Stories of the Century: Parts I, II, & II - Y Magazine
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Stories of the Century: Parts I, II, & II

Adventures from BYU’s Central Heating Plant

Dan Croft

As a student at BYU, I worked at the Central Heating Plant, just south of the Wilkinson Center. Most campus buildings were heated by high-temperature, high-pressure water pumped through pipes in tunnels that criss-cross the campus. The summer I spent cleaning the tunnels provided the only sustained experience of my life where my 6-foot-2-inch height was a disadvantage. I spent that summer hunched over the pipes I was dusting, wishing I was a midget. On the other hand, it was nice to be able to get from the heating plant to a corner near the Harris Fine Arts Center without getting rained or snowed on during the winter.

One of the student employees’ assignments at the heating plant was called “pulling the ashes.” Several times each day, the furnace operator would scrape the spent coals off the top of the burning coal heap, using an oversized hoe with a long metal handle. These coals would fall into a large container with an opening on the floor below. Our job was to open the door at the bottom of the clinker container and, using a smaller hoe, slowly pull the coals out onto a large metal grate. The grate was at the end of a powerful vacuum that sucked the coals up several stories into a holding bin. The contents of the bin were emptied into dump trucks for disposal. Sometimes the clinkers were large and hard and had to be broken up before they would fit through the grate. This provided exercise for the students.

Early one morning, more than ashes fell onto the grate by the vacuum opening. Science classes used to dispose of cadavers by burning them in the furnaces at the heating plant. One cadaver had not been placed completely into the furnace, and a human hand dropped into the bin and out the other end. The man pulling the ashes—part of the full-time heating plant staff—whooped and hollered all the way up the stairs, where the operator managed to calm him down.

The furnaces were usually shut down one at a time for maintenance in the summer. It was the students’ job to crawl inside and clean the room-size chamber where the coal was burned and the water heated. This was done with compressed air through a pipe wielded by the student. The ash and soot were air blasted off the water pipes that lined the heat chamber. The student wore a facemask, goggles, and a hat, and he usually tied rags around his wrists and ankles to hold shirtsleeves and pant legs in place.

Any spot of skin not covered was coal-black—literally—before the job was done. Cleanup time in the shower room was usually more than an hour.

Hiring the students could be an experience all by itself. One day a rather short student with hair whose length just met the BYU standard for boys came to be interviewed. The boss always provided a tour of the facility, and on this occasion ended up at the shower room.

Stopping outside the door, the student said, “There’s just one problem.”

“What’s that?” asked the boss.

“I’m a girl.”

The boss’s red hair paled beside the color of his face even days later as he recounted the incident for us.

The staff at the heating plant included at least one amateur doctor. He offered to relieve the pain building up in a finger I had smashed earlier in the day. It hurt enough that I started walking around with my fingers pointing up, resting my hand on my chest so my arm wouldn’t get too tired. Our electrician said he could relieve the pressure, using his tiniest bit to drill most of the way through the fingernail and then slowly scratching the rest of the way through. As it turns out, the fingernail was no match for the drill. It went right through, squirting bloodl over the electrician, the drill and me. The good news is that the pressure was relieved, the pain went away, and the finger healed. The nail, however, still grows extra thick where the drill did its work.

It was also at the Central Heating Plant where one of the old-timers gave this student a morale boost that I remember 30 years later. I had gone to work very early one morning to pull the ashes before class. The operator said a lot had piled up and he was glad someone had come to help. Then he paused for a moment and added, “I have a lot of confidence when you’re here, Dan.” It was a nice way to start my day. 

From Adversity to Victory: Football in Cougar Country

Linda A. Thompson Odum

I attended BYU off and on from Fall 1981 until I graduated in Spring 1988. My favorite memory of my time at the ‘Y’ took place at what was then Cougar Stadium. I attended every home game, watching Jim McMahon and Steve Young work their magic with a football.

I will never forget the 1983 game against Utah State. Steve Young received a concussion in the first part of the game, but still had the “moxie” to chase down and tackle the guy who intercepted his pass.

My seat was on the fifth row, right behind the players’ bench. When Young was taken out of the game for a few plays, he just sat there with a towel over his head.

Even when he returned to the game, reports said everything was still a bit fuzzy to him.

What made the game so spectacular took place in the last 11 seconds. BYU was behind 34-31, when Young took the ball, broke through two defenders on the three-yard line, and scored the winning touchdown. The stadium was rocking, and I lost my voice cheering for victory.

That was just one of many exciting games I attended. However, I never forgot that game and Steve Young’s example of overcoming adversity.

Assassination of JFK: An Englishwoman Remembers

Jane Bennett McBride

The lunch break I had scheduled into my first semester at BYU was almost over. That hour was a difficult time for me each day. I was an out-of-place, returned missionary Englishwoman, struggling with a new country, a new university system, even a partially new language for this somewhat sheltered but well-educated young woman. English people are reticent to share their lives quickly, and I was no different. Friends did not come easily or quickly, and so lunchtime passed slowly and awkwardly.

On this particular day I wandered toward the David O. McKay Building where I was to enjoy another session of Sister Jeannette McKay’s basic humanities course. (I believe that was the building and the instructor’s name, but I could not swear to it!) I was a little early as usual, and started a hesitant climb up the stone stairway. Students were moving about quietly, some descending in pairs. I smiled at one couple, and they returned my greeting with a cold stare, followed quickly by downcast eyes. Other serious students were painstakingly making their way down to the exits, but I trudged upwards.

My classroom was quiet. One or two students were already engrossed in whatever demanded their attention. Slowly the room began to fill, but there seemed to be a strange quiet despite the muttered whisperings. Many desks were empty, more than usual, but my watch said it was time for class to begin. A few minutes passed before Sister McKay walked into the room and took her place at the front of the class.

I don’t recall her exact words, but I do recall the sadness in her voice as she announced that she thought it only appropriate that class be canceled in light of the assassination of President Kennedy.

Very quietly the students left the room, both young men and women with tears flowing, and couples holding on to each other. I really didn’t understand: I didn’t know then how important a president of the United States was to the people of this country; I didn’t understand what Jack Kennedy meant to that hopeful generation; I didn’t comprehend the implications; I really didn’t know.

Once outside I soon found the bright yellow flyer which had been hastily published, and which gave a few more details about the tragic event. Was this what they did in this country I had chosen to live in? No American acquaintance had ever suggested that political turmoil might be part of the landscape. Perhaps it wouldn’t impact me anyway. Inwardly I shrugged my shoulders, turned in the direction of my apartment, and moved away from the bewildered souls.

Some years later, holding my American-born children close to me, I heard the radio announcer tell of the death of Robert Kennedy. I cried.

BYU and I

Tom Roulstone

The first time I heard the initials BYU was in the dining room kitchen of Deer Lodge, Lake Louise, in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. I was an eighteen-year-old high school dropout who had crossed Canada in response to a vivid dream. One night in the winter of 1956, I dreamt about the Rocky Mountains. Awaking from the dream to a wintry Toronto day, I vowed that come spring I’d be off to Alberta. I had no idea what I’d find there, but I knew I had to go.

At the end of April 1957, my friend Doug and I quit our jobs at the Canadian Tire Company and started west. We rode the train to Winnipeg, Manitoba, and then hitchhiked the rest of the way to Lake Louise, Alberta, where we both got kitchen jobs at Deer Lodge. On my first day in the dining room kitchen, the elderly supervisor told me that her granddaughter was coming from BYU to work at the lodge for the summer. “BYU?” I asked. She explained that her granddaughter was a Mormon and that Brigham Young University was a Mormon college.

A few days later, a pretty, tanned coed entered the kitchen. She was wearing a mauve blouse, matching flared skirt, white sox and saddle shoes. I was captivated. Her grandmother introduced her as Dolly Smith. She politely acknowledged me and abruptly turned away. At the time I was miffed, but later I realized that good Mormon girls were taught to stay clear of young men with ducktail haircuts, long sideburns, and motorcycle boots. I consoled myself in the knowledge that a pretty, redheaded waitress seemed to be interested in me.

Two days later, the redhead and I were playing table tennis in the Roundhouse, the staff recreation room, when Dolly walked in, sat on a couch, and picked up a magazine. I studiously ignored her. Soon my partner had to go on shift. In fact, the room completely emptied except for Dolly and me. After an awkward silence, I asked her if she’d like to play table tennis. She agreed. Later, we talked for hours. She described her first year at BYU, and such fun activities as climbing the mountain to paint the Y. Before long we were inseparable. A new world opened up to me as I attended MIA and church services in Banff. Soon, sneakers replaced the motorcycle boots and the sideburns disappeared. At the end of the summer, Dolly returned to BYU and I returned to Toronto. Our romance continued through the mail.

Shortly after returning to Toronto, I phoned the LDS Mission Home and asked if I could learn more about the Church. The mission secretary, Elder Bert Stevenson, paused for a second before confirming that I was really a nonmember. Later, he explained his pause by saying that it was unusual, to say the least, for people to phone the mission home to ask about the Church. On November 16, 1957, I was baptized.

The following month, I boarded a bus for the long drive from Toronto to Provo to visit Dolly. BYU was everything she had told me it was. Although I only spent a few days there, I relished the atmosphere and still vividly remember the beautiful, treed walkways filled with happy, clean-cut students. With the fall semester over, Dolly and I joined the exodus for Christmas holidays.

When we reached Dolly’s home in White Rock, British Columbia, our plans were nebulous. I found a place to stay and for the next two months searched for a job without success. (In January 1958, the post-war boom was over and Canada experienced the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression of the ‘30s.) Young as we were, Dolly and I had talked of marriage; but as time went by the impracticality of this became apparent–at least to Dolly. Quite rightly, she called off the engagement and returned to BYU in the fall. I was devastated. However, Branch President (later bishop) Soren Hoyrup and his wife, Mary, took me under their wing, and two and a half years later I was called to the Western Canadian Mission. In the meantime, I had begun to complete high school through night school and correspondence courses.

After my mission, I met a young woman, Elizabeth-Anne (Betsy) Ross, who had joined the Church in North Vancouver while I was on my mission. The missionaries who taught her jokingly called her “Betsy Ross” and the name stuck. Betsy and I were married in the Cardston Temple on May 16, 1963. Over the next five years, I worked at several jobs, including running a sightseeing tour business during the summers in the Canadian Rockies and selling life insurance in Vancouver during the winter. I finally completed high school in 1966. Betsy took me out to the Aristocrat Cafe for a steak dinner the day the mailman delivered the certificate.

In 1965 Betsy gave birth to our first child, Deirdre Mia (Dee). Due to complications, the doctor predicted that Betsy would not be able to have any more children. By 1968 we were prospering. We had bought a house in Burnaby, a suburb of Vancouver, and were planning to build our dream home on 2.5 acres in White Rock. One evening I returned home late after a successful life insurance sale. Betsy had waited up for me and we talked about the future. I told her that despite how well I was doing in the insurance business, I didn’t want to be a salesman for the rest of my life. She asked what I’d like to do. I said that I’d like to go to university. Without a moment’s hesitation, she said, “If that’s what you want, you should do it!”

At first, we were cautious and decided that I’d keep my job and attend university part-time in the Vancouver area. However, the late ‘60s were days of student unrest. Of the two universities in the Vancouver area, the University of British Columbia was experiencing sit-ins after a visit from student radical Jerry Rubin, co-founder of the Youth International Party (Yippies), and Simon Fraser University was closed because of a protracted strike by the leftist faculty. Betsy and I reasoned that if we were going to commit ourselves to the goal of my getting a university education, we needed a stable university environment. My mind went back to my visit to BYU in 1957. After much prayer, we decided on BYU. But considering my patchy academic record, would I be accepted? At about this time a friend teased Betsy that if I were accepted at BYU, Betsy would find herself pregnant. In the fall of 1968 I was accepted at BYU, and Betsy found herself pregnant!

