AND BEHOLD, SHE AGETH….

OK, friends… It’s HERE!! I was born on a Sunday: 03-03-40. So THIS is the BIG DAY for turning 79. WHAT??? You mean I’m starting my 80th year as an earthling?? Oh my goodness… this can’t be true!! But there are some “symptoms,” eh? Yep… More about that later. But first, a few things. I found a lot of pictures, but I know they won’t all fit after all I’m planning to write (!!), so I might put just 2 or 3, and then maybe I’ll make an extra post just with pictures (although in the past when I was posting blogs quite frequently, I realized that for some reasons the pictures often disappeared! Rather quickly, too! I don’t know how to fix that… I’m on a pretty steep learning curve (and yes, I’m OLD). (OK… I’ve finished the post but can’t figure out how to add pictures…. I know that just breaks your heart! I’ll see if I can start a new post just with pictures)….

Now for some little factoids: When I was born there were 7 Temples in the world (the most recent being the Mesa Temple, built in 1927). The Prophet and president of the Church was Heber J. Grant. Franklin D. Roosevelt was USA president.  WWII was happening. An average home cost around $ 4,000. Gas was 11 cents per gallon. A new car averaged $ 850. A Hoover vacuum was $52.00. 12 cents could buy 3 sticks of gum. A 5-lb bag of flour was 25 cents. Life Magazine cost 10 cents. Hattie McDaniel won an Academy Award for “Gone With the Wind” (she was the first African-American actor to win but was not allowed to attend the grand opening of the film in Atlanta….) The first nylon stockings were sold. Walt Disney’s “Pinocchio” was a hit. Glenn Miller. Tommy Dorsey, Bing Crosby, and Frank Sinatra were popular. Others born in 1940 include Jack Nicklaus, Peter Fonda, John Lennon, Mario Andretti, and Frankie Avalon. OK, but ALSO born in 1940: Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, and Elder Quentin L. Cook. Yep… it was a good year!

Now for the “symptoms.” Yes, I’m slowing down. I can’t leap tall buildings anymore [as if I ever COULD!!]. And I can only hold my breath for about 12 seconds (thanks in part to COPD and only 1/3 lung capacity). It seems like I used to look forward more than backward. I wasn’t just 5 or 11 or whatever – I was 5 ½!  11 ½!  I don’t really mind the numbers. I’ve never hesitated to tell anyone how old I was. And until I was approximately 35-40 I was always considered younger than I actually was. I was skinny until then. All numbers seem to have increased…. Hmmmm…. When I was a student nurse and then an R.N., no one would believe that I was older than 16 or 17. Ha!

I was very athletic. (I know… it’s hard to imagine that now). I was even voted best female athlete as I graduated from BYU High School. Wow. I played sports all through my 4 years at BYU, which included 2 years in Salt Lake getting experience at the LDS Hospital and other places there (like the first, and now GONE, Primary Children’s Hospital, up the hill from our nurse’s residence on 9th Ave). And clinics in downtown Salt Lake. I didn’t know how to use the bus system, so I’d just walk and jog down and back, usually through Memory Grove. I played basketball (on a nurse’s team), and was on our ward team (which also had student nurses) for volleyball and softball.

My childhood was ideal. Cedar City in the 40’s and 50’s. No TV (but YES, we DID have indoor plumbing and electricity). Our phone number was 34. Daddy’s office was 70. We had “Number please” and “Information please.” The Saturday matinee at the Cedar Theatre was 10 cents but went up to 25 cents by the time we moved away in 1957. The most popular songs included “You Are My Sunshine,” “When You Wish Upon A Star,” “When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano,” “Tom Dooley,” “Beer Barrel Polka,” and “I’ll Never Smile Again.” Two favorite games were Parcheesi and TiddleyWinks. I was in a 4-H club, wrote poems, took piano lessons, was in 4 orchestras at once for a while (I played the violin: Jr. High, High School, College and Community orchestras – I had the blessing of playing in “The Messiah,” which was held each year in Cedar City). I saw the Utah Symphony each year, plus Raphael Mendez, Spike Jones and the Wacky Wacketeers, Jose Grecco and his dance company, several Metropolitan Opera singers (in 3rd grade I was “mesmerized” hearing Robert Wede sing “Old Man River”). For a small town, Cedar City gave us incredible opportunities!

