Pam Smallwood is still a teenager.
“I met her when she was four and a quarter years old,” said Smallwood’s husband Bill Smallwood, longtime boys basketball coach at Berea Community High School.
Actually Pam Smallwood was 17 at the time and the couple have been together ever since. Pam Smallwood, wife of former Berea Community High School boys basketball coach Bill Smallwood, will celebrate her “15th” birthday Saturday. Smallwood was born Leap Year of 1960 and usually celebrates her birthday at the end of the month.
“I try to celebrate on (Feb.) 28th,” Pam said earlier this week. “That keeps it in February, because otherwise, you are jumping into another month. The fun part is that I have a cousin that was born on the 28th and another cousin that was born in March 1. We always just traded birthdays.”
Pam admitted that it’s odd because “nobody really knows how to celebrate it.” One out of 1,461 babies are born on Feb. 29, making the celebrations even more special.
“A lot of times I will get a card real early or later on,” she said. “Somebody is wishing me a happy birthday for about five days.”
Although rare, Pam and one of her classmates shared the same birthday in grade school at King’s Mountain Elementary School in Lincoln County.
“We’ve lost touch since, but it was very strange that two of us had that birthday, especially in a small school,” she said.
While coaching, Bill and Pam scheduled celebrations with their children around the district basketball tournament, which usually occurred during the end of the month and squeezed in time to celebrate with children Katie, Tess and Hayley.
“My birthday always fell right around district tournament (time),” she said. “It was always around that time and just part of it. When you have three children you learn how to celebrate. We could have lunch together and celebrate some other time. As a family, we didn’t really treat them a whole lot different.”
“The girls would do an activity and we would all do something together,” Bill added. “We always made something special together. We just had to squeeze it in and adjust.”
This year, Bill and Pam will celebrate by attending the Kentucky-Auburn game at Rupp Arena, followed by a dinner party celebration at Dudley’s with family and friends.
“This year (my birthday) is different because of my age, not because (of leap year),” she said. “This year is going to be pretty special.”
In honor of Pam’s birthday, her grandmother celebrated the rare feat every four years by placing a picture in the Stanford Interior Journal during her childhood and most of her adulthood and Pam often thinks of what the times were like when she was born.
“At this point (in my life), I often think of how my mom, who was super young, and how they must have acted at the hospital that day,” she said.
The couple will celebrate 41 years of marriage on March 17.