Author of Madam, Have You Ever Really Been Happy? An Intimate Journey through Africa and Asia


By popular request, for those of you who missed my gala party or might be freaked out to find that I’m still navigating this world at such an advanced age, I have been persuaded to share some of my thoughts on reaching ninety and becoming the prehistoric valentine in my neighborhood.

On paper it sucks. In reality nothing’s changed, except the constant chatter from friends and family, who cannot just introduce me as Meg Peterson, Cary’s mother, but have to add my age for effect. They love the oh’s and ah’s and “I hope I’m like you at that age. You are my role model” responses. I have threatened to wear a placard on my back with huge letters declaring, “YES, I AM 90!” to save the need for such an announcement.

And I can’t resist noting that the pat answer to every complaint, whether a mosquito bite or the forgetting of a name is, “You ARE older, you know.” “Yes, I KNOW, and so what? There ain’t nothin’ I can do about it…so please don’t keep reminding me!”

In all fairness, most of us have been guilty of such admonitions, including me, who, when in my fifties, used to be amazed at how agile my 70-year-old friends were. So my chickens are now coming home to roost. Lesson learned. I’m just grateful for my friends and my good health, and that’s the end of it.

If you’ve ever lived in the Northwest you know that the next three months are very, very special. All year, as we watch the rain and the fog, and try to find something good to say about it…romantic, mysterious, poetic…we wait, and we wait, and we wait. As a newcomer to the area I do more waiting than most, who are acclimated, and really do find rain romantic. Ah, but our waiting is finally rewarded with the most glorious temperate, sunny burst of heaven, combined with cool breezes over Puget Sound. Even a few setbacks at the beginning of June, which is humorously referred to as Junuary, cannot dampen spirits. Bliss has arrived, and the hiking, boating, climbing, biking, swimming, music-making, and street-dancing begin. Glutted with overflowing largesse, Islanders come out of their caves and into their gardens and all that waiting was worth it!

But I digress….

June 2-3 was a busy weekend. For most Whidbeyites it was the real beginning of summer. Even so, with many folks heading off-island, over one hundred friends, relatives, and well-wishers, including fifteen from the Midwest and East Coast, came to celebrate my birthday with music, dancing, gourmet food, and the zip line, until late into the night.

Pictures will speak better than I. Over 1,000 were given to me after the party, so you can imagine how difficult this has been for someone who is known to have trouble making choices. A good practice, however, as I joyfully, resignedly, and gratefully step into my tenth decade.

Many thanks go to Lee Compton, Tim Clark, and Jenny Vitello, my roving photographers.

(Click on any photo to start slide show)

Added to the festivities was live music by the inimitable Chris Harshman, Troy Chapman, and company, with solos from Nancy Nolan, David Edwards, and a birthday poem from Judith Adams that brought down the house.

The potluck, with the theme of sampling food from around the world, was superb. The cake, made by Erinn Cameron-Edwards and her daughters, was over the top! Husband David Edwards did a yeoman’s job of carving, down to the last crumb.

One of the highlights was the spontaneous singing of Happy Birthday. It started out as a simple acapella rendition, and after the first singing, several strong voices, like David Edwards, began, again, and branched into amazing three-part harmony that blew me away. I will never forget it!

How blessed I am to have such a group of upbeat friends!

(Click on any photo to start slide show)

Many thanks go to Lee Compton, Tim Clark, and Jenny Vitello, my roving photographers.

Just before dusk children and adults had a ball on the zipline. Check out these intrepid souls.

Pure delight

With night coming on it was time for a bonfire. The perfect way to end a perfect day.

The bonfire burned out that night, but, 90 or not, the fire still burns brightly in me!






  1. >J. Carol Goodman

    was I invited?

    looked marvelous. Next year is my 90th don’t know what the kids are cooking up.
    latest books can get on Amazon under J. Carol Goodman.

  2. Jerene

    Dear Meg…..thank you thank you for bringing me in to your party and your heart! I so wish I could have been there…and I knew you would have so many people present who deeply love and care for Meg Noble Peterson. This is a lovely posting with fantastic pictures and a fine overview of the day. And thanks to the pre-party planners, friends and family, who offered suggestions and helped you with decisions a plenty! It takes a village!!! I love you, Meg…(whether 90 or 9!)

  3. Sandie Miller

    You are an inspiration!!! Happy 90th!!!

  4. mully

    you are loved Meg thanks for the memories and the reminder to drop the ageist remarks love, mully

  5. Susan Smith

    Happy birthday. What an inspiration you are Meg to all of us. Rembering you fondly from our time together. Susan (New Zealand)

  6. Jackie

    Dear Meg: As usual whatever you are involved in is over the top. I hope you won’t mind if I repost your description of this beautiful event. Not everyone gets to live and whidby Island, and in truth not everyone gets to be 90. As always it is wonderful being a Meg watcher. Love you, Jackie

  7. Lynn Rubright

    Meg’s. So happy I totally ruined at least a month for you following the glorious birthday EVENT with the most deliciously beautiful cake in the world by suggesting you post a blog with few pictures (joke) to invite those thousands of us who know and love you to celebrate your vibrancy vicariously. Thank you for making the effort to share this biggest of days with the world. and beyond. Lynn R

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