I LOVE GOOD MUSIC! I heard Jesse Norman sing “The Last Four Songs of Strauss” with the Utah Symphony (and it still gives me chills even to think about it), and John Longhurst [also born in 1940] play the organ in “The Organ Symphony (also with the Utah Symphony). Placido Domingo and Jess Norman at the Metropolitan Opera. Marilyn Horne in Carnegie Hall. Van Cliburn in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. Eugene Ormandy conducting the Tabernacle Choir. [Yes, it has a new name now]. Il Divo in San Diego and again in Salt Lake. Music on Broadway and lots of other places. I loved singing in my high school choir. And I always have music playing in my head! ALWAYS! Well, I could go on and on about MUSIC – good music thrills my soul!!!

Life is good (even with FLOOD #13 in my basement last week……..) I’m slowly moving from American Fork to Midway. The air quality is MUCH better up there (and I’m hoping it will stay that way). I’m thankful that many of my treasured “papers” are going to the BYU basement (the L. Tom Perry collection, I think). I’ve collected a LOT of “stuff and things” through the years which are very precious to me (but likely not to anyone else … so be on the lookout at D.I., OK??)

I’ve been “blessed beyond measure.” TRULY! I’ve had adventures, experiences and opportunities beyond my wildest dreams. Not all dreams have come true, but so MUCH has “come true” that I didn’t even know how to dream about!! (I didn’t even have to make a “Bucket List!”) I never imagined that I’d visit all 7 continents (yes – that includes Antarctica!), serve 4 missions (including being one of the very first sister missionaries in both the Philippines and Indonesia), become a nurse, write a few books (and read hundreds!), stand at the Southern Tip of the Pan American Highway (in Ushuaia, Argentina), serve on the Relief Society General Board for 11 years, visit a refugee camp in Thailand, have a Facebook account (WHAT??) and a Blog (WHAT???), swim in Navajo Lake, the Pacific Ocean, and a pool in Fiji, teach with missionaries for 7 years at the Missionary Home in Salt Lake and at the LTM and MTC for over 20 years, ride a dog sled in Alaska, teach “Seesters” at the MTC on Sundays for around 23 years, visit over 45 countries and all 50 states, ride the Star Ferry in Hong Kong, have the privilege of attending more than 50 Temples, sail the Pacific, spend time on the Altiplano in Bolivia (over 12,000 feet above sea level!), work at Zion National Park for 2 summers, climb Lady Mountain and Angel’s Landing, see the Sydney Opera House, have the police offer a $100 reward for anyone who could name MEE as a participant in a costly prank, kiss a stingray in Bora-Bora, do a dozen skits with Sandi Rogers for the BYU Women’s Conference, participate in “Time Out for Women” over 130 times, climb Timp, be hospitalized for the first time in my life in Taipei, Taiwan, watch whales breach off the coast of the Big Island (Hawaii), see the Statue of Liberty, wear braces for 10 years, be deeply moved in Jerusalem, Nauvoo, the Sacred Grove and lots of other places (like Fort McKinley, now Fort Bonifacio, in the Philippines and incredible scenery in so many countries I’ve visited, like Switzerland!… where both of my Grandmothers were born), give quite a few talks (including with EFY, Education Week, and “Know Your Religion”),find dear friends in MANY places in the world, say farewell to my parents and many MANY other dear ones (I’m really looking forward to LOTS of reunions!!!). I’m so grateful for my family. All 4 brothers and 3 sisters are still on the planet with me, plus a whole bunch of “posterity!” I LOVE THEM ALL SO MUCH!!

I’m deeply, constantly thankful to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints – and WOW! To be alive RIGHT NOW with an amazing continuing Restoration….  For the Priesthood, Revelation, Temples, Family History work, the Sacrament, ALL Scriptures … And on and on and ON (I’ll think of other things after I “hang up….)” 

AND IF YOU’VE ACTUALLY MADE IT THROUGH THIS WHOLE POST, JUST BE GLAD I WON’T BE GOING BACK TO ADD THINGS THAT I THINK OF AFTER I POST THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  (A person can see and do quite a bit in 79 years!!) 

48 thoughts on “AND BEHOLD, SHE AGETH….

  1. Heidi Van Woerkom

    I read it all Mary Ellen and I wanted more! I LOVE reading what you write and am beyond grateful for our friendship and your loving, Christlike, crazy and silly example in my life from the moment I met you! My life has been blessed by you (as so many have been) and will continue to be. It’s from you that I have never hesitated with telling my “numbers” because I’m proud of every year I’m lived on this earth and like you, I always feel younger than I really am. 🙂 I’m praying that will be the case until I reach my 79th year and beyond! I really am hoping for that if I can have a life as rich and full as you and my 92 year old father. Thank you so very much for being you and loving me. Mwha!

