able to start anew. I really felt that.”

Photo by: Kevin Rooney/For The Washington Post

November | Honoring the ultimate bandleader

John Philip Sousa
159 years

Born on Nov. 6, 1854, in Washington, John Philip Sousa was later dubbed the “American March King.” He apprenticed with the U.S. Marine Band until the age of 20 and then returned in 1880 to be the band’s conductor. The sousaphone is what Sousa preferred to play and, after leaving the band, he created the Sousa Band, which toured around the world for more than 35 years. Every year at the Congressional Cemetery, the Marine Band celebrates Sousa’s life on the date of his birth by playing some of his most notable marches, including “Stars and Stripes Forever.” He died in 1932.

Photo by: Matt McClain/The Washington Post

December | A loving couple celebrates in Dupont

Lynn Hackney
48 years old

Lynn Hackney, second from right, celebrates her 48th birthday on Dec. 12 with her wife, Kim Hoover, right, and friends. The couple has been together for 15 years and bought a house in the Dupont Circle neighborhood in 1999.

Photo by: Astrid Riecken/The Washington Post

Editing: Anne Farrar and MaryAnne Golon
Production: Cara Kelly and Greg Manifold

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