BYU

In retrospect I wish someone would have sat me down at about 12 and given me some good straight talk.  I wish I'd have been told that if I applied myself, studied more, took some A.C.T. prep classes, and buckled down in high school instead of joining so many clubs I could have a wider selection of available universities.  I wish I'd have known my potential then like I have come to know later in life.  I took the A.C.T. very casually--just sort of rolled out of bed and went to the test site.  Did I even eat breakfast??  B.Y.U. seemed far enough away and at least good enough for me.  The fact was that John had pretty much brainwashed me.  So off to B.Y.U. I tooled.  Would I have thrived at another university? Perhaps.  Do I think that Brigham Young University is the KING of the hill?  No, I don't.  Our family has a pretty good history there, but my blood does not run blue and white.

All that being said, I had a thoroughly great time at B.Y.U.  I took advantage of many of the opportunities there, made some lifelong friends, expanded my puny little mind, and broadened my narrow horizons.  I could have used some good hard career counselling.  My grades were good enough to get me into a respectable graduate program.  My resume has never been a drawback.  The fact that B.Y.U. has come into its own and risen up the charts has been a good thing for all of us.
I came to B.Y.U. on the heels of a show-stopping summer in Jackson Hole.  The friends I made there were upper classmen at B.Y.U., so that served greatly to my advantage.  Dorms are recommended for freshmen, so I applied and found myself in Elizabeth Ann Whitney Hall.  This suited me.  Each of my five roommates and I threw in $5 a week for food.  We took turns shopping at Carson's on the corner and cooking meals.  What a heck of a lot of fun that was.  I loved the roommate situation and could always find someone to do something zany with pretty much anytime.  We were all compatible and equally messy.  We had two Marilyns in our apartment, so I became "Cutie".  I don't remember how that originated.  Back then I was pretty footloose and funny.  Life has sobered me up some.

I enlisted a sophomore, Dawn, one floor up to provide career counselling.  She helped me register for classes and advised me to declare English as a major.  She must have asked me what I liked to do, so when I said read books, English must have seemed like a logical choice.  Casual life planning most assuredly.  Most of what I was registering for was general education requirements anyway.  Who knew that I could have started from scratch in any department on campus and studied absolutely ANYTHING???  Yet again, something I am sure is obvious to others, but not me!!  I was a pretty diligent student--when it convenienced me.  For the most part I was easily distracted.  The swimming class I took the first semester ((I couldn't swim yet) prompted me to spend lots of time in the pool. I loved to dive!  Someone else took me jogging at the Smith Fieldhouse with them, so that became an obsession as well. I'd never known anyone who jogged.  I did it regularly and even branched out from the track to campus and the streets around the campus.  I took tennis and another PE. class called "Outdoor Adventures". In that class we scuba dived, climbed mountains, and generally kicked up our heels.  I think it was basically a survey of all kinds of activity options.  To say that I was overdosing on PE. classes was probably a safe analysis of my freshman year.  I wanted to take skiing in the worst way, but unfortunately I got pneumonia at the end of the first semester and was advised to back off a little.  I think my freshman class scheduling probably resembled a kid in a candy store.  It was all just too good to be true!

 I also remember taking a Humanities 201 course.  This sticks out to me because I have found myself consistently in art museums throughout the world.  Why oh why didn't I pay closer attention?  I've hopefully overcome my slow start in art appreciation.  I also took a CDFR (child development and family relations) class which I remember enjoying.  The two classes everyone wanted to get into were Social Dance and Dating and Marriage.  I set some sort of record by graduating without either of those under my belt. I found all of it interesting and pleasing.  Some of the classes required papers which I typed on my portable manual Adler which I set up on the ping pong table in the basement of the dorm.  I had a bottle of white out, but I was anal enough that if I made a mistake on the last word of a page, I started completely over!  Kids don't appreciate this today.  I also remember taking dittoes to the copy center for various things.  Dittoes.  Dinosaurs from the past.

I loved going to plays, lectures, concerts, basketball games (an extreme fan of Kresmir Cosic) when I could snag a ticket, and to the movies in the Varsity theatre.  Someone introduced me to the foreign films and drug me along to a few of them with him.  Getting tickets at B.Y.U. was a sort of social event.  I remember sleeping overnight in the fieldhouse with thousands of others to get Neil Diamond tickets. Lines.  Always, lines.  I also discovered the hobby room in the student union center and did some decoupage there for gifts.  We could choose to go to one of the neighboring dorms and use the sewing machine there, so I did a little sewing for myself.  My budget was modest, so I had to make do.  I normally cashed a check for $5 each week.  That might buy me an ice cream cone here and there or a quickie burger at the CoagarEat.  I could sneak a book out of that budget too if I tried.