    Reply
    1. MEEThinks Post author

      Wonderful WONDERFUL Heidi… We’ve been friends for a long time, haven’t we. And ONE OF THESE DAYS (I’m using that phrase a LOT, I know….) we’re going to get together!!! Thanks for your happifying note, dear Heidi. I LOVE YOU!!!

      Reply
  2. Annalee

    My dear MEE! It’s so wonderful to have you back!! What a rich, full, WONDERFUL life – what an inspiration for those of us who are not so far along on this exciting adventure. 🙂 Thank you!! Happy Birthday!

    Reply
    1. MEEThinks Post author

      HEY! GOOD TO SEE YOUR NAME AGAIN!! I hope you’re enjoying your life in every way, Annalee!! SO MANY ADVENTURES AHEAD!! Thanks for your note! Love, MEE / Melon

      Reply
  3. Cindy

    What a great post! I’ve attended many of those talks and presentations. Read and listened to the books. I’m 21 years less than you, and look forward to living a wonderful life, as you have shared. I love your humor, positivity and gospel filled messages! I hope your Birthday is Wonderful!
    Love you!

    Reply
    1. MEEThinks Post author

      Thank you SO MUCH Cindy Flee Lee (ha ha… OK, I’m not poking fun, just getting a kick out of your “handle”) I really appreciate your note. And my Birthday was great! Love, MEE

      Reply
  4. Edi Winberg

    Happy birthday MEE. I am so grateful for you for sharing your many wonderful experiences. I met you many years ago at Ed. Week at BYU and followed all your classes each year until you retired. I have missed your weekly blogs and so excited to get this latest one this morning. You have been a wonderful example in my life and you have strengthen my testimony so very much by sharing your experiences in the gospel and also your testimony. All the best to you in your move to Midway. I know the people there will be blessed by your presence. I do love you Mee ( I know you don’t remember me) and you are truly an Elect Lady. Thank you so much for all your years of teaching and sharing the gospel.

    Reply
    1. MEEThinks Post author

      I know your name but can’t picture your face. Evidence of my “decline” as the years go by. I really miss Ed Week — I loved sharing, and I REALLY loved preparing (that was almost a poem!). I hope to eventually do more “Blogging” again. We’ll see. Thank you!! MEE

      Reply
  5. Wendy Roberts

    A VERY Happy birthday to you, sweet, amazing Melon – you will always leap tall buildings in a single bound in my eyes. This is a lovely birthday reflection. I am glad you took the time to write today. You are my personal superhero! I love you!

    Reply
    1. MEEThinks Post author

      SWEET WENDY!!! The one who made the Blog possible! I’m hoping I’ll eventually get back to posting things on the Blog more often. I love your note, and OH how I love YOU!!

      Reply
  6. Joan R Whiteford

    How wonderful to have a post from you today! Happy Birthday! I had the privilege of introducing you when you spoke in Billings Montana many years ago. I think you and I were the only ones who were amused by the fact that you had been in charge of cleaning the erasers in school. Good times. I have since retired from teaching, moved to Seattle and served a mission with my husband (another BY High graduate) before he went Home. Now I stay busy with callings and volunteering at LDS Family Services and at the temple. As long as we are on this side of the veil, there are always more adventures and more opportunities. May you have many many more! Sending birthday hugs and virtual chocolate cake.

    Reply
    1. MEEThinks Post author

      OH! I loved reading your note!! That may have been the time I went to Billings to talk to missionaries? Don’t know. But I got to “tour” the unfinished Temple (so it was quite a while ago). I laughed at the eraser thing. I’ll have to make sure that’s in y “full introduction.” Thanks for the virtual cake… I see it’s German Chocolate! HOORAY! Thank you, Joan. Blessings to you as you continue serving and having sweet adventures! Love, MEE
      G

      Reply
  7. Lezlie Zollinger

    Wow you really have lived a rich and full life! I have read many of your books and listened to you numerous times! What a wonderful treat you are to all of us. I hope your birthday is lovely!!
    ** My Mother was your father’s secretary for a short time in Cedar. She would often mention what a fun child you were!!

    Reply
    1. MEEThinks Post author

      WHAT??? TELL ME YOUR MOTHER’s NAME!! I don’t know if I’d remember all those who worked with my Daddy, but this is a SMALL WORLD to find out your Mother was one of them! Did you live in Cedar City? Or was she a secretary before she married. Anyway, Thanks SO Much for your note!!