Was it practical for us to go ahead with our plans with a second child on the way? Again we prayed and again Betsy encouraged me in my goal. We began preparations for me to start at BYU in January 1969. Over the next few months we sold our furniture, our mortgaged house, our acreage, and our financed, late model car, and found a good home for our German Shepherd. After buying a 1963 Rambler Classic for $500, setting aside money for tuition and books, and tidying up a few odds and ends, we had enough money to last one semester. Fortunately, the insurance company I worked for gave me a leave-of-absence, and allowed me to temporarily continue receiving a small monthly income derived from past sales.

Just after Christmas 1968, the day arrived for Betsy, Dee, and I to head off on our adventure. We awoke to one of the heaviest snowfalls in Vancouver’s history. It took us three hours just to get out of the city. Even then, we only got as far as White Rock, about thirty miles south of Vancouver. We waited out the storm at the Hoyrup’s, and two days later the roads were clear enough for us to continue south. We arrived in Provo in shirt-sleeve weather and took a room at the Hillcrest Motel in Orem. After a few days, we rented a Spartan, two-room basement apartment just south of BYU for $65 per month. A shower head on the wall and a drain in the floor turned the bathroom into a shower!

After surviving registration in the fieldhouse, I began classes with some trepidation. Soon I was enjoying the classes and, to my amazement, getting good grades. Over the course of the semester, Betsy and I were confirmed in the belief that BYU was where we should be. But as the semester and our money dwindled, and the birth of our second child loomed, we wondered how we could make enough money for the fall. A solution seemed to present itself when a representative from Jackson Lake Lodge, Wyoming, visited the campus to recruit for the summer. Because of my age (30) and my experience in the Canadian Rockies, I was offered the position of assistant manager at the lodge.

I accepted. In early April, Betsy’s mother visited from Vancouver, and we decided that it would be less expensive if Betsy returned to Canada with her mother and had the baby there. On the day before they left, I answered an advertisement for a two-bedroom house in Orem. The ad intrigued me: “$100 down, after sweat equity, and a VHA mortgage with a payment of $67 per month.” Betsy visited the little brick house the next morning. She loved it.

Over the next few days, I completed the paperwork on the house. However, our hopes were dashed when the mortgage company phoned to say that I was wasting the seller’s time because there was no chance that the mortgage application would be approved in Washington, DC: first, I was not an American; second, I was a student; and third, I didn’t have a steady job. The owner also phoned me. He said that since the mortgage company felt that there was no chance of my application being approved, would I mind withdrawing it? I said that my wife and I loved the house, but that if the six-week waiting period would cause him a financial problem, I’d reluctantly withdraw my application.

There was silence on the phone for a moment, and then he said, “Let’s wait the six weeks!” Six weeks later, to the astonishment of the mortgage company representative, the application was approved.

Meanwhile, the semester had ended. I briefly visited Betsy and Dee in Vancouver before heading for Jackson Lake Lodge. When I got there, I was told that due to a management shake-up in the corporation that ran the lodge, the assistant manager position had gone to someone else. They offered me a desk clerk job instead. Even though the salary was much less, I took it. It soon became apparent that even working double shifts, I could not make enough money to continue at BYU. Also, there were no married-staff quarters, so I’d have to be away from Betsy and Dee all summer. I felt trapped. This was especially true when Betsy gave birth to our first son, Darren, in my absence. Over the next month, Betsy and I had many long phone conversations. After much thought and prayer, we decided that she and the kids would fly to Salt Lake City, and I would quit my job and meet them at the airport. When I mentioned this to an LDS employee at the lodge, she asked incredulously, “How can you even consider quitting your job with a wife and two children to support?” I told her that I’d find a job in Provo. “What kind of job could you possibly get that would earn you the money you need?” she asked. I thought for a moment, and then said, “Selling on commission.” I paused before adding: “But I’d prefer to work in a store where the customers come to me . . . perhaps I could sell big ticket items, like appliances.” She obviously thought I was crazy. I assured her that my seemingly rash decision had come in response to prayer.

Despite the beauty of Jackson Lake and the Grand Tetons, I was thrilled to head south to Utah. Our reunion took place on a Saturday. We had just enough time to get to Deseret Industries to buy a few sticks of furniture for our little house in Orem.

The following Monday morning I picked up a newspaper. To my astonishment and relief, a half-page ad requested applications for the position of commissioned salesman at Sears. I immediately applied and soon wrote a set of examinations.

Although I was certain that the position was mine, I continued my job search. One week went by, then two. I phoned Sears and was told that out of the original forty-one applicants, twenty-two had been chosen to write the exams. I was on the shortlist. At the beginning of the next week, I phoned again. They had whittled it down to one other person and me. They would make their decision by Friday. On Friday I called again. They had decided to hire us both on a month’s probation before making a final decision. I survived the final cut. This position was truly a godsend. It not only provided the finances for me to raise my family and complete my undergraduate work at BYU, but I was able to transfer to the Logan Sears and work during the summers of the two years I attended Utah State University for my MA. Also, I worked one more summer for Sears in Calgary, Alberta, before beginning my teaching career in the fall of 1975. I’ll be forever thankful for the answer to our prayers that led to the job at Sears.

Our BYU years were full of challenge, excitement, and reward. Although we had little money to spare, we always got by. In the fall of 1970 we were expecting again. During the winter semester, I mentioned to our neighbor that the extra expense of the baby may cause us to run short of money. He suggested that I apply for the Hinckley Scholarship and referred me to an article in the Daily Universe. I read the article but hadn’t the confidence to apply. A week later, my friend asked if I’d sent in an application. “All it will cost you is a postage stamp,” he said. I applied. Several weeks later I was called to the BYU Scholarship Department for an interview. A second interview took place a few weeks later. I was surprised when I was chosen for a third interview, the final one. I remember waiting outside the boardroom in the Smoot Administration Building with several bright young men and women and wondering what I, a 32-year-old, was doing there. Finally, it was my turn to enter the boardroom, where I was placed at the head of a table. Representatives of BYU and the Hinckley family sat on either side of the table which stretched, it seemed, to infinity. “Why are you so old?” was the first question. I risked a stab at humor. “Because I was born in 1939,” I said. Laughter! From then on the interview went beautifully. The $1000 award was exactly what we needed that year. But more importantly, this prestigious scholarship raised my self-esteem and was a key factor in my later decision to attend graduate school.

In my final year at BYU, 1972-73, I enrolled in the innovative I-STEP program and received a secondary teaching certificate with my BA in history. When my GPA was tallied, I was elected to the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. Betsy was pregnant again.

During my first years at BYU the end goal of my education was vague. Betsy and I felt that we were doing the right thing, but we weren’t sure what type of employment my education would lead to. Gradually, I decided that I wanted to teach history at the college level. Undoubtedly, the great respect and admiration I had for the BYU professors moved me in this direction. Also, some professors encouraged me to teach.

About a year after completing a series of Professor Russell Swensen’s history courses, Professor Swensen phoned and asked if I would like to do some tutoring. I hesitated because I had a full load, but when he mentioned that Kresimir Cosic, the Yugoslavian captain of BYU’s championship basketball team, was the student, I agreed. It was soon apparent that Kresh’s need for tutoring stemmed from the many classes he missed because of road games and not from any academic shortcomings. I’m sure I learned more from him than he from me. When we discussed places such as Marathon, Thermopylae, or the island of Corcyra, Kresh could describe them in detail. Getting to know Kresh was a highlight of my BYU years–passes to the basketball games were also appreciated.

I graduated in the spring of 1973, and that fall we moved to Logan where our fourth child was born. Over the next two years, I completed an MA in history. Six and a half years after we had left Vancouver, we returned to Canada with four children and two degrees. Our college years had gone so well that it was frustrating when I couldn’t find a teaching job in the Alberta or British Columbia community college systems. I tried secondary schools with no success. Once more, Sears came to the rescue. As mentioned, I got a job in the Calgary store. Three days after starting at Sears, I was offered an English and social studies position at Kinnaird Junior Secondary in southern British Columbia. It was not what I wanted, but Betsy encouraged me to take it. Two years later, I managed to get a college position at North Island College on Vancouver Island. Over the next few years, we had two more children. My story could end here, but my association with BYU was not yet over.

In the fall of 1984 Betsy was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. She died on June 11, 1985. Our six children ranged in age from four to twenty. Dee offered to stay home and look after the family, but I insisted that she return to Ricks College to complete a degree.

Somehow, the children and I got through the next academic year. The college granted me a sabbatical for the 1986-87 year and I decided to spend it at BYU, working on a master’s in English. In late July the kids and I drove to the Los Angeles Temple for Dee’s wedding, and, after a day at Disneyland, we continued on to Provo.

Earlier, I had taken a trip to the Provo-Orem area to scout out accommodations. With six of us, we needed a fairly large house. While in Utah, I attended the Orem 24th Ward, the ward we had attended in the ‘70s. Without finding an affordable rental house, I returned home. Shortly thereafter, Dick Wells from the 24th Ward phoned to say that Betsy’s friend Sister Pomeroy, who had retired from BYU, was going to Italy for a year and wanted to rent her house. I phoned her. She offered us the completely furnished house for only $300 per month. I wondered at the time if Betsy had something to do with our good fortune.

The fall semester at BYU was hectic. Because I was on a reduced salary, I had arranged to teach an English 100 section. When another section came available, I foolishly agreed to teach it also. Besides these two classes of twenty-five students each, I was taking nine graduate credits, looking after five children, serving in a Church calling, and attending the occasional singles’ function.

Hectic or not, it was a great honor to teach at BYU, even on a part-time basis. I prepared well for that first class in the Jesse Knight Building. I got to class ahead of time and arranged the room. A podium atop a table was a little too high for comfort, so I placed it alongside the table. Later, I welcomed the students, said a few introductory remarks, went around the end of the table to pass out the syllabus, tripped over the podium and fell flat on my face!

A more positive memory concerns an honor student who came to see me just before the semester began. He had not received a high enough score on his English placement test to qualify for English 100. Almost in tears, he explained that if he couldn’t take English 100 he would forfeit his scholarship. He said that he had always gotten A’s in science and mathematics but had never learned to write adequately. He promised that if I let him into English 100, he would do whatever was necessary to pass. I agreed to accept him. Through a combination of class work, help from the Writing Lab, and help from his roommates, he began to turn in satisfactory assignments. At the end of the semester his writing skills had improved to an acceptable level. But would he pass the final exam, which was marked by another English instructor? He was beaming when he approached me with his B+ exam result.

I decided not to teach during the winter semester. I would lighten my load and enjoy the last half of the sabbatical. The semester had no sooner begun, however, than I found myself even busier than in the fall. Steven Walker, who had been my Freshman English instructor, asked if I’d be interested in researching and writing some biographical sketches for the third volume of They Gladly Taught,a series honoring professors who had contributed to the growth and development of BYU. I was flattered. I went to see the editor, Jean Anne Waterstradt, who had also been one of my undergraduate professors. I took on the project and gained even more appreciation for BYU as I researched the lives of Professors B.West Belnap, Wayne B. Hales, Charles J. Hart, Alice Louise Reynolds, and William J. Snow. Furthermore, seeing my writing in print a year later boosted myconfidence and no doubt prepared me for another writing project that has its roots in that second semester of my sabbatical year.