President Dallin Oaks was a new president the year I arrived.  I remember him telling us in the very first assembly that he should be able to walk up to any one of us at any given time and ask us what book we were reading.  NOT textbooks, books for reading pleasure.  He advised us to always have one going.  I took that advice to heart and started a little library above my dorm bed. The Little Prince, Chronicles of Narnia, and The Art of Loving were popular discussion topics.  Because my home evening brother were older and more sophisticated, I learned the value of lively discussion groups.  Sometimes I struggled to hold my own, but those skills increased. During my first crack at finals week, I wandered into the bookstore for a break from studying and asked one of the clerks for a recommendation.  He handed me one of James Herriott's books, and my finals suffered greatly, as you are probably not surprised.

We had a full religious life at B.Y.U.  Every other Tuesday was an hour long devotional.  We heard ALL of the general authorities over the course of four years.  We had 10 stake firesides on Fast Sunday.  We attended church on Sunday, and I think we had M.I.A. during the week, but I don't have clear memories of that--I probably was distracted and used that night for something else.  I became a very conscientious visiting teacher. Every Monday night was  Family Home Evening  with assigned "family members".  Our family consisted of some older students who lived off of campus.  One of my family brothers, Roland, ended up marrying my cousin, Reven when she came to BYU the second semester.  It didn't end well.  We always had a stream of visitors in our apartment during the hours allowed.  The dorm was a busy noisy place.

(Reven Foulger)

Two things were unique to dorm life in the 1970's.  One was a tradition indigenous I suppose to this university.  When you were kissed for the first time, you "OWED ICE CREAM" to your roommates.  I had the remnants of a boyfriend from my summer in Jackson, so when he kissed me for the first time in Provo, I showed up with the obligatory ice cream.  Another interesting tradition was candle passings.  When a girl got engaged, the candle passing chairman in the dorm would put up a sign announcing that a candle passing would be held.  Everyone gathered in suspense and anticipation.  We linked arms and swayed while we sang songs.  The ring was slipped over a candle, the candle was lit, and then the candle was passed from girl to girl.  When it got around to the owner, she blew out the candle, and everyone melted into ooh's and ahh's.  I attended one where the candle and ring went around twice and nobody blew it out.  Then a boy sneaked up behind his girlfriend and blew it out!  Surprise!! That was his proposal to her! 



As I said, I arrived with a boyfriend left over from my summer.  I was pretty crazy about Von.  He was my first romantic experience.  We'd had a magical thick summer.  When we got to B.Y.U. he broke it off within a couple of weeks.  I guess he had a pretty wild party year from what he told me the next summer.  He did get it together and go on a mission.  But my heart was left in the wake.  I was pretty devastated.  I made the mistake of seeking some solace and advice from a religion teacher.  He was pretty detached from my pain.  I am sure he got dragged into lots of domestic disasters.

One of the highlights of my B.Y.U. years was teaching at the American Fork Training School. I pause here to thank John for introducing me to this! Every Thursday a bus left from the Wilkinson Center to take students out to the state training school where we facilitated an M.I.A. program for the residents.  I did this for five or six semesters, and it was tremendously important to me.  Our students were severely mentally handicapped.  We adjusted our lessons accordingly, and the result was really something special.  At a Saturday sports activity in the early spring out at the school, I met a young man on the way home on the bus who later told me he had been attracted by my profile.  A first for me!  He approached me and asked me for a date.  This was pretty gallant in my book!  Berk was the oldest of 12 kids, a returned missionary, very handsome, and I was pretty smitten.  He had a snazzy little yellow Toyota.  We went to movies, on picnics and taught each week at the training school.  I was very enthusiastic about this turn of events!  He completely curled my socks! We got into a routine of studying the scriptures on Sunday which I loved so much.  We dated the rest of the school year, and one of my journals is full of the letters he wrote me all summer while I was again in Jackson, and he was working in Mammoth Lakes, California.  I guess when I die all of that will be open for inspection unless I destroy them.  I wish I had my letters to him.  He professed love to me--heady stuff for a 19 year old.  But when fall came, he pretty quickly broke it off, saying he had some sort of "prayer fog" when it came to asking God if I was the one.  I didn't get that at all.  By the end of the school year he had married the CDFR valedictorian.  He and I are friends on facebook.  He practiced law, but now he writes horror books for young adults.  I know.

