Triskaidekaphobia (from Greek tris meaning “3”, kai meaning “and”, deka meaning “10” and phobos meaning “fear” or “morbid fear”) is fear of the number 13 and avoidance to use it; it is a superstition and related to a specific fear of Friday the 13th, called paraskevidekatriaphobia (from Παρασκευή Paraskevi, Greek for Friday) or friggatriskaidekaphobia (after Frigg, the Norse goddess Friday is named after in English). The term was first used by Isador Coriat in Abnormal Psychology.
Okay, now that we are done with the educational part of the program, I will give you my personal feelings about this number.
I love the number thirteen. It has played a significant role in my life, and as it turns out, after a little research last night, has done so in more ways than I ever knew.
I was born Tuesday December 13, 1960, at 8:02 P.M. I don’t know a lot about the day I was born, but these are the parts I got from my mother. She always told me about how she ate dinner that evening, even though she knew she was in labor. It took years before I understood that part of the story. What did eating dinner have to do with anything? Well, I learned that most women at the time were given ether as an anesthetic during childbirth, and eating beforehand could cause severe nausea and vomiting. How lovely. Mom told me how it was snowing so heavily that my father had to shovel the driveway several times before they could leave for the hospital, and that I almost died that night. As Mama tells the story, I was just emerging into this world when they slapped the ether mask over her face, and she knew that something was wrong as she slipped into unconsciousness. It turns out that the umbilical cord had torn during delivery, and I lost almost 2/3 of my blood. I’m not sure how they managed back in 1960, but somehow they saved my little life. My mother having passed away back in 1997, and wanting to know more, I decided to look up any information I could about the date of my birth.
I looked up the weather in S.E. Massachusetts 12/13/60 and here’s what I found. I was born during a Nor’Easter. My life having been one storm after another, this seems fitting. Not only had there been significant snowfall, but here’s the “cool” part. The storm had traveled up the East coast, and by the time it hit our area the barometric pressure for the storm was recorded at its lowest on, you guessed it, December 13! I also found out that it was the coldest day of that year. Can you guess what that temp was? Yup, it was 13 degrees Fahrenheit. Here’s the Wiki report on it.
The December 1960 nor’easter was a significant winter storm that impacted the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions of the United States. The storm ranked as Category 3, or “major”, on the Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale, and its snowfall extended from Virginia to Maine. One of three severe storms during the 1960–1961 winter, the nor’easter dropped over 20 in (510 mm) of snowfall in parts of northern New Jersey and eastern Massachusetts. The initial low pressure system developed on December 10 in the Gulf of Mexico. It moved northward, then eastward, and a secondary low formed over South Carolina. It tracked northeastward and deepened to reach a minimum barometric pressure of 966 millibars by December 13. High winds and cold temperatures accompanied the storm, leading to blizzard conditions.
So, the number thirteen seems to have permeated the day of my birth, and even though it sounds like it did so in a negative way, well, here I am writing this story!
My love for the number thirteen has continued to grow. I gave birth to my first child on March 13, 1978. She in turn gave birth to her first-born child on January 13, 2005. She was two weeks past her delivery date, and I kept telling her that the baby would arrive on the thirteenth. “It’s tradition” I said.
I grew up with a Grandmother that was all about the superstitions, and I find myself to this day remembering some of them. I never put new shoes on the table. When I drop a piece of silverware I know that company is coming. I never give anyone a new wallet or purse without a penny in it, and so on. But, when it comes to the number 13, I am all for it!
Here is Mama holding me when I was just a week old.