My 80th Birthday, 1989

The big event of last year was that I turned 80 on Christmas Eve. It isn’t a time to look forward to, but on the other hand I guess even in this age of long lives, it is something to accomplish, and especially feeling as well as I do and with as much energy.

For years I had said that I didn’t want a big ‘wing-ding’ on my 80th birthday. Along about November, Joan called and said she had persuaded Dick to go to Utah for Christmas and that Donna and of course Matt was coming with them. I hadn’t been here for Christmas for years and since I have the triplets practically around the corner and Kathy and Mike’s four in Orem I knew it would be a fun time with the ‘little kids’. Joan said they were going to leave the day after Christmas to go to Arizona to visit Dick’s relatives. I called Donna and said that we should get plane reservations right then to go back to California, since I was going to be there anyway.

A few days later Joan called to say they were not going to Arizona, so wouldn’t need to get plane reservations because Donna and I could ride back with them. I thought that most of the grandchildren who were in school had gone home for the Holidays. Joan, Dick Matt and Donna came and we began preparations. I knew that Joan would love being here with the triplets for Christmas and was glad she was here. Then David and Lari told me that the triplets were going to be in a Christmas program for their ward and did I have any tinsel they could wear for their crowns. I said I did. The day before Christmas Eve (my actual birthday) a beautiful Christmas floral arrangement arrived at my door with a card, “Wish we could be with you for your birthday and Christmas, The California Gang”.

During the day I called Kathy’s and a voice answered that didn’t sound like Kathy, but she said it was and asked me to hang on for a moment. When she came back on I said that it then sounded like her.

That evening we all got ready to go see the triplets in their program and I asked someone to call Lari and ask if she wanted gold or silver tinsel and she said told. So, we went out carrying a sack of gold tinsel from the attic. Everyone started to walk down the driveway and I asked them why they weren’t in the cars because the triplets would freeze before we got the four blocks to their ward and David said, “Gram, our ward had three ward meeting in it you know, and every room was full tonight, so they moved the program to your ward.” Well, I continued to ‘bite’ on everything that happened. We got nearly to the door of my ward and I could see people eating at tables. “I didn’t know it was a dinner,” I said, but no one said anything. We got to the cultural hall and I looked inside and saw a gal standing there holding a baby. “My word,” I thought. That gal really looks like my Marilyn…IT IS MY MARILYN!” and then saw Steve, Linda and the rest. My whole family was there and they couldn’t believe I was surprised, but I couldn’t have been more so. And everyone had been here for two days, and every time they went past my house on their way to get to the Cultural Hall of my ward ready, they all ducked down in the cars so I wouldn’t see them. But, I said that they needn’t have worried. My ward all knew about it, my grandchildren and great grandchildren knew and all my friends, but I remained in total ignorance. Steve had brought up his catering skirts and had a beautiful table set up with a huge birthday cake along with cheeses, fruits, vegetables and hot hors d’oeuvres. Then all my children entertained and I am still hearing about how wonderful everyone thought they were. Well, I won’t dispute that. It was a wonderful party I enjoyed it immensely.

They sent out beautiful invitations and also asked everyone to send to Donna a letter written to me. Marilyn bought a huge notebook and covered it with material and lace on the outside and all the letters were put in it. And that was one of the great things about my party. Letters had come from all over the country and each was choice. And, I am still getting them…two this week.