I’ve been fascinated by the amount of response to a quote I posted on Facebook on “Friday the 13th” (of May). It’s a picture of Sister Marjorie Pay Hinckley with her quote about preferring to laugh instead of cry (she said crying gives her a headache). There have been almost 30,000 views! I’m so excited about that!! I’m giving her a SHOUT-OUT today!
I love this incredibly bright, wonderful soul. I remember right where I was when I heard that she had passed away. I was in the Jordan River Temple with a group of missionaries who had served in Indonesia along with some Indonesian Saints. We were waiting in a hallway to go into a room where, for the first time anywhere in any Temple, we would have everything in Bahasa Indonesia – the Indonesian language (using headsets). It was Tuesday, 06 April, 2004 (has it really been 12 years?). Someone had heard of Sister Hinckley’s passing and shared the news with the rest of us…. Memories flooded back into my mind and heart.
I was sent to the Southern Far East Mission in 1962. Our mission had 3 zones at the time, and I had the blessing of serving in all 3 during my 2 years. I spent my first 4 months in Taiwan, then 5 months in Hong Kong, and my last 17 months as one of the first sister missionaries in the Philippine Islands. Not long after my companion and I arrived in the Philippines, we received word that our mission president, Jay A. Quealy, had been critically injured in an accident in Hong Kong. In all three zones we fasted and prayed for him. At first it was determined that he would be released – he was going to be hospitalized for a long time. Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, who had been an Apostle just since October of 1961 (he’d been an assistant to the Twelve for 3 years), was supervising the Asia area at the time. President Quealy pleaded to remain as mission president. In my journal I wrote “in my opinion President Quealy can do more lying down than ten presidents could do on their feet.” A decision was made to honor that request. This meant that Elder Hinckley would come to visit us several times.
What a blessing for us missionaries and the members! I really enjoyed him, including his wonderful sense of humor. Sometimes he brought Sister Hinckley with him, and oh what a treasure she was! I was young and pretty naïve, so with no thought that it might be inappropriate to write to a General Authority, I wrote some letters to him and his family. One time I had what I thought was a very clever idea. We had an abundance of tiny little bugs and critters in the Philippines (ants, fleas, bed bugs, termites, mosquitoes, flies, baby cockroaches…). I got an idea to make my own “letter-head stationery, using a collection of these “critters!” I got some clear tape, and I’d put a variety of critters on the tape and make what I thought was a very unusual, attractive stationery. I began sending these letters to “everyone,” knowing they’d be impressed, and that the little critters would be cheered and cherished. One of these letter-head pieces of home-made stationery was sent to Elder and Sister Hinckley far away in Utah. Yes – I really did do this.
The next time Sister Hinckley came (with Elder Hinckley and their youngest daughter, Jane) was in October of 1963. Sister Hinckley told me that she had a surprise for me! Wow! I was SO surprised and excited!! In Hong Kong we often had a treat called “Smarties,” kind of like “M and M’s,” which came in long cardboard tubes, similar to something which would hold pens and pencils. She gave me one of these “Smartie tubes” with a very happy smile.
Oh! I loved Smarties! I opened the tube … and out came a lively little GEKKO!! That was more of a surprise than I’d anticipated!! She let me know – with kindness and good humor – that the gecko would help cut down on the critter population in our little home in the Philippines . . . in other words, her message was that by the time my letter crossed oceans and mountains, taking MANY days, the “letter-head” did NOT have a pleasant smell…. She let me know that ONE of those letters was even more than enough!
Oh, we laughed and laughed. She had the best laugh!! Infectious! I loved her SO much! I’m glad our paths crossed several more times before she was called Home. She was REAL! And to her, WE were real too!!
So I’m more than thrilled at the response to her quote which I posted on Facebook on “Friday the 13th.” I want to share a few more of her quotes and hope you’ll enjoy them!