Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Movement the key to productive Longevity – Midge Mebane

Happy Independence Day to all the true believers of freedom as we celebrate the 4th of July.  It is said that it is easy to take liberty for granted, especially when we have never had it taken from us.

When I interviewed Hilo’s Midge Mebane at the Hilo Yacht Club a few weeks ago for this column it was her sincere appreciation for this country that captured my heart.

“I still cry every time they play the Star’s Spangled Banner,” she said.  “I was brought up in Philadelphia and my parents taught me to be respectful for all the things this country provides us.”

The soon to be 88 year old, fit as a fiddle, woman had lots to share about maintaining that youthful vigor, but her patriotic heart made me realize that her story belonged on the day that our country became the land of the free.

Mebane was one of fortunate few young girls during her youth whose junior and senior high schools provided her gender with an opportunity to play sports.

“From an early age I loved to swim in the river near our home in Pennsylvania and I loved to hike,” she said.  “In junior high I participated in gymnastics where I did the rings and the bars.  During high school I played basketball, although not very well,” Mebane said with a laugh.

A graduate of Bedford High School in South Western Pennsylvania, Mebane went on to get her college degree at the University of Pennsylvania.

Growing up she describes herself as an “outdoors person.”  “I did all types of exercise and I was always on the move,” she said.

Mebane’s (maiden name Hill) reputation that she and her siblings were always very active and constantly on the go, gained statue when it was learned that her mother drank lots of coffee during her pregnancies.

“My husband used to tease me that the Hill kids were wired because we were always doing something,” she said.

Mebane’s husband, the late Dr. John Mebane, died in June 2010 and she has tried to endure the pain of losing a life partner.

The couple came to Hawaii for the first time in 1972 when they were provided with a condo in Waikiki during their vacation.

“The moment I stepped off the plane I knew this is where I wanted to live and I asked John to find a way that we could make this happen,” she said.

John Mebane took his wife’s advice and soon landed a job as the Director of Mental Health in Hilo and later open his private practice as a psychiatrist.

Mebane continues to still be on the go as she swims nearly every day at the Hilo Yacht Club, weather permitting, and she will tap dance of Fridays and do line dancing on Tuesdays.

Mebane attributes a great deal of her successful longevity with her ability to stay active and exercise.

“I’m a person that moves,” she said.  “I’ve always been active and on the go as this is what keeps me fit.”

Mebane doesn’t believe in dieting and will eat whatever she pleases with a preference towards carbohydrates and fats.

I also enjoy two cups of coffee, black, each day and will have a martini at dinner time,” she said.

She also suffers from osteoporosis and will take vitamins, but she is a no nonsense person that doesn’t make excuses.

“I feel it is very important to stay active and keep moving in order to maintain good health,” she said.  “It is also important to have a good self image and to look at things in a positive way.”

Midge Mebane

Mebane tries to stay away from negative things in the news and does her best not to burden her friends with her own grief.

“Nobody likes to be around a negative person,” she said.  “I try to be as upbeat as I can and to look at things in a positive way.”

At home Mebane walks up and down her spiral stair case as she looks at various ways to continue moving.

“Movement is the key to longevity,” she said.  “I’ll be 88 on September 4 and I know that a fit body, mind and spirit are all intertwined.”

To keep her mind active Mebane reads a lot with a preference towards historical books and romance novels.

“I enjoyed reading the biographies of Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, to name a few,” she said.

Since losing her husband Mebane has become more spiritual and credits her inner strength with her belief.

“It’s very difficult sometimes as I miss John, especially during martini time,” Mebane said.  “I have children who are on the mainland that have asked me to move, but Hilo is where I will stay.”

With Independence Day upon us Ms. Mebane would remind me that she was raised to be patriotic.

“If there is one thing I miss it’s the large parades with the various marching bands,” she said.  “I love this country and just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes.”

And someday should you happen to see a grateful citizen doing laps around his neighborhood in Paradise Park remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”

Email the Big Dog at waiakeabigdog@aol.com.


July 4, 2011 Posted by | Profiles | , | 2 Comments