To complete my master’s in English, a thesis was required. I had already written a long thesis at USU for my history MA and didn’t look forward to repeating the process. I had always been fascinated with historical fiction. Would the department allow me to substitute a historical fiction novel for a traditional thesis? After some negotiating, it was agreed that if I got my degree through the Creative Writing Department, a novel would be acceptable. I set to work on a synopsis. Combining my three historical interests–Ireland (my birthplace), the fur trade, and the Church–I came up with the outline of a story about Deirdre O’Connor, a young, non-LDS, Irish-American woman who goes west with the Saints in 1847.

I had completed two chapters of One Against the Wildernessby semester’s end. After returning to Canada, the novel slowly took shape. It seemed, however, that it would never get completed if I didn’t take some drastic action. By getting up at five a.m. and working until seven each weekday morning over a two year period, I eventually had a completed manuscript. Completed, that is, to the extent my writing skills allowed. How rough it was soon became evident. However, each rejection letter did have enough encouragement to keep me going. One evening I was looking through a BYU catalog when I noticed a home study creative writing course offered by Professor Leslie Norris, one of my favorite teachers during my sabbatical. I wrote and asked him if I could enroll in his course and use my manuscript as course material. He agreed. Over the next few months he hacked and slashed my overloaded, convoluted sentences in an attempt to wrench my writing out of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth. At one point his frustration showed when he wrote in his distinctive, calligraphic hand, on a full sheet of paper:


Dickens is dead!


I got the point. One Against the Wildernesswas published in 1996 and its sequel, Fleeing Babylon, in 1998. (See Brigham Young Magazine, Fall 1998 for a review.)

As I look back over my forty years’ association with BYU, appreciation swells within me for this great institution. I’m happy in the knowledge that this association is not over. After twenty-three years in the college system, I will be taking early retirement in 2000. I look forward to spending many fruitful days researching in the Harold B. Lee Library. Also, I anticipate that my children and grandchildren will continue the tradition. In 1995, it was with a special feeling in my heart that I witnessed my son Darren, who was born in the year I began at BYU, receive his master of accountancy degree. I’ve no doubt that Betsy was an unseen guest in the Marriott Center that day.

Caring for Campus Calamities: Case Files from BYU Urgent Care

Chuck Newhouse

The year was 1988, and there I was, at the wildest place on the BYU campus: the urgent care department of the McDonald Student Health Center—sort of the “ER” of BYU.

Fresh out of residency training, I started my medical career over a decade ago at the Urgent care department of BYU’s Student Health Center. By far the busiest part of the health center, it was not unusual there to see up to 80 of the sick, injured, or wounded of BYU in a typical day during the busy winter months.

Now, I fully recognize that other employees at BYU see far more students than that. Certainly the ticket-takers and the concessions employees at the BYU football and basketball games attend a few more students in a day’s work than I ever did in Urgent care. And probably the cashiers at the Wilkinson Center, and the folks who work at the Testing Center filter more students through their lines than I did at my job. But surely, the ticket-takers and the cashiers don’t spend from 10 minutes up to an hour or more with every single student that comes through. They don’t listen to their hearts.

We did all that and more at the Urgent Care Center.

I kept careful track during my watch in urgent care, and in my first year there saw approximately 3,500 patients during the period that began with freshman orientation (the same day that one of our new freshmen, while at an orientation activity, broke both bones in his left arm so badly he required surgical repair—an unfortunate way to break into his BYU career), and ended with graduation (and the poor graduate who, having already paid the $35 to rent his cap and gown, missed graduation ceremonies entirely because he had been smitten with an intractable case of nausea and vomiting). That means I cared for the equivalent of one out of every eight students enrolled at BYU during the year. And I was only one of several doctors who worked at urgent care.

Maybe your son or daughter, sister or brother, or maybe even you came through the doors with one of the many cases we saw—dislocated joints, foreign bodies in eyes, poison ivy, back pain, kidney stones, scrapes, insect bites, slips on the ice, or the ever-present colds and influenza that seem to interminably plague both the students and the doctors at BYU.

During my shifts that year, I treated 180 sprained ankles (76 on the left side, 104 on the right). That’s enough elastic ankle wraps to stretch from the Library to the Marriott Center.

Did anyone you know get a bad cut at BYU? I might have sewn them up. I saw 153 lacerations during that school year that were bad enough to require stitches. The combined length of these cuts totaled 275 centimeters, or over nine feet.

OK, did any of those busy cashiers at the Wilkinson Center sew up any lacerations? I didn’t think so. Well, I sewed up a cashier. She accidentally cut her finger while faithfully at work at the candy counter in the bookstore. And you know, she never did come through with those blue and white M&Ms® she promised me.

An interesting thing about some lacerations we saw at BYU is that one can often tell just by looking exactly how the person got it. For example, do you know anyone who has a C-shaped scar over a knuckle of a hand? Almost invariably a student with such a cut had a mishap while washing dishes—the victim will have a hand inside a drinking glass, and, while dutifully and vigorously washing, the glass breaks. It makes you look pretty smart when you walk into the trauma room, examine a laceration, and say, “I’ll bet you got this while washing dishes.” The patient is amazed. But it’s not that you’re so smart, it’s just that you’ve seen a couple of dozen of them.

If a freshman walks in with a 1- or 2-inch cut right at the crown of his head, there’s a good chance he lives at Deseret Towers. You can safely make that guess about his residence after seeing young D.T. men come in periodically throughout the year, all with exactly the same laceration in exactly the same place and exactly the same story to tell: they were running down the stairs at Deseret Towers and smacked their heads on the doorframe of the stairwell. You can always tell.

Broken bones are one of the staples of the Urgent care Center, which is not surprising with BYU’s young, active, college-age population. I saw 115 fractures during that school year, with fingers earning the award for the most broken appendage, totaling 45 (the most fractured finger was the fifth one on the left hand). Second place didn’t even come close—13 foot fractures, followed by 12 broken toes and 10 broken noses.

But it isn’t all just sprains, lacerations, and broken bones. There are plenty of other calamities awaiting a chance to befall BYU student bodies. Witness the cases of the two coeds who each burned an eye after accidentally touching it with a hot curling iron. Or the graduate student from the Chemistry department who was sprayed in the face with selenium hydride, a substance listed in our handbook of hazardous materials as “one of the most toxic chemicals known.” Then there was the guy who accidentally drilled a hole completely through his finger, or the student I sewed up who had caught his hand in a power saw in woodworking class. How about the two-year-old who swallowed a safety pin? Or the BYU rugby player who required 23 delicate stitches in his ear after it was stepped on, with cleats, during a match?

I diagnosed several cases of spontaneous pneumothorax, which is the sudden collapse of a lung. Twice this occurred in the same person! This poor fellow showed up just before winter finals, and had to be admitted to the hospital, where a tube was inserted through his chest wall to re-inflate the lung. Then, a few months later, just as the next round of final exams were getting underway in April, his lung collapsed again, and he again had to be admitted to the hospital. This unfortunate student somehow had to make up all of his missed final exams two times in a row.

Some days at BYU, urgent care can be just plain crazy. One day, along with 48 other patients, we saw five lacerations, a broken foot and a case of appendicitis; plus, we diagnosed a thyroid tumor. A nervous mom brought in a one-year-old who had pulled the dropper and the bulb off the metal lid of an eyedropper, then stuck his thumb through the hole in the lid. No one at home could get his thumb out, so she brought him in to us. That lid was stuck very tightly around his thumb. We had to get it off as fast as we could, as I was concerned that his predicament might compromise the circulation to his thumb. We eventually removed it with an instrument used for cutting rings off fingers.

Finally, toward the end of that crazy day, an employee from Cougar Stadium, where the BYU football team was playing Utah State that night, walked in and immediately began climbing our walls. A moth had somehow flown into his ear, and refused to come out. All of the flapping around inside his ear was understandably starting to drive him crazy, and he was becoming dizzy and nauseated (the employee—not the moth). We nabbed the varmint, and the patient immediately felt better.

On another day, someone from the Animal Science department brought in a falcon with a fishhook stuck in its wing. Unfortunately, the bird did not have a current BYU activity card, and you know what it’s like trying to do anything on campus without your activity card—you might as well not even leave your apartment. However, even without the card, our x-ray tech x-rayed the bird’s wing to pinpoint the location of the hook, and we told the fellow with the bird that, as soon as we cleared out our waiting room full of people-patients (all of whom had valid cards), we would proceed immediately with a falcon hook-ectomy. However, while the bird and its handlers relaxed in our waiting room, one of the Animal Science professors successfully removed the hook without our help, which is OK, since I suspect the bird did not have the Student Health Plan, either.

And so go the frantic ways of BYU urgent care. Should you visit the campus, please be careful going down the stairs at Deseret Towers. And if, by chance, for some reason, you should accidentally join the ranks of the wounded of BYU, or if you just want to check out the wildest place on campus, stop by. (But don’t forget your activity card!)

Memories of the Space Shuttle “Challenger”

Eileen M. Farnsworth

I don’t remember the date of this tragedy, but I’ll never forget where I learned of it. As I was walking through the BYU bookstore between classes, I noticed a group of people gathered around the area where televisions were sold. I soon found that they were watching the takeoff of the Space Shuttle “Challenger.”

We all watched with excitement as the shuttle blasted up into the air. Then, within seconds, our cheers turned to silent horror as the ship and its crewmembers literally blew up before our eyes.

From Maraschino Cherry Vats to the Kitchen Sink: Immersion in BYU Life

Kathy Kirkman

One summer my husband was clearing weeds at Geneva Steel Company. They were having an open house with the public invited and so wanted the grounds to look nice. They hired some college students. He doesn’t remember what the pay was, but it perhaps was more than most jobs because he was working next to a Y professor who asked my husband why he was going to school when he could get wages like they were getting.

One summer we both worked in a cannery. They needed help in the Maraschino cherry process and I was “selected.” I don’t know the process now but in the “olden days” the cherries came in and were put in a vat to take out the color. They were then put through a pitter (or vice versa). My part came when they were put in a large vat to give them back the color and the Maraschino flavoring. One slight problem was that some cherries didn’t lose their pits in the previous process and would shrivel. They had to be hand-picked-out of the vat. There was no machine to do that, so for hours on end I stood there reaching down (to my elbow) to find the shriveled cherries. I can still remember my cherry-colored lower arm.

Our favorite place was just below Knight Magnum Hall (residence dorm for girls) at a place called Rowley’s. How we loved to go there for cherry limeade. Have yet to find some as good as those.

My husband fondly remembers one winter when he and some friends climbed up a hill around Timpanogos. The side they climbed up had no snow, but another side was hidden from the sun and thus still had snow on it. There were no trees to pose a danger, so he lay on his back with his feet in the air and slid down headfirst. I imagine they still do that today.

Our social life centered around MMen and Gleaner activities. One evening we were having a rather “fancy” dinner (as fancy as college students could get.) We ended up taking the frozen peas to our apartment (we ran out of burners on the stove) and learned that 20 packages of peas, in one pot, do not cook as fast as one small one does.

One of my memories centers around being a bride-to-be in Knight Magnum Hall. The fellows in the kitchen found out when the big day was and somehow managed to catch us and dunk us in the kitchen sink or something like that. The exact kind of dunking is somehow forgotten–but the memory of it being done is still there. We all acted like we hated it, but it was a fun thing.

Coincidence? Fate? A Unique Quadruple Courtship

Ronald J. Durrant

In short, myself and three of my roommates dated and married four ladies who were roommates. Within 6 months we were all married, and a year later we each had our first child.

The Daily Universe featured us in a news article and pictured us with our first child. At a subsequent group reunion 23 years later, they did a follow-up article. Now, 43 years later, we still keep in touch as we have over the years.

