First Person

Of Blisters, Beaters, and BYU

Readers share BYU memories made in transit.

Wi11_4205Unimpressive Dismount

By Richard T. Triplett (BS ’06), 
St. George, Utah

After a long morning of grueling finals, I was riding my bicycle toward East Campus Drive. I saw Tara, a girl from my ward on whom I had a huge crush, walking down the opposite side of the road. Hoping to impress her, I started pedaling fast and picked up speed going down a hill. As I passed Tara, I glanced over my shoulder to make sure she could recognize that it was me speeding heroically past her.

But I must have been going a little too fast, because when I looked ahead again I was only feet from jumping the curb and riding headlong into the traffic on East Campus Drive. I squeezed both hand brakes for dear life. To my dismay, my rusty old bike had a much more effective front brake than rear one. Before I knew it, I was in the air looking back at my bike, which was skipping across the sidewalk. I landed flat on my back and skidded into the middle of Campus Drive as traffic came to a screeching halt. My backpack had saved me from any physical injury; however, it did nothing for my bruised ego. I jumped up, ran back to my bike, and sped off just as quickly as I had begun.

Tara left on a mission two weeks later.

Student Dominoes

By Latina DeSisto Griffin (BS ’96), Pflugerville, Texas

To avoid trekking up and down the hill to campus several times a day, I learned to pack everything I could possibly need—books, a planner, food—before I trudged out for the day. During winter the load was complicated by bulky sweaters, boots, and a heavy coat. All of this weight required that I lean forward and hope sudden agility wouldn’t be required.

On a particularly heavy-backpack day, in full winter garb, I raced into a stairwell packed with other students trying to make it to class on time. Halfway up, my foot caught a stair, and I fell forward. I hit the legs of the girl in front of me, who fell into the girl in front of her. My loaded backpack flew up over my head. I couldn’t move, and neither could the other girls. I had to squirm and struggle back to my feet. When we finally untangled, I tried to mutter an apology before the girls ran off. It was weeks before I could mention this to anyone. Now, it’s one of my funniest memories from college.

A Tale of Two Universities

By Stephanie Curtis Perrin (BA ’02), Gilbert, Ariz.

Just before summer term began in 1996, I set out for my first day on BYU’s campus to pay tuition, buy books, obtain a locker, and look for a job. Sporting my cute new shoes, I left the little house I’d just moved into and headed south on University Avenue, off to conquer the world, or at least campus.

My tasks took me all over campus, from the Wilk to the Maeser Building, from the RB to the ASB. By the time I finished, I had blisters in every possible place on my feet, the spring in my step long since replaced by a pathetic shuffle. I headed toward home on University, but soon found that my house had disappeared. Nothing looked familiar. I was bewildered, exhausted, and hot, and my feet were bleeding. Somehow, I remembered that you could also get to my place by walking past the stadium and cutting through some parking lots. I got directions to the stadium and, now barefoot, wandered around until I eventually found my house.

Later, my older brother, a junior at BYU, called to see how my day had gone. I admitted I’d gotten lost and couldn’t figure out how I got so turned around. He said, “You know there are two Universities, right? Avenue and Parkway?”

I would never again mistake University Parkway for University Avenue. And I would also never wear new shoes to walk to campus.

Old-Style Labor Induction

By Kathy Lyon Anderson (BA ’88), 
Ashton, Idaho

We were expecting our first baby in May 1986, long before BYU students carried cell phones. The doctor said he expected to see me at the hospital sometime during the night, but I awoke the next morning feeling great. Since I didn’t appear to be going into labor, my husband, Steve, decided to meet a friend for a racquetball game, then do a little studying. He promised to call me in a few hours.

But the doctor called first and said he wanted to induce me. I was to come in right away. So I set out to find Steve. I checked every racquetball court in the Richards Building but couldn’t find him, so I climbed the stairway to the Clyde Building, where his study group met. He wasn’t there, either. “Maybe he’s in the library,” I thought, so I hiked to 
his favorite spot on the fifth floor. No Steve. Deciding I must have missed him along the way, I retraced my path through the Clyde and then back to the Richards Building. I stopped at every free phone and every familiar face I passed. “When are you going to have that baby?” my friends asked. “Today!” I exclaimed.

The day was getting hotter, and I was getting tired, but I was determined to find my husband, so I repeated my circuit, calling home every time I passed a free phone. Finally, he answered. Our old car had run out of gas.

By the time we got to the hospital about an hour later, I was having regular contractions. Our beautiful daughter was born just three hours after that, thanks to all those stairs I climbed.

Roving Rover

By Kyle R. Christensen (BS ’95), 
Sherwood, Ore.

One of the guys from my floor in Deseret Towers (DT) bought a very old Range Rover from someone in Provo for a few hundred dollars. The doors wouldn’t lock, there was no heat, and there were no seats in the back. When it rained, you had to open the glove box and pull a rope back and forth to get the wipers to move across the windshield. Additionally, the Range Rover had no keys; the engine would start when you turned the ignition without a key.

It was a great car, and many of us used it from time to time. However, one night I made the mistake of using the Range Rover for a date. Everything was great until my date and I came out of Hogi Yogi to find the vehicle missing. Apparently, too many people knew about the car and that keys weren’t necessary. This left my date and me walking up the hill to DT on a cold night. Needless to say, she was not impressed.

Wi11_4206Foot-Traffic Control

By Danielle Elison Webb (BS ’04), 
Gilbert, Ariz.

One pedestrian encounter I’ll never forget took place during my freshman year. Walking from the Museum of Art to the library, I was approaching the crowds at the busy “four-way intersection” in Brigham Square when my concentration was broken by loud music and an unusual spectacle.

The sound was coming from a boom box on the ground next to a tall, skinny student in the middle of the intersection. He was wearing a clown wig, a bright-orange safety vest with yellow reflective strips, white cotton gloves, and a silver referee’s whistle. With an air of authority he blew the whistle, held out one hand to stop oncoming students, and motioned for traffic from the opposite side to walk across the busy square. I laughed and waited for my turn to cross safely.