When most folks turn 80, they are content with a nice family reunion or a bound collection of photographs showing some of their life’s favorite moments, but Barb Whiteman is different.
She just had to jump out of a perfectly good airplane.
“I wanted to,” Whiteman said of her first ever parachute jump. “It was a birthday present from my family.”
Whiteman recently travelled to Maytown, Pa., where she did a tandem jump from 10,000 feet.
Whiteman’s actual birthday is Aug. 25, but she celebrated early for the jump in front of about 25 friends and family who joined her husband Joe to watch the jump from the airport below.
The Whitemans owned and operated Whiteman’s Engraving in Havelock for years before selling the business a couple of years ago.
The family paid $330 for the jump, which was organized by the Maytown Sport Parachute Club.
It was Whiteman’s first skydiving jump.
“It’s great,” she said. “When you look down and see that beautiful land down there - it’s Amish country. It’s little squares like a puzzle somebody put together. It was fun.”
Whiteman said she wasn’t nervous and didn’t scream when it was time to jump.
“They wouldn’t do it if you were going to get hurt,” Whiteman said. “I don’t think you have time to be worried about it. The guy with the camera stepped out first and he was hanging onto the wing. When it was our turn, we just went. I was just smiling at the camera.”
Whiteman has been carrying photographs of her jump around Havelock.
Now she plans to take another skydiving jump on Aug. 29 in Beaufort County with a friend of her daughter, Alma Garner.
“That was one of the best birthdays I ever had,” Whiteman said.