Coke Dates and Prom Dress Sharing

Clara Jensen DeGraff

1937 through 1943 saw the winding down of the 1929 depression, but its effects were still present. Students felt the pinch of the general economy, and a great many could not be supported by their families or by their own resources. Thus, many had to work, and work they did, at anything they could find, working in the community—in stores, for doctors and lawyers, etc. Many students worked on campus, girls doing secretarial tasks of various kinds, fellows acting as janitors, on maintenance, as laboratory assistants. My first job was working in the Y Press where students assembled materials being published by the university, much of it promotional booklets going out to prospective young people. We often worked very long hours in the evenings, sometimes staying most of the night to meet a deadline.

During the summers, work was done in whatever capacity was available. Students worked in family projects, in stores, in factories, and on farms and ranches. Wages were carefully hoarded to offset upcoming school expenses. Much coveted during these years were summer jobs at the National Parks, which paid well and provided both room and board, making possible large savings for school. Girls worked as waitresses and cabin maids, fellows as bellhops, in maintenance, in the kitchen, and as bus drivers. Bus driving jobs were “tops,” landed mostly by the star athletes. Each park provided entertainment by personnel, and students with talent were preferred. It was difficult to get that first job, but in subsequent years, as an “old hand,” it was easy to go back.

Juggling classes, study, social life and a job took careful planning and scheduling, but since many did this, by comparing notes on how to handle everything, students managed very well. There was little wasted time since there was never enough of it.

“Hangouts” during these years were under the clock in the Education Building on the lower campus, in the library, and on every lawn in sunny weather. School started in early October and finished the first week in June, with three quarters, plus another if one could and did attend summer school, only a few managing this. The lower campus consisted of the Education Building, which actually had science classes, BY High, College Hall, and the men’s and women’s gyms. The upper campus had the Maeser and Brimhall buildings. The Joseph Smith Building was built during these years and housed many religion classes. One met friends under the clock on the lower campus. This clock was on the first floor, just inside the east door. The hall here was wide and between classes teemed with students.

Assemblies were held twice each week, a devotional on Tuesday morning, a student assembly on Friday. The hour before the student assembly had many in the auditorium in College Hall, saving seats for latecomers. There were dance bands on campus, and one would play during this hour. The auditorium was spacious but could not hold all the students; seats were always at a premium. During this hour, although people were there to get and hold seats, there was much milling around as everyone talked. Many dates were arranged during this hour.

Across the street south from the lower campus was Calders, a favorite gathering place. Here, many a “Coke” date occured. With money scarce, a fellow would ask a girl to join him for one of these dates, and most of them were at Calders. Why the “Coke” appellation is a mystery, for one would have an ice cream cone, some sort of fountain drink, or hot chocolate. Paying for this would take a quarter unless one splurged and ordered a sundae. For the uninitiated, this was a dish of ice cream topped with a sauce, nuts and a cherry on top. Although Calders was a public place where a coke or coffee could be had, students generally adhered strictly to the Word of Wisdom.

Lyceums were held often, usually on Thursday evenings in the Provo Tabernacle. Authors, musicians, lecturers, and other famous people appeared to enhance student life. These were well attended, usually much appreciated by the student body. One might have a date for these events, but girls often went with girls, fellows with their friends. One seldom had a date for an athletic event. The steadies and engaged would go together, but all others were there without a date. This was puzzling to many girls, never understanding why fellows preferred going to a game with other fellows, not them.

Most of the “hanging out” occurred in girls’ apartments, where boys stopped by late in the day and during the evenings. Many of these apartments were very small, one room serving as a bedroom during the night, a living and study room during the day. With every seat taken and many occupying space on the floor, “bull sessions” went on and on. In the dormitories, “seeing” someone only occurred between the opposite sexes in the common rooms; friends were not allowed in sleeping rooms.

The campus had no cafeteria until after the Joseph Smith Building was finished. Then the cafeteria in the Commons on the basement level was a favorite “hanging out” spot, many meeting for lunch or a snack. Students also lounged in the halls in this building too, anywhere there was a couch.

Social life was integral and there was a lot of it. Dancing and going to movies topped the list. There were three movie houses in town (no films shown on campus except for educational purposes), and films were changed often. Ticket prices were low then, or there would have been no audience. But dances were of prime importance. Wards held dancing after Mutual on Tuesday nights, there was a matinee dance on Wednesdays in the Women’s Gym at 5 and a student body dance on Friday nights. Saturday nights almost always had another dance of some kind and sometimes these were held on Thursdays. The student dance bands, very accomplished and playing the same tunes as the national “big name” bands (which were very popular during these years), did live music for all the dancing, which was lively. “Jitterbugging” became popular just before World War II, but prior to that, dancing was the waltz, fox trot, or improvisation.

The matinee dance on Wednesdays was the place where much dating for the weekend was arranged, everyone going to this dance without dates. Dates were necessary for everything else, but not this one. The social units, clubs, and other organizations held dances called “invitationals.” To these, members were given the right to invite their non-member friends. Many of these were held at the spacious hall at the State Hospital, east on Center Street, as well as at various ward halls throughout Provo. These dances were usual formal wear, the girls in elaborate long dresses, the fellows in their best, not tuxes, except for the Junior Prom each year. Girls invited fellows to take them to these invitationals if they had the nod, but both girl and fellow groups held these affairs. There were no stags at dances; everyone came with a date. But one did not dance only with this date. There was much trading of dances between couples.

One interesting happening was with formal wear. Each girl usually had several long ball gowns, some collected while she was in high school and others later in college. Many times she had made the dress herself. It was the custom to loan these dresses to others. The rule was the dress must be returned promptly and clean. Often I saw one of my dresses at a dance, sometimes worn by a girl I didn’t even know, but then 1 would see another of mine on one of my friends. Obviously, these girls had visited my flat, helped themselves. It was a nice touch, never violated in my experience.

The social units held formals once each year and these were very elaborate, everyone in formal or best dress, with a dinner followed by dancing. Many of these were held in Salt Lake at a hotel. Some of the units also held several-day outings at cabins or a lodge in the mountains, these carefully chaperoned. There were faculty members or other adult sponsors at all social functions, often parents of committee chairmen.

Social units also held parties for their members. They “rushed,” imitating sororities and fraternities at other schools, and had initiations after selecting new members. These units were not allowed to have “houses,” their members living as all other students did. Lamda Delta Sigma was started during these years—a social organization, but not exclusive as the other social units were.

World events became very important on campus with war in Europe. The National Guard units were called to active duty in 1939-40, with some men leaving school. Then December 7th, 1941 came. I was working at the new hospital at that time, had just returned from a shift, and was lounging around with my roomies and several boys. The radio was playing soft music. It was interrupted with the announcement, which only I heard. I shushed the others and turned up the volume. Everyone was shocked. Instantly we all knew our country was at war, and the school changed drastically. Nearly every fellow either enlisted or was drafted. The government held some training on campus, and those involved remained until the end of this training. All plans for the future were placed on hold “for the duration.” No more missionaries were called, and all those in Europe had already come back to the states to finish their terms.

Room D on the lower campus became a dormitory where service men had their bunks while in training, faculty men doing the carpentry. Social affairs were greatly curtailed and the student body dwindled in numbers. At the height of the war less than 700 were at the Y, nearly all girls, with a few 18-year-old fellows awaiting their calls to duty. Casualties came daily, many prominent students losing their lives in the conflict. Everyone followed the newspaper reports of the conflict as well as worrying about friends whose names might appear in the daily casualty lists.
Heavenly Cubicle

Ella Mae Turley Judd

During the years 1948 to 1952, four quarters per year, I attended BYU, from which I finally graduated in education after having also taken more than 60 hours of religion. For all but one of these quarters I served as secretary to all teachers in the Division of Religion. My desk was positioned just a few feet from the offices of Dr.s Sidney B. Sperry, Hugh W. Nibley, William E. Berrett, Roy W. Doxey, and Alma Burton. Down the hall a few steps was the office of Elder Hugh B. Brown, then a most popular teacher of religion classes and later a counselor in the First Presidency. Another entire office of outstanding religion teachers such as Reid Bankhead, Ellis Rasmussen, Eldon Ricks, Robert Patch and Calvin Bartholomew was located just down the hall.

Close by these offices in the old Joseph Smith Building was the auditorium where every Tuesday I could slip from my work for an hour to listen to a lecture by one of the General Authorities, who often stopped by afterward to visit with one or more of the teachers. Can you wonder that my small cubicle seemed pretty close to heaven! After graduation I worked as personal secretary to the newly installed President Ernest L. Wilkinson, where I experienced another whole dimension of faith, hope, charity, determination, and vision, and experienced even more visits by General Authorities.

Dancing in Denmark: A BYU Alum Remembers How A Remarkable Performance Helped Spread Knowledge of the Church

Ken Larsen

The picture on the back cover of your Summer 1999 issue of the Folk Dancers in Schoten Castle, Belgium, certainly brings back a flood of memories. Well and fondly do I remember dancing on that stage and changing costumes in that castle. My story, however, is about my memory of an incident in Denmark. It was the grandest 4th of July celebration in all of Europe. The best American military bands in Europe were there to perform. Dozens of Ambassadors and dignitaries were there to add to the celebration and to speak fondly of America. You see, the celebration was sponsored by American descendants of European Jews, in gratitude to Denmark and the Danish people for helping their families escape the Nazis and immigrate to America. We were told the show would be broadcast live in Europe and recorded for later prime-time broadcast in New York. How thrilled we were to represent our country, our state, our University, and our Church before so many.

I was awed by the open-air stage nestled in a natural amphitheater. The people just kept coming and coming to participate in this expression of their love for America. The program was crowded and our group was permitted only two numbers: a lively square dance, such as seen on your back cover, and an Indian hoop dance. I was the Indian. After a few political speeches, the director of the pageant came to Mary Bee Jensen, our director, and informed her that because of the long-windedness of the speakers, there would not be time for our participation. I heard the conversation and immediately dropped my head in prayer. “Please, Father,” I said, “let the representatives of thy church be included on this program. Even if I am not permitted to dance, at least let the world see BYU at its best.”

Hardly had I finished my prayer when the director returned to say that we could perform after all, but it would only be one number. The Indian could not be included.

Amazed, I dropped my head again and returned in prayer to my Father in Heaven. “Thank you, Father. I am thrilled that you would hear my request.” Then I surprised myself. “Please, Father, if it is okay with you, I really would like a chance to do my dance at this show.” A few minutes later, the director came and said they would be able to squeeze in the Indian, after all. Imagine my thrill as over 12,000 pairs of hands matched the cadence of my feet, my drummer, and my heart.

A week or so later, we heard that the missionaries throughout Denmark were using my picture in their door approach. Hundreds of successful conversations went something like: “Do you recognize this Indian dancer from the television show?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Did you know that this Indian dancer is a member of a Church that believes it has a spiritual history of the ancestors of the American Indians?”

“No. Really?”

“Yes. Would you like to know more?”

“Yes. Please do come in.”

I thought God was doing me a personal favor. As usual, he had bigger plans.

Early Morning Custodian: Memorable Times on the Clock

Eileen M. Farnsworth

Of the working experiences I’ve had during my lifetime, my job a Brigham Young University was one of the most memorable. For five of the six years that I studied at BYU, I worked as a custodian; during a couple of those semesters I worked on one of the coveted evening shifts, but the majority of my time was spent as a member of the 4 – 7 am. crew. When I first got my job, I called my parents to tell them the good news. My mother was surprised when I told her that I would be earning $4.10 an hour, which was well above the minimum wage at the time. My mother said, “Must be that it’s because of the early hours.” I’m not sure that I convinced her that everyone working at the school made that much, not just those of us that had to get up in the middle of the night to go to work.