      Reply
  8. Stacy Householder

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MELON!!! 🙂 I thoroughly enjoyed reading through all (or a portion anyways) of your huge life experiences and memories! You truly have done it all and seen it all and experienced MOSTLY all that life has to offer. What a gift your life has been, not only to you, but to all of US because you were born and chose to share your life so freely. All of us have laughed and cried and felt the excitement and joys from things you have shared with us. You have taught us so much and we have experienced the spirit in new ways from all of your insights and teachings through the spirit. ON THIS DAY, YOU ARE A GIFT TO ME and to ALL OF US!!! Thank you for sharing YOU with each of US!!! I love you so much, dear friend. I will be celebrating you all day long!! Happy Birthday! 🙂

    Reply
    1. MEEThinks Post author

      WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHEN YOU SAY “A PORTION…” ???? IF YOU DIDN’T READ IT ALL, YOU’LL NEVER PASS THE QUIZ! HA HA HA HA HA I love you SO much! I love my new TOFW cards! I love having people take a second and third look when I wear my GLAM GLASSES (which is OFTEN). I LOVE YOU!!!!! Thanks for ALL your kindness and FUN and amazingness through the years!! MORE LOVE!!!

      Reply
  9. Donna M Rissinger

    I really miss our Wednesday classes in our stake. They were so much fun and uplifting. I always left with a great attitude and many things to reflect on, often giving me an improved perspective and the thought “I can do that”.

    We would have had such great conversations and insight into the many changes that have occurred. I loved hearing your comments and stories. You always made it easy for everyone to contribute. Tender mercies, what’s his no face are phrases I often use.

    I’ve hit 70. Well more like it has hit me. I’ve just committed to a third year of being a service missionary at the Literacy Center in AF, still crochetting like a fool and enjoying life.

    MaryEllen, you have been a great influence in my life. I am eternally grateful. If not before, I’ll look for you on the other side. We could have a class reunion. Can you imagine all the stories and testimonies that will be shared?
    With fondest wishes,
    Donna

    Reply
    1. MEEThinks Post author

      Oh THANK YOU, dear friend!! It’s hard for me to express how much I miss teaching our class on Wednesdays — it felt like a weekly “family reunion” or something! And how I love YOU! I happen to have a wonderful amazing beautiful warm “blanket” (I can’t think of what to call it) on my bed. It’s a “blankie for all seasons!” I love you! Thank you for your sweet, sweet note!! If you ever see me wandering around anywhere, come and get a HUG!! (I love your idea of a CLASS REUNION when we get “OVER THERE”) !!

      Reply
  10. Rian Taveras

    You are awesome!! As a single sister, you are definitely a role model I look up to. Thanks for this post and reminding me that I can have a full life just the way I am!

    Reply
    1. MEEThinks Post author

      You’re one of MANY whom I haven’t been in touch with as much as I’d have liked. Sigh. I really appreciate your note and hope you’ve had a sweet Sunday. THANK YOU!

      Reply
  11. Kate

    Oh, MEE! How grateful I am for you . . . and for the opportunity I had to be one of your “Seesters” lo these many years ago. I always looked forward to Sundays at the MTC because Relief Society was the absolute BEST! I also think (I am not quite as ‘experienced’ in life as you, but my memory is failing me far too often these days!) that you had a hand in teaching our welfare courses. ‘Bienestar’, as we called in Spanish. ☺
    You have done more in your brief 79 years of life than I will likely ever be able to do in mine, but I rejoice in the knowledge that we both will have the opportunity to continue to bear witness of the name of Christ in whatever portion of the world we can. The gospel is such GOOD NEWS, isn’t it?
    I hope that this start of your 80th year is as ‘happifying’ as can be!
    God bless you, MEE . . . God bless you always!♥

    Reply
    1. MEEThinks Post author

      YES YES YES!!! BIENESTAR! “BEING A STAR!” Oh how I loved teaching the gospel principles which are emphasized in welfare services. A great JOY in my life! Thanks for continuing to be a believer and a witness. Good for you!! And thanks so much for your note!

      Reply
  12. Kristen Kresge Zamora

    Your light and happiness never cease to amaze me! Such a fun and inspiring read. Thank you for all you teach me. I will always do my best to follow your example and continue sharing with others what I’ve learned. He’s too a lot more posts! So much love!

    Reply
    1. MEEThinks Post author

      Thanks SO much for your note! It was fun thinking back on some wild adventures! Let’s both keep doing our best (and get better). Thanks again!

