ELLSWORTH, Maine — Thirteen years ago, Lynne Marie Hundhammer was, briefly, the most famous little girl in Maine.
Lynne was the first baby born in Maine in 1996. She arrived at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth just 46 minutes after midnight, one of four babies born on New Year’s Day in northern and eastern Maine that year.
The Bangor Daily News article announcing her birth reported that she was born after 13 hours of labor, the first child of Mark and Marjorie Hundhammer. The report noted that she weighed just “a fraction over 8 pounds” and was 21 inches long; that she had a nice disposition and a “fine head of blond peach fuzz.”
Some New Year’s babies attain fame. Lynne shares her birthday with some well-known names: Paul Revere, 1735; George Washington Carver, 1860; J. Edgar Hoover, 1895; Xavier Cougat, 1900; Barry Goldwater, 1909; Rocky Graziano, 1922; and Kala Sosefina Mileniume Kauvaka who was born in Tonga in 2000, the first baby born in the new millennium.
A local television station also reported her birth, and, according to her mother, now Marjorie Peronto, returned a year later for a follow-up. However, aside from that brief notoriety, Lynne, like most New Year’s babies, has lived a life as a relative noncelebrity, at the end of a dirt road at the outskirts of the city, where it is quiet and the snow-covered driveway is crisscrossed with turkey tracks.
Lynne turned 13 today. She is now a seventh-grader at the Ellsworth Middle School. She stands 5-foot-2 and her blond peach fuzz has been replaced by shoulder-length dark blond locks that are tinted in strands of purple, pink, blue and green.
“Just to do it,” she replied when asked whether there was a reason for the multihued tresses.
She seemingly has retained the “nice disposition” of her first few days of life, and has the pent-up energy of a 13-year-old. She often breaks into a burst of dance moves. She has bright eyes and a quick smile, and the mention of her finally becoming a teenager broadened that smile, which was accompanied by a quick, enthusiastic fist pump.
At school she likes most of her academic subjects, especially social studies and science and is active in sports and music. Over Christmas vacation, she was busy with cheerleading practice and in the spring, is on the track team for high jump and running hurdles and the 100-meter dash. In the yard, the frame of a trampoline sits idle, evidence of another warm-weather activity.
She has a streak of creativity and admits to being a “one-handed piano” player at home. She also plays the French horn in the school band. She likes to sew and has made a variety of clothing, including shirts, capris and pajamas. Lynne spends a lot of time drawing and said she plans to be an artist.
At home, she enjoys her dogs Dixie, 7, and Riley, 5 who regularly greet visitors and have a healthy interest in the neighborhood squirrels. An avid board game player, Lynne has trouble convincing the adults in her life to play her favorite, Dogopoly, a marathon version of the Monopoly game, but can often rope them into a shorter session of Sorry or Best in Show.
For her, the best part of being born on New Year’s Day is perhaps, the most obvious.
“It’s always a holiday,” she said with a smile. “You don’t have to drag yourself off to school.”
The first birthday she remembers was when she was around 5, she said.
“That’s when I first started having friends over,” she said.
That has become a tradition, although she admits that it is sometimes hard to arrange a party during the holidays. But that seems to be the only downside to being a New Year’s baby.
This year, she gets to invite one friend to spend a night in a Bangor hotel and go out to dinner and a movie as part of her birthday celebration. She already has decided on the movie: “The Tale of Despereaux,” an animated film about three mice with voices by Dustin Hoffman and Matthew Broderick, among others.
Looking ahead to 2009, Lynne is focused mainly on the immediate future, which includes her first participation in cheering competitions that begin at the end of this month. The rest of her future brings a little shrug. High school, definitely. But, for the newly minted teenager, college remains a vague question mark, and she seems blissfully unaware — and not particularly concerned — about what the next 13 years, or the 13 years after that, might hold in store for her.
And at 13, that’s just the way it should be.