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….)”