One thing that stands out to me so clearly about my freshman year is a night with my roommates and a visiting friend from high school.  We wanted to all make a pact that we wouldn't kiss until we were married in the temple.  It sounded like a truly noble idea at the time.  We turned out the lights and had some sort of ceremony with candles, pledges and emotion.  I kept that pact until my junior. year!  Berk didn't comprehend this, but I think he was fascinated by the concept and my devotion to it.  I don't remember how I justified breaking my pledge, but I have some regrets that it took me so long!  It seems a little silly now that i think about it.  Kissing is pretty fun! 

One of the advantages I did have my freshman year was John.  Even though he is seven years older, we attended the same branch, and he would show up at my door sometimes to check on things.  It was nice to be associated with him and to have a door opened for me there already. He was a ride home on holidays and gave me advice when I asked. He got engaged to Marilyn who had lived in the same dorm the previous year.  It was fun to make wedding plans with her and shop for bridesmaid dress material.  That wedding took place in the summer in Salt Lake.
Other highlights of that year were the dedication of the Provo Temple, the opening of University Mall, and our Y Day project at Cascade Springs clearing out the heavy growth of watercress.  Pretty weird but an absolute blast.  I said goodbye, headed home, got all four wisdom teeth out, and then headed back to my summer job in Jackson.

My sophomore year isn't as clearly entrenched in my memory.  It started out pretty gloomy with the end of my boyfriend.  I navigated those waters slowly.  Fortunately, I had moved into the apartment of all of my Jackson friends--Shirlene, Betty, Karen, and Jana Rae who was part of the Homecoming royalty that fall.  Off campus life differed dramatically from dorm life.  We rarely cooked together, and because my roommates were older they were more focused--starting internships, dating seriously, and in the case of Shirlene, leaving on missions!

I became interested and drawn in by outdoor education and began to take some Youth Leadership classes.  These included camping trips, a mountaineering course (rapelling etc.), a winter camping expeience in igloos that we built up in Heber, and a whole new cast of quirky character friends!  I can't do full justice to these friends, but our activities usually involved quests--not really quests, more missions of some sort. If I can beat my press deadline for this story perhaps I'll add a great tale that involved Ernest Wilkinson, a limousine, and a dark night at the airport...If I don't, remind me to tell you.

One of the grand fun things I began this year was auditioning for and singing in the Goodtime Co.--a mixed barbershop choir composed of about 50 students.  I LOVED it.  We practiced several times a week at 4:00 below campus in an apartment lounge.  On weekends we had gigs here and there on campus or somewhere in the valley for a civic event or store opening.  The girls wore long navy blue skirts and white blouses with long puffy sleeves with a red tie.  The boys wore red bowties, black slacks, and white shirts.  Our best gig was a day at Trolley Square.  We sang several numbers as a choir and then broke into quartets and just wandered through the shops singing.  Great fodder for picture taking, but unfortunately, this was pre-digital.

I met Mark in GoodTime Co.  He was a baritone, and I was a lead.  We made some pretty good music together!  Mark was color blind.  I remember his mother had coded his shirts with tags in the back so he didn't get too flashy.  He had been a champion road rally driver in high school and competed nationally.  I thought that was pretty cute and insisted he demonstrate his killer skills in an empty parking lot one night. We dated most of the year, and I was all set to attend his military ball with him the next susmmer when he broke it off.  Apparently, he'd met a REAL dancer in his dance class, and they did get married.  One of the fun things he and I did was take a thorough cemetery tour in Salt Lake City.  He had grown up there and apparently knew where all the good graves were.  I was on a bus trip back from Roosevelt where I had stayed with a friend, Kathy, who was teaching 5th grade down there.  I stopped over in Salt Lake on my way to Ogden, he met me, and whisked me away on the cemetery tour!  Pretty fun.  Mark accompanied me to the training school a few times too.  One night I had organized a post M.I.A. event back on the B.Y.U. campus for some of the workers.  We cranked home made ice cream and flew kites!  Somewhere I have a picture of Brigham Young holding a kite.  This activity was a little edgey--I think it made VERY conservative--VERY VERY conservative Mark a bit nervous.  According to facebook he just retired from 40 years working as some sort of financial guy for the church.