The majority of those years I spent at the JKHB. At one time or another I cleaned every office and every classroom in that building. (Fortunately, we women were spared the task of cleaning the restrooms!) I felt as though I knew the building intimately–one day I even had to vacuum and shine the crevices in the elevator floors.

We at the JKHB were not allowed to wear walkmans and listen to music while we were working, so we on the crew (gasp!) actually talked to each other to make time pass more quickly. Working with each other that early in the morning, six days a week, looking pretty grubby (most of us showered AFTER work), there was no facade. We knew each other for who we really were, not as the polished dressers and pretty faces that showed up in the classrooms later in the day.

For several years I worked with a girl who would end up being a good friend, Becky Lowe. Becky helped me survive many hours of mundane desk-scrubbing, chalkboard-cleaning and floor-mopping. Becky had a fun attitude and often made up silly songs about our early-morning escapades. Becky was no slacker, though. More than once on a Saturday morning she had me gather all the garbage cans on the floor, and we busily scrubbed them only to return them to their classrooms just in time for them to be re-filled with gooey candy wrappers and sticky pop cans.

After working at the JKHB for about 3 1/2 years, help was needed at the ASB, and I was selected to relocate there. I sadly left my friends at the JKHB and became acquainted with a new group of friends and a new set of offices.

Although I eventually worked on all the wings in the ASB, I was fortunate enough to start out on the third floor, which is home to all of the top administrators at the university. One of the little-known facts at BYU while I was there was that the university’s United States flag, although raised each morning by the ROTC color guard during the fall and winter semesters, was raised by the early-morning 3rd-floor custodians on spring and summer mornings. I was nervous about helping my partner, Cindy Thalman, that first morning, but felt excited at the privilege. I never tired of this responsibility.

Eventually I was given the opportunity of cleaning the 3rd floor “D wing” which housed then-President Holland’s office. I tried to make it sparkle and shine each day, and made a special effort when vacuuming so as not to leave even a single footprint in the carpeting. I enjoyed it when, on a few mornings, President Holland came in early and I was able to say “hello” to him.

One last fond memory I have from my days at the ASB are the times when, on summer Saturday mornings, our crew stood out on the 3rd floor roof, washing the office windows. Suddenly, in the deep blue morning sky, dozens of hot-air balloons would fly past us, bringing brilliant colors before our eyes.

Working as a custodian at BYU during the 1980’s (1983 -1988) made me appreciate the efforts that were taken to maintain the spotless buildings on campus. More importantly, though, my early-morning job provided me with money to get me through school, good friends, and a strong work ethic.


Rita Clement Parker

Calder’s Ice Cream Parlor was the place to be. Especially since the California Dugout Girls, Betty Clark, Coleen (COKE) Townsend, Margorie Alston, Rosemary Williams and Rita Clement, worked there. Many times giving extra-generous scoops of ice cream and thicker milk shakes to the good-looking football team and to special friends. BYU’s football team was never one of the big winners, but it always had a great cheering section behind it. The Cougarettes were started in those years! The Dugout Roomies all chartered members, including Mary Standley and Jeannie Winebrinner, who moved in winter quarter to take Coke Townsend’s place, who went off to Hollywood and became a star. Rosemary went back to Orinda, where the living conditions were more pleasant, to attend UC-Berkeley. The California Dugout was the last place to be rented in Provo (1946-47). It was across the street from the Lower Campus and down the street from the Women’s Gym (where we had to shower, since there wasn’t a full bath in that two-bedroom basement apartment housing 5 of us). But our spirit was so great we attended all the games and even drove over to Denver one weekend to catch their game through sleet and snow. Luckily Rita’s brother had roommates with a car, and the 7 crazy students drove over and back in one weekend just to see the game.

Matinee Dances were the place to go on a Wednesday afternoon, so you could get a good date for the Friday or Saturday night dance coming up. We had two or three great dance bands, Gus Shields, Dick Balou and Owen Clark. They played swing and everyone loved to jitterbug, bunny hop and swing at that time. It was a time when every boy and girl danced with each other. We dated in groups and only a few went steady or became engaged. It was a time when everyone spoke to each other whether they knew them or not, especially following the beginning of the Quarter after “Hello Week.” By the end of Hello Week, you almost knew every one on the campus. Yes, it was that small of a student body in ‘44-‘45, about 2,700, and with the service men returning it grew to 4,000 by ‘47-’48, and later became a huge amount of 5,000!

We always looked forward to the Preference Ball! We could ask that certain someone that we’d been eyeing all year and were to shy to speak to. It was fun for the females, anyway, and the fellows didn’t seem to mind, either. Many of the dances had great themes, and one year it was “Arabian Nights.” It was the Sophomore Loan Fund Ball. A group of sophomores, females, wore harem costumes.

Dr. T. Earl Pardoe was carried into the ballroom on the big pillow as the Pasha or Sheik of the evening while the girls danced around him for the floorshow. It was photographed and can be found on page 271 of the 1946 Banyan (yearbook).

Canyon Parties and cookouts were popular in the spring and fall. Different organizations, clubs, social units, etc. would organize them. We especially enjoyed going to the Drama Night dinners held at the Pardoe home. We grew to love them, and they became the second parents away from home to many of the students in the theatre and fine arts department.

Shockingly, we even wore strapless evening gowns when they were in fashion. But our standards were still kept high and we had very few problems, as most of us obeyed what rules there were. I guess as the student body grew in numbers, more rules grew also.

All in all it was such a great experience to go to devotionals and general assemblies and plays (even acting in them i.e. “Claudia,” “Bell for Adono,” “Family Portrait,” and “Comedy of Errors.” “Peg of My Heart” was chosen in 1947 to be the BYU Centennial Play to travel through Utah and Idaho for that year). Symphonies, Opera (Faust), Lyceum Programs, and Women’s and Men’s Choruses performed under the direction of the Madsens. I’ll never forget the thrill of singing the Messiah in the Provo Tabernacle downtown.

The most embarassing experience was when the Provo Downtown Movie Theatre changed the women’s bathroom to the men’s during the summer and I accidentally went into the Men’s. The perceptive ticket-taker was watching, and when I came out all red-faced he just laughed and said I hadn’t been the first female to make the error, but I was even more embarrassed when Dr. Sidney B. Sperry (religion professor and author) walked by as I came out. He, the ticket-taker, assured me that he would not have let any male go in after I did until I came out. A large group of us had gone to the movies that night and when I returned it was during a serious part of the movie and I got the giggles. Needless to say, when the whole row had heard what I had done we all started laughing and had to leave. Ah, the follies of youth.

Hunchback of BYU

C. E. Bushman

The “Hunchback of BYU”: in 1964 my students at the new German Zone of the Language Training Mission enjoyed that thought.

I was the BYU Bellmaster before we had real bells. The Schulmerich Company of Pennsylvania built our electronic bell system atop the Carl F. Eyring Science Center, which was the largest, tallest building on upper campus in the 1950s.

Each Tuesday and Thursday I furnished the clangor as the student body streamed down the many, many cement steps to the George Albert Smith athletic cathedral for devotional and forum assemblies. Better carillonic literature was performed Sunday afternoons, including works from Belgium, Holland, and England. Much later I studied with Richard Strauss (no, not that one) and his mentor, Professor Ronald Barnes, a truly inspired performer-arranger-composer at the Washington D.C. Cathedral.

The higher adventure began my freshman year when a rare football win put us all in an exhilarated mood for the post-game dance at the Joseph Smith Auditorium. There we witnessed the fiery illumination of the huge ‘Y’ halfway up the mountain just East of us.

I was dancing with the cutest Cougarette, Sister Vance from Albuquerque, when we all heard high-decibel cacophony from the four huge LOUDspeakers on the science center roof. Provo was already accustomed to the Big Ben Westminster chime sounding hourly, but that evening much of Utah County heard what sounded like a kitten-on-the-keys from BYU’s powerful, electronically amplified keyboard at full strength.

It was.

President Ernest L. Wilkinson saw precious little practicality in practical pranks of this nature.

He and campus Police Chief Swen Nelson launched the most vigorous search in BYU history to uncover the phantom bellringer.

Dr. T. Earl Pardoe was carried into the ballroom on the big pillow as the Pasha or Sheik of the evening while the girls danced around him for the floorshow. It was photographed and can be found on page 271 of the 1946 Banyan (yearbook).

Of course I was first to be grilled because I had the keys to that elevated kingdom. I had no clue for them. Many had seen me dancing with the most-enthusiastic Ms. Vance during the whole evening at the JSB Ballroom.

The Daily Universe ran another sensational article just a couple of weeks later when—mirabile dictum —the football team won again; several thousand were again dancing and watching the romantic Y illumination, when again came the mysterious, mighty bell sounds jacked up to the max!

This time Vasco Taylor, a lab assistant for the solar and stellar astronomy classes that met on the science center roof deck, used a simple erector set motor with an escapement mechanism to keep two little rods playing two very big notes in alternation while he fled down through the several lecture rooms and halls, blowing just a fleck of pre-heated solder through a tiny funnel to block each lock from working with security keys.

During careful, pointblank interrogation he gallantly owned up to hatching the whole scheme–twice. How Vasco could manage two weeks’ silence on this subject as we were playing our instruments side-by-side in Dr. Ralph Laycock’s Concert Band still amazes me. Brother Taylor finished his physics degree (almost in outer darkness) at the U of U.

Ice-Cream Samaritan

Gay Lynn Pendleton Smith

My freshman year at BYU brought many opportunities and rude awakenings. Finding myself needing to extend my first year through Spring term, I learned two valuable lessons: how to stretch every penny from a budget that was only intended for two semesters, and how needs are answered through generous hearts of strangers.

Six weeks into the term my money was rapidly depleting. It was a very hot Thursday afternoon, and I had just finished my tennis class in the Richards Bldg. The long walk up the cliff of endless stairs and across campus to my apartment called for some form of lunch. Reaching into my purse I unearthed all the money I possessed. The discovered dime had a purchase value of one chocolate-covered vanilla ice cream bar. It was not much, but for the moment, it was a full-spread banquet. No sooner had the dime dropped into the machine when I noticed the vendor had mis-filled the machine and my slot was empty! I couldn’t believe it. Was it too much to ask for was a simple ice cream bar? My heart screamed from inside.

I was hot. I was tired. I was lonely. I was hungry—no, I was starving—and now I was completely out of money. It suddenly appeared too hard. I stood there completely downtrodden.

Quietly from behind, a large hand reached around me and dropped another dime into the machine and punched my selection. A cool ice cream bar emerged. By the time I turned to acknowledge this surprise kindness, my tall, book-toting Samaritan was already halfway down the empty hall. I called out to thank him. Without a word he humbly turned and gave me a smile and a wave. His hand displayed a wedding ring, which, from my perspective, made his ten-cent sacrifice even greater.

I did not notice the 367 steps to upper campus or the raging 99.9-degree temperature as I walked home that day. But I did notice the best chocolate-covered vanilla ice cream bar I had ever tasted. Twenty years later I still think about the stranger and I’m still touched by his simple generosity. His identity will always be a mystery, but his spirit will always remain evident.

JFK Assassinated

Caroline B. Hillebrant

I was in the Henry B. Eyring Science Center on November 22, 1963, the daythat President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Someone said that thePresident had been shot, so I ran down to the basement where the Daily Universe offices were then located and watched the Teletype as the tragic news unfolded across the wire.

JSB Links Generations

Koriane Christensen Glazier

My grandfather, Horace Christopher Larsen, attended BYU in 1940 after graduating from Snow College. In his personal history he writes: In June I hitch hiked to Provo and went up to BYU to see if I could get a job and work my way through school there also. They gave me a job pushing a wheelbarrow and concrete for the floor of the new Joseph Smith Building. That was really hard work. I lost twenty pounds that summer. My grandmother says he earned 25 cents per day.