      Reply
  13. Teri Wharff

    Oh my goodness! What a life well lived……and it’s not over yet!! Buck up Buckaroo and take your vitamins! *wink* I remember so many of those wonderful songs and lived through those times too! I love remembering. Thank you for “blogging” again. We love you to pieces!!

    Reply
    1. MEEThinks Post author

      YOU CRACK MEE UP!!! And you and John are perfect neighbors, perfect friends, and perfect ministers (not to mention you’re a “U-HAUL COUPLE” and a “HARLEY COUPLE!!” HA HA Oh how I love you two!!!!!

      Reply
  14. Kathleen Jones

    Because I too was born in 1940 (great company) I find your memories are like mine, but on steroids. I am a convert of 47 years, am now on oxygen since moving to this higher UT altitude from CT almost 5 years ago, and am also deeply affected by music, love travel, reading, etc. Family History, Temple work, and so much more that you mentioned also are very important in my life, and influence me even today as I continue to help others What a glorious celebration of your 80th year of mortality. I hope your move will help your COPD, and keep you among your mortal friends a long while more. With gratitude for your talents that have influenced me (for the good) I celebrate you today I still quote your talk on Relativity and, because of it, have tried to live gratefully for ALL that I have. Thank you and happy, happy birthday.

    Reply
    1. MEEThinks Post author

      HA HA HA HA HA … You really cracked mee up with your comment about steroids!! I had such fun thinking of some of the great adventures I’ve had. Nice to “meet” someone who’s the same age. I never thought I’d be this old, but I really don’t mind TOO much. Wish I had 100% lung function… So sorry to hear that you’re on oxygen because of a higher altitude. I’m going 1000 feet higher but haven’t noticed any additional trouble breathing. Did you live anywhere near New Canaan? I had a niece who lived there for quite a few years (she’s in Provo now). Thanks for your kind, wonderful note.

      Reply
  15. Andrea Packard

    Oh my goodness, I’m so glad I found you here and on Facebook! I feel like I’ve been in MEE withdrawal for years!

    I grew up in Downey CA, where Ida Rankin lived. She was in our Ward she and my mother were great friends, I LOVED visiting with her!
    And my sister Lisa ran into you in the Salt Lake airport once. I remember seeing a picture she clicked of you two! She was also a nursing graduate from BYU.

    I love you Sister Edmunds. I’m so glad you’re still here, and that I found you again.

    Reply
    1. MEEThinks Post author

      WOW!! SMALL WORLD!! Thanks SO much for your note. I had a fun time thinking of some of the “wild and crazy” adventures I’ve had. I’m so EXCITED that you knew “Auntie Ida.” I loved going to Downey and then to Fullerton (where she and my Mom and their 2 brothers grew up) to visit with her. I remember going on an outing (a kind of Relief Society retreat) to a huge home near the coast with members of the ward. You were probably too young to go?? HA Anyway, THANK YOU for your note!!

      Reply
    1. MEEThinks Post author

      It was fun doing it — thinking of some of the great adventures I’ve had. I think of Julie and it makes me miss her a lot. I’m sure it’s even more true with YOU. Thanks for your note!!

      Reply
  16. Carla Freebairn

    Happy birthday, MEE! I’m grateful to be one of the many, many people who know you and love you! I hope this is your BEST year, yet! Carla

    Reply
  17. Ida Hartman

    I’m so glad I read the whole thing. My birthday for 69 years was a couple of weeks ago. Thank you so much for sharing your life with all of us.

    Reply
    1. MEEThinks Post author

      Aha! You’re following mee! (Grin) Thanks for your note. It was a lot of fun to think about some of many adventures I’ve had (I should have had quite a few for reaching this age, right? HA). Thank you!!

      Reply
  18. Debra Spire

    Happy Birthday MEE! This world had truly been blessed with your presence! It sounds like you have had an incredible “ride” thus far in your mortal journey. Thank you for sharing your memories with us. May the Lord continue to bless you.

    Reply
    1. MEEThinks Post author

      It was really fun thinking about some of the “wild and crazy” adventures I’ve had. It’s been a good day, too. A Sabbath! Thanks for your note!

      Reply
  19. Byufish / Hollywood

    What a life!! And another or the books….being able to bless soooo many through your inspiring thousands with strong testimony….and fine wit! So grateful for the Sandi and MEE days. You are a true joy! Love and may birthday blessings to you dear friend!

    Reply

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