Without a doubt the best part of my sophomore year was meeting Julie Driggs.  She had been assigned as my co-teacher at the training school.  We were delighted with that task, and in the process became the best of friends.  She incidentally was a freshman living in my old dorm!  I made regular visits there to read bedtime stories.  We all became thick comrades, and Rosie and Julie came to Jackson with me the next summer to work!  I have letters and a stack of memorabilia associated with Julie.  She was one of a kind and such a key player in my story.  You can imagine my delight decades later to find out she is a cousin to another one-of-a-kind guy, Bruce.  (note my killer grammar skills here.  When used as an adjective one of a kind gets hyphens.  You're welcome.)




(sophomore roommates and family brothers)

(how the beautiful half lives...roommate Jana Rae)

(the left behind boyfriend, Dick, of Sister Shirlene.  I was
assigned to "watch" him for 18 months--a task I took right to heart.)

(Karen and Dick)


(my favorite "cat" and lifelong greatest friend, Shirlene)

(I was a co-winner of her "Guess the Mission contest"!  
My prize was my name and address given to one of her fellow Swiss 
missionaries.  He and I corresponded, met six months later, played a good bit, and 
I was told recently that he committed suicide a few years later.  I suspect that he was 
homosexual.)

(all pancaked-up with Patti.  We delighted in hiding in 
bushes on campus and jumping out at night.  What
were we thinking?  Who needed drugs?)

(I threw myself a 20th birthday bash--made four cakes and invited
all the neighbors in.)

(Our stake built the world's biggest banana split for an activity!
We were in the Guinness Book of World Records for a
whole year!  Check it out--1973)


(a mid-winter getaway to our Happy Place)

(I rescued this cat from a disbanded window display in
the campus bookstore.  Shown here with Dick and Shirlene's little sister, 
Marilyn.  This cat made the rounds and served me well, until
his head got bent off.)










My junior year began at the end of August with a rolicking girls camp for the Young Women at the American Fork Training School held in beautiful American Fork Canyon at a camp.  Julie and I had volunteered to help there--what an experience.  The day began with the methodical blanket dispersement of birth control pills!  The whole week was unique and surreal.  I wish I had pictures.

This was the year I moved into the cookie jar and lived with some neighbors from the previous year. I spent the first semester basically involved in my survival experience.  That gets its own chapter.  Survival sort of overwhelmed the entire school year.  My survival mates kept the front door swinging back and forth.  Craig was taught baptized.  Sue played the guitar.  We wore out some Roberta Flack albums.  Toni brought a kitten into the mix.  I sent in missionary papers.  I cranked away at school.  Can you tell it is all sort of a blurr?  Craig was central.  Janet was central.  I remember a physical challenge I took which involved hundreds of biking, swimming, and jogging hours--for which I received a T-shirt.  That took me on long glorious solo bike rides all over the county from north to south.  I taught gospel doctrine, and that was a high point.  I loved it, and I discovered that teaching would be a key ingredient of my story.  This junior year chapter fleshes out more in the survival chapter.  Don't think it was puny.  It was MAJOR!

After I returned from North Carolina in December, I began a new semester in January--I was a senior!  Rosie had found us a room in a basement apartment--Grandpa's.  I took him $25 a month for that privilege.  I eased back into that stream and took up the books once again.  My last companion, Sister Flandro, told me about a pilot major her father was involved in as a professor--University Studies.  You basically designed your own major.  I was anxious to exit B.Y.U., so I studied my current credits and fashioned a major out of three minors--English, Youth Leadership, and Creative Dramatics. It was approved, and I set my sights on springing out into the world.  My current religion teacher, Brother Walter Bowen, had been called to replace President Alexander in North Carolina, and he invited me to return with him and help out in the  mission home.  That enticed me, but I didn't pursue it.   I was taking some puppeteering classes at the time (another separate chapter as well), and I continued to take every writing class I could find.  I was extremely interested in the creative process.  This proved a fascinating journey, and I'm sure I found classes related to it in the catalog that NO ONE had even noticed!

I  picked up a medical student University of Utah boyfriend at an M.I.A. activity to which his Salt Lake City ward had been somehow invited.  I was posing as a clown that night as part of the activity, and I apparently grabbed John Ward's attention with my contrasting jet black hair--he said it was the blackest he'd ever seen.  Ho hum. We dated for a few months and then parted ways.  Chris Giles entered the scene.  Somehow among dating and marrying him and conceiving and bearing my first child  and surviving on nothing literally, I finished my coursework and received a diploma.  Thus ended my B.Y.U. chapter.  I look back on it all as a time of great personal discovery.  How do people navigate the rest of their lives without such a holding tank time to peer inside oneself so introspectively?  Truly, how do they?









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