My own first year at BYU was the year the “new” Joseph Smith Building was demolished. I attended my biology class in the auditorium of the twice-new Joseph Smith Building in 1991.

Lessons That Last—Eternally: Memories of the Old BYU Education Building

Debbie M. Naegle

To an uninformed observer, the old BYU Education Building could look like Sleeping Beauty’s vegetation-overrun castle, with everyone still soundly asleep inside. At first glance the building looked to me like it contained a myriad of dark shadows and an equal number of scary corners. I didn’t foresee the deep insights and powerful lessons I would experience inside those 18th-century, brick, ivy-grown walls.

June Carlisle, a crafter of powerful, insightful, and lasting lessons, taught within those aging walls. I had her for Education 200, an education exploratory course. We were meeting that day in the centenary building in a room that looked like a theater, complete with squeaky wooden chairs bolted to the floor, and a stage. Her lesson centered on role-playing technique, and its application to teaching children problem-solving skills. She presented us with a variety of scenarios where a child might encounter a problem involving another child, parent, or teacher. We then assumed the role of the child or another adult, acting out a resolution to the conflict. The class became totally absorbed in the whole process.

The outcomes of those role-plays escape my memory, but another, more powerful lesson taught that day doesn’t. Having become fascinated with the technique, I purposefully lingered after class to discuss it more in-depth with Sister Carlisle.

I’m sure she offered elaboration on her lesson, but the other lesson she taught during that encounter is what still remains. With the coolness of the room surrounding me, she began her teaching.

“Don’t be an old maid, like me,” she expounded. “It’s much too lonely.”

She went on to recount her tragic love life, having been engaged twice, but losing both future husbands to the devastation of the World War. Both died, either in battle or some other related way. I can’t recall the details she shared, only that she opened up her soul.

During the course of her service as a member of the Primary General Board, Sister Carlisle further explained, she had developed a close friendship with President Harold B. Lee. Through experiences that included insights from him, she knew God loved her and had purposes for her. The extension on the role-playing lesson may have been lost, but I was sure that one of her obvious purposes was to become our beloved teacher.

I took another wonderful class from her—Children’s Literature. Later on, in the summer, a group of us students went to visit her. Her home, as we had imagined, contained stacks of books and mementos from her many students, both old and young. We all enjoyed lunch together in the park that day.

The next year I left BYU to serve a church mission in Southern Argentina. I applied the questioning techniques she had taught us. I also remembered the note she had tucked into my completed poetry file:

“Your illustrations are beautiful. You are a chosen daughter of God. It looks like an A in the class.”

Upon returning from my mission, I looked for Sister Carlisle. She had, in the course of my year-and-a-half absence, developed some health problems and could no longer teach. I missed her but felt sure she had retired to the care of her loving extended family, and to the stacks of her children’s books she taught us to love.

Any demolition company can clear out the bricks the moss and the cone-topped towers of the old Education Building, but it would be impossible to destroy the carefully placed blocks of building Sister Carlisle structured in our souls during our class times in that charitable fortress of learning.

Memoirs: Everything From Frolicking Freshmen to Missionary Work

Sue Quackenbush

You have no idea what kind of can of worms you opened up by asking for these articles. As there were wonderful and incredible experiences I was privileged to have at BYU, it’s difficult to know where to start. Trying to limit my memoirs to just one of the subjects you requested was just too difficult, since one memory inevitably leads to another—and, like so many other BYU alumni, once we get started talking about our college years, it’s almost impossible to shut us up! So, I will just start at the beginning, knowing that you probably won’t be able to use a fourth of what I write, but finding it necessary to put it all down anyway.

Choosing to come to BYU in the first place was not a difficult decision because I was only seven when my oldest sister left home for Provo. One by one, each of my older siblings followed suit, and once, I even got to come with my parents to deliver another sister. I got a tour of the campus and fell in love with the dorms (the idea of living on my own appealed to me at a very ripe age). I went home from that trip more determined than ever that I would definitely be coming back.

When the time finally came for me to fly the coop, I took the advice of my sister and came back to BYU early in August before the fall semester began. It was a very good thing that I did, because I was able to secure a job before the fall rush of students returned. I was also extremely lucky, for the job I was able to secure was bequeathed to me by my sister! She had been working for the Department of Elementary Education as a secretary for the faculty, but she was graduating and leaving an opening. At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted my sister’s handouts (or if I was up to the job, especially after taking the petrifying typing test in the basement of the ASB), but as it turned out, the El.Ed. Department secretary, Kristine Abbot, took great pity on me and hired me anyway.

Four years later, I wasn’t sorry. I was able to keep that job throughout my entire BYU experience, right up to the last semester before I graduated and my first child was born. I learned so much in that department, and I was able to work with some wonderful professors like Brad Wilcox, and Jim Jacobs, and Ray Reutzel, and a couple dozen others. For the most part, the job meant typing syllabi until my eyes turned red, proofing faculty articles to be published, tests to be given, and so on. But as the semesters went on, I gradually got into doing some graphic design (charts, bulletin boards, etc.), and once I even got to go traveling about Springville with a graduate student, making a video of elementary school kids in their school libraries. It was a wonderful job, and not only did I hone my secretarial and people skills, I made some wonderful friends.

Having the security of a campus job gave my ego a boost as I started my freshman year. I gained so much confidence that I burst out of my social shell and landed right in the middle of the wonderful world of dating. I’m not entirely proud of my grades that first semester, but boy, did I enjoy myself! I slept out at the Marriott Center for football tickets, I went to every campus dance, I was a regular at the Varsity Theater—and all this with so many good-looking guys!

I think that was the greatest shock to my feminine mind. At home, there were really only two or three guys I would ever have felt comfortable dating. At BYU, you couldn’t count them all! Not only that, they were just as excited about getting into the social life as we girls were. For the first time in my life, I was serenaded at my bedroom window (as an answer to my roommate’s and my request to attend a Heritage Halls Buddy Ball). I had cakes with secret messages baked into them delivered at my door. I came home from classes one day to find my entire room turned upside down and a message reading, “I’d flip out if you’d go to Homecoming with me!”

It didn’t take long for me to jump on the bandwagon. When it came to asking guys out (which, for the first time in my life, I was not afraid to do), I gave as good as I got. My roommates and I got together (as often as possible—there’s a certain security in the knowledge that you’re not the only one making a fool of yourself) and we “kidnapped” socks, plastered rooms with construction-paper hearts (giving the room a “heart attack”), sent our prospective dates on scavenger hunts, put secret messages in balloons, and dragged them blindfolded across campus.

And all this effort was just to entice them to say yes!

Going on the date itself was just as fun and momentous, getting all dressed up in formal wear, then taking out dates out to dinner on a picnic in the park or something. But most of the memories remain built up in the initial process of “asking the guy out.”

Which leads directly to the subject of hangouts. It was after one of these dating experiences during my first semester that I made the firm decision that I was going to marry a member of the BYU Men’s Chorus. I had recently attended a combined choirs’ social event, and after being introduced to the Men’s Chorus as a whole, I fell totally and completely in love.

I was a Men’s Chorus Groupie.

The very next semester, I auditioned for and joined the BYU Women’s Chorus (and not just because we rehearsed just before the men did). Some of my choir buddies and I started staying after our rehearsal once in a while to sit way up at the top of the recital hall and listen. It didn’t take long before it became a daily ritual. After singing for and hour ourselves, we would justify staying another hour by pulling out some textbook or another and pretending to study.

Dr. Wilberg was never fooled, I’m sure, but he never threw us out, either, since we tried to behave ourselves.

Singing and listening to music became a life-saver to me through my BYU experience. Those two hours I spent in the HFAC every day for two years were like a daily hiatus. No matter how rotten the day had been, it was a relief to put all in my backpack and just sing and enjoy the good music. Gradually, I had to drop Women’s Chorus because of a class scheduling conflict. Still, every day as soon as my class was over (in the RB), I would hoof it up that obnoxious set of stairs on the west side of campus and run all the way to the HFAC so I could still catch as much of the men’s rehearsal as possible. Then, and only then, could I go home fulfilled.

I’m still a confirmed member of the BYU Men’s Chorus Fan Club. How could I not be, especially since I did achieve my “goal” and married a tenor? ( I still go weak at the knees every time he puts on his red-and-navy-blue-striped tie!) Even though we no longer live in Provo, my husband and I have kept every tape of every performance he sang in while at BYU, and we’ve collected every CD produced since we graduated. And you can bet we listen to them almost every day.

While I was still in Women’s Chorus, there was a major world event that shook us up. It was during my sophomore year at BYU that the Gulf War started. I remember coming home from classes one day and as I walked up to my dorm, I met one of the guys in our ward sitting on the front steps. He was a good friend of mine–he was also in ROTC, and had been following the developments of the upcoming war closer than any of us. Basically, he had come to say goodbye, for his troop of reserves had been called on alert. All of us in the ward immediately felt a sense of shock that we could possibly be losing someone that we knew and loved, and we were losing this person to a war, not marriage or a mission or anything else.

When things started to heat up even more, our choir director added some new songs to our repertoire. The first concert we gave after the outbreak of the Gulf War, we sang songs like “Danny Boy” and others more familiar to previous wars. We also tried to keep things mellow by singing some more humorous songs like “The Boy from Baghdad,” a limerick set to music. As we memorized the lyrics to some of the more serious songs, the war suddenly became a personal thing, and we felt like we were singing for the thousands of soldiers we didn’t even know—most of us, anyway. One of the girls in the choir asked to be excused from the concert because her brother was overseas and she couldn’t make it through the first line of “Danny Boy” without breaking
down entirely.

This war was definitely personal, and yet we didn’t know what was happening, really. All we knew was that within the week, our friend was leaving for a training base somewhere. I don’t think he even got to finish his final exams. We followed the progress of the war a lot closer after that, and our friend was fortunate in that his troop never actually had to go overseas. In fact, we were relatively untouched by the whole situation, as it wasn’t really happening to us the way WWII affected my grandparents at Pearl Harbor.

Whew. So much for the specific subjects you requested. I wish it would be easy for me to simply stop here, but there is one more experience that I would like to relate that marks one of the most prominent highlights of my BYU years.

When I first came to BYU, I stayed in Wells Hall in the Heritage Halls complex. Most of my entire dorm moved off campus after that first year, but I decided to run for hall president, which I did, and therefore stayed in Wells Hall for another year. It was in November of my sophomore year that the BYURHA (Residence Halls Association) took a delegation of 32 students to Flagstaff, AZ for the Intermountain Association of College and University Residence Halls (IACURH) Conference. I was chosen to attend as a delegate, and it was such an awesome experience!

First of all, there was the fun part: just getting to know the 300 or so other delegates from a dozen other universities in Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming, etc., for starters.

There were university displays (for which we won the grand prize, making a chicken-wire and papier-mâché replica of Y mount); small group workshops, which we got to attend as well as present; banquets; dances–—and then there was the recreation! But to be honest, I had to look back in my scrapbook to remember all of this. The most memorable part of this conference was the missionary experience—and this was something you couldn’t take a picture of.

We had been prepared for this. Being the only private, religiously affiliated school attending IACURH, we knew we had an enormous example to set. Before we left Provo, we were sure to pack a few cases of Books of Mormon, with the challenge to come home with an empty box. I don’t remember if we met that challenge, but I do remember giving a Book of Mormon to one person in particular. His name was Grant, and he came from one of the universities in Colorado. We had met in one of the workshops on Campus Social Life, and the subject of co-ed dorms and how to deal with sex on a date inevitably came up. I sat and listened with a few of my fellow BYU delegates, all of us squirming and wondering if we should say anything.

