around the world in eighty years

Today, February 1st, 2012, my loving, vivacious mom, Vangie Burt Regan, turns eighty years old.


Yes, I used ALL-CAPS because holy mackerel that’s a lot of years!

Here I am, going on and on about turning forty, but EIGHTY?

If you were to meet my mom you would never know she is eighty. Her hearing is going and her walk is slowing, but her zest for life just keeps growing and growing. And despite bunions and arthritic hands, she is pure spunk from head to toe.

I’ve spent the past few weeks working on a video montage for her big birthday bash (and when I say big, I mean 400-people-aboard-the-USS-Midway big), and though the video will ultimately be my birthday gift for her, it has also turned into a gift for me. Sifting through piles of photos, albums and picture frames has gifted me glimpses of her long, fruitful life, both past and present. Some were moments I could recall with faces I know well, and others were of a time and place I know nothing of.

Like her days as a songleader at Pasadena City College

Pasadena City College Song Leaders

She's on the far right. Check out that air!

or as the Social Director of the Arizona Biltmore.


Arizona Biltmore check it desk

Looking very official

My favorite part of the video montage is the section with photos of my mom and her husband, Jim. They went to high school together (so did my mom and dad, but that’s a entirely different story), and reunited six years ago, after both of their spouses had passed away. Seeing them together is romantic and love-affirming. It’s beautiful to see two people in their Golden Years, enjoying life together, traveling the world and truly making every moment count.

Traveling in the Golden Years

Atop Mt. Alyeska, Alaska

Three things were a constant in every single photo:

1)   Her strawberry blond hair. Even in the black and white photos, her red hair stands out.

2)   Her smile. My mom’s smile lights up any and every room. Always has, always will.

3)   Her spirit. Her positive spirit oozes out of her, and is apparent in each one of the photos.

She is truly an inspiration to everyone that knows her.

Happy Birthday, Mom. I am proud and blessed to be your daughter. And I will stop complaining about being forty because you have proven to me that the best is yet to come.

Stay tuned this weekend, I will post the video montage after its premiere on Friday night.




  1. 1
    Lori says:

    Happy 80th birthday to your momma! What a beautiful gift you’re giving her! She’s sure to absolutely love the video. By the way, was she the woman with you last week at Disney On Ice? If so, I would have NEVER believed she was anywhere near her age. Hope she has a wonderful celebration!

  2. 2

    OMG…totally brought tears to my eyes. What a life well-lived. Congrats to you both!

  3. 3
    Stacey says:

    such a wonderful post, and what a beautiful experience to share !! Happy Birthday to you both :)

  4. 4
    Cindy says:

    I’ve always loved your Mom’s positive energy. Happy 80th birthday to her!

    As I read this, I thought that I hope I am living as full and happy of life she has lived. It seems looking at it in retrospect is a great way to know if you’ve lived the life you created.

  5. 5

    This is so very sweet, Mary. It really hits home with me because I will be 80 when Xander turns 40, and I hope to be as vibrant and as loved as your mother clearly is.


  6. 6
    Theresa says:

    Happy Birthday to your beautiful mom!!! Did I mention I’m staying at the Biltmore this weekend?

  7. 7
    Sherri says:

    Beautiful Mary…just beautiful. Happy 80th to her.

  8. 8
    Galit Breen says:

    Oh MAry, I have goosebumps seeing these beautiful photos and knowing that you’re making a montage for her- that’s so very you and will definitely be a gift to so many down the years! {Imagine *your* grandkids watching it! Beautiful!}

    Happy birthday to your mom!

  9. 9
    darrick says:

    Happy Birthday to your Momma! And congratulations on discovering some of the origins of your radiance! : )

  10. 10

    Happy birthday, Vangie! I hope I can be as beautiful and vivacious as you on my 80th birthday!

  11. 11

    Happy birthday to such a well-loved and vibrant woman! I can’t wait to see the video!

  12. 12
    Laura F says:

    I love that you are able to enjoy her happiness with Jim. It’s wonderful that ‘life’ has blessed her with love again. I hope you have a wonderful time tonight.

  13. 13
    laura says:

    (sorry I’m late)
    Happy Birthday to your mom!! Those are some gorgeous photos :)

  14. 14

    […] around the world in eighty years by MamaMaryShow Seriously? This has to be the best tribute to ones mother I have ever seen. […]

  15. 15
    Megan says:

    Happy 80th to your mom! Mine is no longer living, but your post reminded me she left so much for me to celebrate and I should do so!

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