Happy New Year, baby: Two cousins were the first Clovis babies of 1980

By Tova Fruchtman: CNJ staff writer

It was New Year’s Eve, 1980. Kerry Parks called her mom around midnight to tell her that her water broke. That’s when she got the news.

Her then sister-in-law, Francee Garcia, was already at the hospital, and she was also in labor.

“When she told me that Francee was already there, I just died laughing,” said Parks, whose baby was due on Dec. 26. Garcia’s wasn’t due until Jan. 19. The two women said they ended up sharing a room after their daughters were born.

Garcia laughed as she reminisced about Park’s parents running from room to room anxious to see which grandchild would be born first.

The nurses at the hospital were anxious too, Parks said. They were the first children born on New Year’s day in the then new Plains Regional Medical Center. The New Year’s babies had always been born in Portales and at Cannon Air Force Base, Parks explained.

Jennifer Lynne Parks was Clovis’ first baby of 1980, born at 10:36 a.m. to John and Kerry Parks. “I went in and had mine real fast,” Kerry Parks said.

Not two hours later at 11:56 a.m., her cousin Aumanda Blaylock was born to Jeffery Blaylock, Kerry’s brother, and Garcia.

So close in age and related, the family joked that the two girls who look nothing alike were twins. Jennifer has blond hair, light eyes and Aumanda has dark hair and dark eyes. Aumanda’s nose is rounder than Jennifers and even the shapeof thier head’s are different. “When something similar happens to Jennifer or Aumanda, we say it’s the Twin Syndrome,” Kerry Parks said. Jennifer adds in, “Our grandmother always calls us her little twins.”

But does sharing a birthday automatically mean the girls shared life experiences?

“We used to have parties together but now that we’re grown and have own families we don’t,” Jennifer said. She said she does remember both of their mothers making a big deal to make their birthdays separate from the holiday.

But the girls said they think their birthdays is all they have in common. They’re mothers disagreed and said they are both stubborn.

Even so, the mothers and the daughters have noted on some similar life events of Jennifer and Aumanda.

“A lot of things the same, like getting sick together — we share some Capricorn traits,” Jennifer said.

Aumanda agreed: “One thing would happen to her and then it would happen to me.”

As an added bond for the mothers and daughters, both mothers shared their middle names with their daughters — Francee Gail and Aumanda Gail and Kerry Lynne and Jennifer Lynne, which Francee said was not planned ahead of time.

The cousins were friends growing up, but Aumanda said she didn’t think much of their shared birthday.

Jennifer said she used to brag about it. “I was kinda proud of it,” she said. “I always told people I was born on the same day as my cousin.”

The two cousins are now a “quarter of a century old,” an age Jennifer said her son Coleton Parks, 7, described as very old.
Aumanda is married to Joe Hester and also has two children — Brianna, 5, and Alexander, 18 months old.

The girls joked during an interview on Wednesday that maybe they’ll try to plan to have a their next children on the same day — New Year’s Day if possible.
This New Year’s Eve, the cousins spent celebrating together — not only the New Year, and not only their birthdays, but Jennifer’s marriage to Robert Garcia.

CNJ Correspondent Cassie McClure contributed to this story.