I sat until I couldn’t stand it anymore. I can’t quote myself verbatim, but I spoke up and talked about how glad I was that neither one of those issues was a problem for us at BYU, and instead of worrying about something that could be so destructive, we tried to build relationships through social dating by just having fun. My fellow delegates joined in at this point, and we kind of took over the workshop, sharing the crazy dating ideas like the ones I previously mentioned in this article. The workshop took a 180º turn for the better, and when it was over, people came up to us and started asking more questions. Grant was the one that found me.

Over the course of the weekend, we spent a lot of time together, having some intense gospel discussions. I have never had the privilege to serve a full-time mission, but I know how a missionary feels when they are teaching the gospel to someone who really wants to know the answers. It was as if I wasn’t the one speaking, half the time. I just prayed really hard and kept my mouth open so the Spirit could talk through me.

After the conference was over, we went our separate ways with promises to write. I wrote him as often as I could, but I only received one letter from him, around Christmas. It was gut-wrenching. He wrote that he had gone back to school, was back with his old friends, and really didn’t have time for the church after all. I was totally crushed, especially after telling all my friends about the wonderful missionary experience I had had. I still prayed for him and hoped that somehow I had still made a difference.

The story is not over yet. Just over a year later, I had moved off-campus and moved in with a new set of roommates. One of my roommates was from Denver, and she was going to go back to Colorado to go through the temple and receive her endowments. She asked me to come along and help drive, which I did, excited at the prospect of traveling east of Utah, and in the middle of a semester.

It was a wonderful trip. I had a great time with her family, I learned how to drive a stick-shift, and it was a good break from school. But I was in no way prepared for the incredible experience at the temple.

My roommate went into the temple with her family on Saturday morning, and I was left to my own devices, not having been through the temple myself. I waited for a while in the visitors’ lobby, and then I got up and went outside to walk around. While I was sitting outside, waiting for my friend to come out, I watched another large group of people emerge from the temple, surrounding a bride and groom. I watched with a certain interest, as I was beginning to have matrimonial aspirations myself, but I was totally amazed when the groom suddenly left the group and started walking towards me.

He looked at me intently, and upon fully recognizing me, he broke into a run. He reached out and gave me a huge hug. “I can’t believe it’s you! I can’t believe you’re here!” he kept saying. Needless to say, I was a little taken aback, as was his bride. It took me several minutes to figure out who he was.

“Grant!” I shouted, then I hugged him back.

The rest of the wedding party approached us and Grant introduced me as the one responsible for getting him there. I was so flustered, I don’t know what I said in response to that. I knew I wasn’t responsible—I believe his bride had more to do with it than I did. After that Christmas letter he wrote that he met his bride-to-be in a class and she picked up the pieces where I left off. There were others as well, but all I can take credit for is opening my big mouth when I was most afraid to do so, and following the prompting of the Spirit.

I know this was merciless, making you wade through five pages when you probably were only expecting one or two. But I am grateful for the opportunity you gave us alumni to share our experiences, and I am grateful to BYU and the people there that provide such wonderful opportunities for their students. I learned so much about the world, about life, and about myself while I was there, and for all that BYU has given me, I’m grateful to be able to give some back. I received my B. S. in Youth Leadership in 1993 and I’m happy to say, I’ve actually used my degree in so many ways as I work with the youth of my ward as well as the community.

Thanks, BYU! I’ll never forget you!

Missionaries, Marriage, and Motherhood: Twenty Years of Survival, BYU-Style

Sheri L. Becar

I attended BYU in the off-campus housing that was then called Pine View of Provo. I attended classes, worked in a family-owned store called Valley Produce, was memorizing the missionary discussions as preparation to serve a mission, and went out on splits with the local missionaries. On October 16, 1978 I went to visit a friend, Craig, at his apartment. Craig wasn’t home, but his roommate, returned missionary David Becar, invited me in and helped me practice the discussions. I asked him to Preference, we dated, and he proposed to me at Trolley Square.

For Thanksgiving break we decided to fly to Colorado Springs so that I could meet his parents. There were 25-cent flights to the first 25 people in line at the airline ticket counter. We camped out and made the trip for 50 cents. David’s roommate, Dan, took us to the airport in David’s car. We said Dan could borrow the car for the weekend as long as he was back to pick us up at Salt Lake International at the appointed time. When we got back to Salt Lake, no Dan. We called David’s apartment. Dan was nowhere to be seen. Come to find out, he had driven the car to Shelley, Idaho. On the way back the car lost the back axle and was left at the side of the road. The car was towed away and we never saw Dan again.

For Christmas break I drove home and David stayed in Provo to work at North American Manufacturing in south Provo. Upon coming back to the apartments after work, he noticed there had been a fire. It was in my apartment. My roommate Kathy Saul had left a candle burning for her fiancé in the window sill. Her wedding dress and all she owned was in the front room of our apartment. She lost everything.

All of my things were smoke-damaged or burned. Pine View gave me unlimited laundry privileges and I moved into another building on the bottom floor for the second semester. A few months later, a pipe burst and the apartment flooded. I moved again.

David was unable to get into BYU but went to Utah Technical College and worked at the Conoco station near city hall. He wanted desperately to teach at the MTC. With much effort, he was accepted and was hired there to teach Teaching Skills. On David’s birthday in February I made him a cherry cheesecake (his favorite) in a glass pie dish and began my walk to the MTC to give him his gift. Along the way I slipped on the icy snow, dropped the cheesecake and broke the pie dish, leaving the cheesecake with slivers. In tears, I decided to at least show him what I had planned to give him for his birthday. I sat in the foyer of the MTC until he came out to meet me. Sobbing, I explained what happened and tossed it in the trash. He exclaimed that he still wanted it, got it out of the trash and began eating it, exclaiming what a really good cheesecake it was. I began to laugh at the sight of him willing to eat my cheesecake, glass and all.

Two of the elders that David had taught were assigned to the ward that met in the Rialto, California stake center, where our wedding reception was being held on August 25, 1979. We ran into them as we were decorating.

World events included the hostage situation in Iran and the Viet Nam refugees that were labeled as boat people. My heart went out to them and my admiration went to families who took in these refugees.

After we were married I continued with my Education major. On the afternoon of June 9, 1980, while attending a methods class in the McKay building nine months pregnant, my water broke. I ran out of the class and could hear the instructor saying, “You shouldn’t be running like that.” I tried to call my husband but his art class was involved with a charcoal sketching assignment in Provo Canyon. Campus police drove me to Utah Valley Hospital. Our oldest son, Jarom, was born early the next morning. For this child’s entire life he aspired to attend BYU.

Twenty years later, Jarom attended BYU and played for the football team. In October of 1998 he injured his knee. His desire to play was so great that he rehabilitated his knee to 90% range of motion. He was back on the field at practice for two days when his knee was injured again. After surgery in the hospital where he was born, Dr. Kimball revealed the fact that Jarom had rehabilitated a dislocated knee cap and scraped away the cartilage. The surgeon said he would be lucky to walk, let alone play football again. Jarom’s dream of playing football for BYU had ended. His motto: “I am fighting a battle I cannot win. Therefore, I will leave the field with honor.” That evening he walked out of the hospital and attended a concert in the DeJong concert hall with hundreds of students. I was able to meet his Humanities teacher who had assigned Jarom’s class to be at that performance.

Jarom is now at the MTC preparing to serve a French-speaking mission in Montreal, Canada. Before entering the MTC, we went to Heap’s Brick Oven. It was the first restaurant that we took him to as an infant. When he was a baby, I’d have pizza and chocolate chip cookies delivered when David would be working late on the swing shift. One afternoon I was without a car but needed to buy books for spring classes. Our apartment at 83 8 S. Stubbs (near the mall in south Provo) was quite a distance from campus but I put the baby in the stroller and walked there and back. I stopped by Heap’s for cookies, though!

Brigham Young University is the backdrop that has provided vivid, yet sometimes surreal memories that continue to linger like those after a dream. David is a manager of information systems at Wilden Pump and Engineering in Grand Terrace, California, and we have six children.

He’s been a Bishop and High Councilor, and is now in the stake Young Men’s presidency. I’m in the stake Young Women’s presidency and am a teacher-on-assignment for the Assistant Superintendent of the San Bernardino City Unified School District.

Mourning the Assassinated President Kennedy

Rex Arnett

The only time I saw John F. Kennedy in person was in Salt Lake City not long before he became President. He was met at the airport by Democratic party bigwigs and was taken to a speaking engagement which had been well-publicized. So I knew it was him. He sat in the back seat of a luxury car between two men, and as they passed me on the right I could see him gesturing in animated conversation with his hosts. I was impressed, but not that much right then.

Like many Utahns, I didn’t think too much of Senator Jack Kennedy. Like almost all Utahns also, I was unaware of his philandering moral habits. Had they been known publicly then, they would have made him everywhere in the country less-than-respected, but particularly unacceptable in Utah. Nevertheless his election to the office of President saw him garner a certain universal esteem and respect. His successors and other prominent politicians have diminished considerably this phenomenon. I say this to emphasize that nearly forty years ago we were less cynical and more respectful of our politicians, even if less informed. Whoever was our President was our President, and by that alone demanded a certain fealty and admiration. We are no longer completely sure on that one.

So when I was teaching Spanish at the old B. Y. High School on lower campus and someone yelled in the hall that President Kennedy had been shot, it was like a thunderbolt of shock and grief I had heretofore only felt once—at a death in the family. It was 11:45 a. m., and of course I can recall exactly where I was standing on the third floor of the now-razed Arts building, threading tape into a language laboratory recorder. I hurried home a few blocks away at noon and followed the news until I had to return to teach afternoon classes, then rushed back to continue the watch.

Even those unborn at the time have seen all the same scenes in stark black and white. But there was something about seeing them live. As subsequent events unfolded most dramatically, only those who were living and old enough to remember them can appreciate what it was like to see all this, as we say now, “in real time.” We witnessed the ever-unperturbed Walter Cronkite emotionally confirm the President’s death, and the somber scenes of Dallas and Dealy Plaza that I was so familiar with as a missionary in the Spanish-American Mission only three years earlier. Then there was the still photo, aired just minutes after the event, of Judge Hughes, the Johnsons, and the bloodstained Mrs. Kennedy at the swearing-in of our new President aboard the Presidential aircraft.

The departure from Love Field, the arrival at Andrews AFB, the unceremonious unloading of the coffin of the President first into a common transport truck, and the first public speech by Lyndon Johnson as President—all this unfolded during the afternoon and evening of Friday, November 22, 1963.

Particularly had I deplored the way Johnson in the campaign of 1960 had mercilessly attacked Ezra Taft Benson and the agricultural policies he administered under Eisenhower. He had spoken a bit more respectfully at BYU at the George Albert Smith fieldhouse. Still I resented his twang and a lot of the political doctrine he enunciated. But when Lyndon Baines Johnson stood in the raw autumn wind, flanked by his Lady Byrd, and said unpretentiously that he was the only President we had, I felt a rush of compassion and of course prayed for him, as he had asked us all to do. It was a moment I carried with me from then on. It was made more meaningful when, years later, I would meet and talk with Lyndon Johnson in person after his Presidency near his ranch, when the monument to Lyman Wight’s Mormon Colony was dedicated and I was among those invited to represent the Church.

