Friends provide Breeding a birthday surprisePublished 8:34am Thursday, August 29, 2013
By Jay Sowers
The Selma Times-Journal
Wednesday marked the 92nd birthday for Selma native Mallieve Breeding, who many know as Madam Butterfly, and she planned to start her day like so many recently – surrounded by friends at a water aerobics class at the Selma YMCA.
While she did get to start her day in the pool like she wished, once her time in the water was over, Breeding was surprised with a birthday cake and a nearly a dozen friends singing “Happy Birthday” in the YMCA lobby.
“I didn’t know they were going to do this,” Breeding said. “The people I take water aerobics with, you can just see how they are. They are the sweetest people.”
All morning long, people would stop as they passed on their way to or from exercising, and wish Breeding a “happy birthday,” something she said doesn’t seem at all out of place there.
“I was just overwhelmed. That’s all I can say about that,” Breeding said. “The people here are so sweet and thoughtful, and they just care for each other.”
Breeding has been coming to the YMCA twice a week for the water aerobics classes, and while she can list off a string of physical benefits from participating in the activities, Breeding said the friendships she has found there were the most valuable.
“It’s just a wonderfully friendly environment here,” Breeding said.
Former Selma city councilwoman Nancy Sewell, who also participates in the water aerobics classes, said watching Breeding return each time has helped her get motivated for the exercises.
“She is my inspiration,” Sewell said. “On the days I feel weary and tired and don’t want to get up out of bed, the first thing I think about is Miss Mallieve. She owns her strength to the Y and the water aerobics.”
Water aerobics instructor Carrie Bender said even though she is leading the classes, sometimes she finds herself following Breedin.
“She really inspires me to be in here at her age,” Bender said. “If she can do it, I can do it. She’s just a jewel and I really enjoy being around he.”
And on her 92nd birthday, a time when most would likely consider slowing down, that idea hasn’t even crossed Breeding’s mind.
“It makes a world of difference physically and mentally,” Breeding said. “I’ll be swimming here for the rest of my life.”