Feature

How We Met: Earl and Opal’s Love Story


Didn’t know your favorite old folks were BYU alumni? Well, their creator, nationally syndicated Pickles cartoonist Brian Crane (BA ’73), is a grad. As with many of his strips, this how-Earl-met-Opal backstory is largely autobiographical, based on Crane’s own experience courting his wife, Diana Long Crane (BS ’73), while a student at BYU.

Throughout 2019 BYU Magazine will be sharing campus stories through the drawings of artistic alumni—cartoonists, graphic novelists, and others. Want to pitch your own artistic BYU memory? Send your concept to magazine@byu.edu.

A three panel comic: The first shows a young grandson leaning over the couch to talk to his grandma and grandpa. He says, “What are you looking at Gramma and Grampa?” Grandma replies, “Old photos.” The second shows Grandma Opal holding an old photo, she explains, “They were taken when Grampa and I first met at BYU.” The third panel has Grandpa Earl looking to his grandson saying, “I was fresh off my mission and didn’t quite know how to act around girls.”
Part 2 of a comic: Th first panel has Grandpa Earl continuing his story on the couch, “It wasn’t until our 3rd date that I could bring myself to call her by her first name instead of Sister Long.” The second panel switches to a flashback of the young couple in their BYU sweatshirts walking on a snow covered hill carrying a tube. The panel reads, “For one of our first dates we went tubing at Sundance.” The third panel has the couple on top of a hill, with the young Grandma Opal sitting in the tube and young Earl standing ready to give her a push down the hill. The story continues, “She was sitting in the tube on top of a steep hill wearing a long scarf.”
Part 3 of the comic: Panel 1 goes back to the grandson talking to his grandparents on the couch, grandma takes over the story saying, “Grampa gave me a push not aware he was standing on the end of my scarf.” Panel 2 shows the result of her being pushed with her scarf going taut and young Opal on the tube issuing an, “Ack!” sound. She reads, “I went flying down the hill and then ZING! the scarf went tight around my neck yanking me to a stop.” Panel 3 goes back to the couch, Grandma Opal touches her neck in remembrance, grandson says, “Whoa! Were you hurt?” She answers, “I had a rope burn around my neck, but I was okay.”
Part 4 of the comic: First panel, grandson asks, “Were you mad at Grampa?” She answers, “Yes, but we felt terrible so I forgave him.” Second Panel brings Grandpa in on the conversation, Grandma goes on, “And now we’ve been happily married for 45 years.” Grandpa chimes in, “It’s been 50 years, dear.” Third panel has the grandson hiding behind the couch, grandma answers, “I said ‘happily’ married.”

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