Leap Year Anniversary by
(149 Stories)

Prompted By Leap Day

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I can usually come up with a story about a Retro prompt, though sometimes not without a further, well, prompt, from the Retro Administrator/Muse.  But I really came up empty on this week’s prompt.  I’m an August baby, but early in the month, so I don’t even have to deal with the sort of half-birthday celebration dilemma that the Administrator/Muse has had inflicted upon her.

Best I can do this week is mention a recent Leap Year-themed event of some good friends of mine, Greg and Sandy,  who were, like my former wife, law school classmates of mine. But their marriage has happily lasted, and so my current wife and I recently received an invitation from Greg and Sandy to what they claimed was their 40th anniversary party in New York this past Saturday (the 29th).  Though we have remained close over the years, I had not been invited to their wedding and only now focused on the fact that they were married on February 29th, 1980.

Unfortunately, my wife and I were hosting a long-scheduled small dinner party on the 29th, so had to decline.  And even my efforts to send Greg and Sandy a gift certificate from the gift shop at New York’s Museum of Sex — which I thought was a brilliant inspiration —  failed since, at least per its website, the Museum doesn’t do gift certificates. So I had to settle for an apologetic email regret to their evite and an appropriately snarky anniversary card.

But the stories by both Suzy and Betsy about the “Pirates of Penzance” plot line at least got me thinking.  Is this really Greg and Sandy’s 40th anniversary, or only their 10th?  And if the latter, how do they explain this to their now adult sons?

I intend to follow up with Greg and Sandy and get their thoughts on this.  Not exactly the sort of legal research we were all engaged in in law school, but much more fun to investigate.

Profile photo of John Shutkin John Shutkin

Characterizations: funny, right on!, well written


  1. Suzy says:

    Very cute story, John! And I love the card with the dancing (or, I guess, leaping) frogs, although I’m guessing you downloaded the pic from the internet and didn’t actually send it to Greg and Sandy. Looking forward to hearing about their reaction to your query. Surely this has occurred to them before! And I note that their initials as a couple are G&S, so they should definitely be Gilbert & Sullivan fans!

    • John Shutkin says:

      Thanks, Suzy. You’re right about the card in the featured image; I just got that by googling for images of “Leap Year Anniversaries.” The card I sent Greg and Sandy had a snarky message about making each other miserable, but then I added a mushy note at the end making clear that that was not the case with them — though I’m sure that, knowing me, they knew the card’s message was purely in jest.

  2. Laurie Levy says:

    Interesting question, John. I guess they have only had 10 actual anniversaries of their 40-year marriage.

  3. Marian says:

    Maybe their marriage was really 10 years but seemed like 40 (for a snarky rejoinder), or maybe 40 years flew by like 10 (the sweet version). Either way, nice story, John, and it will be interesting to see what they do at the 50-year mark!

    • John Shutkin says:

      Thanks, Marian. By my count, their 50th (counting every year) won’t be in a Leap Year. But I guess they will have to decide whether to celebrate on February 28 or March 1. I’ll have them consult with Suzy.

  4. Fun story, John! What leaped (sorry!) or is it leapt (sorry again!) out at me was your reference to the Museum of Sex, which I hadn’t heard of. Naturally, I had to do some further research and was delighted to discover that it is also known as MoSex. Nuff said.

    • John Shutkin says:

      Apparently, MoSex is so popular now that they have time entries for visits. I do know when I have gone past it in a cab heading down Fifth Avenue — of course, I’ve never actually gone in it — it does look mobbed.

  5. Or maybe they’ve been happily married for 10 years which is not bad out of 40? (Sorry Greg and Sandy!)

  6. Betsy Pfau says:

    Fun story, John and very appropriate for the prompt. Too bad you couldn’t make it to the party and see if they celebrated 40 or 10 in Leap Years! And now you’ve got me curious about that NY museum you reference. Gracious, you former New Yorker certainly have a wealth of info on obscure places to visit for us tourists!

    • John Shutkin says:

      Thanks, Betsy. As mentioned, I now need to do further research with Greg and Sandy, though I am sure that, at the least, they are aware of the Pirates of Penzance plot line. And, given the curiosity expressed in the comments, we probably need to arrange a Retro “field trip” to the Museum of Sex. We could probably get some good stories out of it, too.

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