Then and Now: SE Texas New Year’s Day babies
Robert Hymes spent New Year’s Eve 1985 trying to free his truck from the mud in his pasture. He tried to pull it out with a tractor, but the tractor got stuck too.
Standing in ankle-deep mud, Hymes and his then-wife, Kirby, used a chain hoist to free the truck and tractor. As Hymes finished washing the truck at 9:30 that night, Kirby went into labor and the couple rushed to the hospital.
Elly Marie, born at 12:52 a.m., was Beaumont’s first baby of 1986.
Robert, who was born on New Year’s Day 1959, told
The Enterprise, “This is the best birthday present I could’ve gotten.”
Elly, whose last name is now Garner, said that when she was pregnant with her 3-year-old daughter Sawyer, Kirby hoped for a third New Year’s baby in the family. Sawyer was born Dec. 26, ending the streak.
After celebrating Christmas and Sawyer’s birthday, Garner said, “I don’t even have energy to do birthday stuff” for herself.
Kirby said she made it a point to not blend the birthday and Christmas celebrations, though the holiday season always made it difficult to have birthday parties with friends traveling.
RaNysha Roberts entered the world at 1:53 a.m. on Jan. 1, 1983, making her the region’s first baby of the year. Her parents, Robert and Arlene LeBlanc, had been at a New Year’s Eve party when Arlene went into labor. Her parents received a year’s supply of baby formula and diapers, as well as other gifts from the community.
Roberts, a track star at Lincoln High School, remembers her aunt telling her, “When you were born, I knew you were going to be a very special kid.” She lived up to that promise, winning several state track titles before graduating in 2001 and going on to run the 100-meter hurdles at LSU.
After college, Roberts returned to Port Arthur, where she works as a social worker for indigent healthcare with the Jefferson County Health Department. She has a 7-year-old son and a soon-to-be 14-year-old stepdaughter.
Dwayne and Cindy Going welcomed their daughter, Megan, as Beaumont’s first baby of 1988.
Megan, now married with the last name Hedgepeth, works as a nurse in Houston. She had to work on New Year’s Eve but planned to go to a family party after work to ring in the new year and her birthday.
One of her brothers was born on Dec. 26, and she said their parents always kept their birthday and Christmas gifts separate so they could celebrate both.
They held family celebrations on their birthday and their parties later when friends would be around. Hedgepeth said her birthday parties were often held during spring break or during the summer.