Meanwhile the assassination ordeal seemed to never end: Oswald shot J. D. Tippett. Oswald was captured and hustled off to jail a few blocks from the Texas State Schoolbook Depository. On Sunday, our Bishopric of the BYU 43rd ward met in the office of BYU’s most distinguished scientist, Harvey Fletcher. We prayed together about the events, we speculated, and we wondered how the University would officially respond to what was happening. Even as we did so, Jack Ruby shot Oswald. That was to be one of two of the really significant scenes I would not see live, but in replay. I will talk of the other scene later.

I had three roles at BYU then: a teacher at the Laboratory School, a graduate student at the University, and a part-time teacher for the university Spanish Department. Everyone in the community was aware of President Ernest L. Wilkinson’s political preferences and that he detested Democrats. I ran in some social circles that included faculty who were Democrats and I was aware of the discomfort they felt from time to time with the political climate under Wilkinson’s administration. These were good, loyal BYU faculty, not malcontents. However, none of us, regardless of party affiliation, expected anything less than the total closure of the University on Monday, January 25, 1964, in observance of the funeral of President Kennedy. If nothing else, it was a historical moment that, with the coverage of television, would be a momentous educational experience.

We were startled and shocked at the decision made by President Wilkinson to proceed with classes as if it were an ordinary day. Announced on Sunday afternoon or evening, rumblings of discontent were there, but muted (though not completely), so as the vast majority of faculty and students were not in agreement. However, we, for the most part, respected authority and prepared to report as usual.

I called my colleague at B.Y. High, Julia Caine, who taught a course in Current History next to my Spanish class, during what was to be the funeral hour. I told her I would bring my small TV to her larger room if I could bring in my Spanish class. She readily and with appreciation agreed. Before sunup the next day I drove my beat-up Volkswagen to the upper campus to conduct my university class. To my surprise, most of the class showed up at 7:00 a.m., though we did little Spanish 321 Composition and Grammar that day. At 7:50 we dismissed and I exited the Knight building to cross the quad to the parking lot behind the HFAC under construction. This plaza characteristically at 7:50 was crowded elbow-to-elbow with professors and students headed for the first official period of the day. They usually spilled onto the grass, and those going completely across campus jostled to get ahead of the pack so as not to be late. Knowing the sentiment (and, I might say, resentment) that was brewing, I did not expect the plaza to be as full. But it was, and just as I started across, the BYU Carillon (not the existing real Carillon, but the old electronic one mounted atop the ESC) started to play, and the ROTC contingent started to march from the Library to the Smoot building to post the flags. Usually no one paid any attention, and indeed the color guard routinely was impeded in their march. But the flags, the hearing of The Star-Spangled Banner, and the sight of their fellow students in uniform on that historic day simultaneously brought the whole throng to a complete halt.

In the crisp fall air, we heard the footsteps of the guard and the voice of the commandant giving the orders, and we stood in absolute, reverent attention. Probably there were several thousand in this quad or adjacent to it, and not one person moved, except to salute or place their hands on their heart as the ceremony unfolded. Even on its completion, the crowd moved slowly, reluctantly, to their classes as a truly sacred moment ended.

The epilogue to this story is unfortunately an ugly one and may not survive editing because it reveals a darker side of prejudices and carrying out policies to an extreme. President Wilkinson, in announcing that BYU would hold forth as usual on the day of the Kennedy funeral, did encourage those free of duties or class during the funeral to watch the proceedings on TV. So Julia Caine and I had no qualms about merging our classes (after all, hers ironically was the Current History class), with my portable TV set up. We and our rapt students followed the caisson, the riderless horse, and the remainder of the cortege across the Potomac to Arlington, and just as the proceedings there began, an assistant administrator at the Laboratory School, apparently rankled that I had moved my class, poked his head in Mrs. Caine’s room and berated me and all of us for not following the university policy of no cancellation of classes. He then jerked the electric plug and carried off my TV to his office. I shed no tears six months later when he was removed from his position, but I smoldered the entire time over this high-handedness. Still, the early-morning moments of reverence and respect for our nation’s fallen president will always be treasured among my cherished BYU experiences.

And no matter how much older and supposedly wiser I get, it can’t erase those feelings of corporate awe and the spontaneous fulfillment of a genuine grief.

BYU: A Change of Pace Road Trip Recollections, Dance Memories

Crystal D. Prine Dick

Coming from a small town in Oregon, everything at the ‘Y’ was new and exciting. After graduating from high school in 1954, I just couldn’t wait to try my wings and fly at BYU.

There are many experiences that helped me grow into the person I am today—the devotionals, the social units, the returned missionaries, teachers and the mat dances. Ah, yes, the mat dances. Oh how I love to dance. Every Wednesday would find me doing the “dance” thing. Not only could I dance to my heart’s content, but I enjoyed meeting my friends and making new friends. Sometimes I wore out 2 or 3 partners doing the twist or jitterbug.

My memories also include eating my first fresh pineapple and feeling my sore mouth afterwards, and going to a volleyball tournament in Wyoming because one of the girls on the team got sick. Going to Las Vegas with one of my roommates to see her grandparents and the Martin and Lewis Show was fun. Barrel racing with the Rodeo Club always lifted my spirits, and so did the Western Dance every month in the bottom of the old Provo Museum. Before I end this, I need to say I was lucky enough to have a class in the BY Academy building. It was great and very close to my apartment on University Ave. Long live BYU!

Props for Pardoe’s Plays

Leland B. Wakefield

I entered BYU in the 40s. It was great to be part of such a great organization. Classes were not too big, and we could get to really know our professors. Yes, before I graduated I got to know most all the professors; they really did reach out and make our days at BYU the best days ever. In my first year I worked, when not in school, at Hayward’s market and did some janitor work there and at the lower campus. While working at the lower campus I made friends with Professors Alonzo Morley and T. Earl Pardoe. As I visited with Dr. Pardoe he found out that I was not only a handyman but a carpenter and fix-it man. In late 1940 and early 1941 he hired me to do repair jobs around the College Hall and then he hired me to build props for his plays.

There was a shop with tools across the street from college hall. I could go there after classes and on Saturdays and prepare the items he needed for stage settings for his plays. I continued working for him until I went into the Air Force in 1942. All the time I was in the Air Force, Dr. Pardoe wrote to me and sent the school paper. When I came back to BYU in 1945 I did his scenery again until I graduated in 1947. I met a girl at BYU and we were married in 1946. You see everything went well for me. I was granted a scholarship to Columbia University New York–but I didn’t take it. I bought a business downtown and named it Wakefield’s Music. It was there for 43 years.

Radio Days at the ‘Y’

Orin and Rita Clement Parker

On March 15, 1946, the fast-growing student body at BYU inaugurated a campus radio station, KBYU, and formed a Radio Club to man it under Dr. T. Earl Pardoe’s tutelage. Those of us who were in on the station’s birth and childhood remember fondly the laughs, gaffes, technical problems and occasional achievements of KBYU, which was one of only a few campus radios west of the Mississippi and became the first to affiliate with IBS, the fledgling Intercollegiate Broadcasting System created by the Ivy League schools.

Enrollment at the ‘Y’ exploded as veterans returned from the war. There was only one campus location that would serve as a student hangout, the plush, spanking new but small Joseph Smith Building. KBYU and a host of other activities gave most of us somewhere to be and something challenging to do. Radio attracted mostly drama and speech majors, but also a mix of others and, of course, the indispensable engineers to keep us on the air.

The first year, only noontime and evening shows were aired, but experiments with morning music and news shows expanded the programming. Rita Clement remembers trudging through the snow for this dawn drudgery in the basement of the old College Hall, with a winter coat over her pajamas and a faked hearty voice as she started with “Good Morning, KBYU is on the air to help you get to class on time.”

Programming was rapidly expanded to include regular newscasts, popular and classical music, dramatic shows and coverage of campus events. Eunice Harmon remembers being the first girl disc jockey and others remember the hilarious student assembly programs KBYU presented. A delegation of the “faithful” paid their own way to represent KBYU at a Western Radio Conference at College of the Pacific in Stockton CA, staying overnight with Jay Lyman’s relatives on the way. Our inventive engineer Owen Rich figured out how to send our signal through local telephone lines so we could be heard by the whole Provo-Orem community. We decided to try going commercial with a campaign titled “Now It Can Be SOLD.” I don’t remember what happened with that idea, but there were always a dozen more.

A number of the KBYU “regulars” attended Summer Institutes at UCLA and Stanford. Early KBYU pioneers included Reed Powell, Lester Card, Max Golightly, LaRae Collett, Kirk and Junella Wilkins, Conrad Judd, Courtney Brewer, Shirley Ann Rowe, Don Jansen, Mauray Payne, DeWayne Sylvester, Doug Lazenby and many others. KBYU spawned radio-TV careers, lasting friendships, and at least one marriage—our own. A number of us have children who have worked on the now well-established KBYU radio and TV stations.

Reminiscences: Glimpses of BYU in the 70s and 80s

Cathy Davis

First of all, I want to say I am very grateful for the opportunity and blessing I had to attend BYU. I was there 3 different times: 1972-1975 (I was in Junior high while my father attended BYU); 1978-1980 (my freshman & sophomore years), 1986-1987 (I completed my Bachelor’s degree). Some things I remember are:


Some of my family’s favorite restaurants–Heaps’ Brick Oven, Jimba’s (on Center Street), Hawkins Drive Inn (500 W & about 200 N), Roy Rogers Roast Beef, Arctic Circle. Every semester my dad would usually take one of us to go through registration with him–we had to “pull cards” while my mom worked at the Cannon Center and helped feed the football team. We camped a lot–especially up in the Uintahs.


Lived at University Villa both years with friends from home. For Book of Mormon 121 Ed Pinegar was my teacher; for Book of Mormon 122 Blaine Yorgason was my teacher, and for the final he invited the entire class to his home to eat dinner & take the final. Went to Preference at the Capitol Building in Salt Lake. Mint brownies from the Cougareat. Got in trouble from a professor for wearing overalls to class when there was about 2 feet of snow on the ground. Went on Outdoor Survival (Youth Leadership 380 & 480) in May 1980 with one of my roommates–I’d wanted to go since I had heard about it in junior high.


Lived at the Elms both years. Favorite place to study was on the 1st floor of the library. Went to Snowbird with my ward (138th) to see Halley’s Comet in May 1986–we rode the tram to the top. Spring & Summer terms were the best–more laid back & lots more fun. Went to Manti with my ward to see the pageant. Went rafting on the Colorado River with my ward. Favorite places to meet my friends & roommates & hang out: the Cougareat, Memorial Lounge, HFAC, the Checkerboard Quad. One of my all-time favorite classes was Religion 354–Judaism & Islam. Favorite concerts: Billy Joel & Boston. Went to the Ramses exhibit–inspired me to be a volunteer when the exhibit came to Dallas. Watched “Days of Our Lives” in the LRC or Memorial Lounge when I couldn’t make it home; we had “Days” parties every Friday afternoon at my apartment. I did my student teaching in Roosevelt, Utah as part of a rural student-teaching program. On the weekends I would go back to Provo and stay with my roommates; we would go to the football games, movies (we saw “Dirty Dancing” about 5 times at the Academy theater), dances, etc.

One of the defining moments in my life was when the Challenger exploded in January 1986. I was downstairs in the Wilkinson Center in the hall by the bowling alley when I heard about it on television. I will always remember that moment.

Timeless Ties: A Chronicle of Social Life at BYU and Beyond

Gail Pratt Wasden

Prior to transferring to BYU as a junior in the summer of 1957, I had grown up in a branch in southern California where the church was not well populated with young men. Dates with acceptable and eligible prospects were few and far between, so I anticipated a whirlwind social life at the ‘Y.’ It was something of a shock to realize that while the Y campus had lots of nice young men, there were also lots of nice young women, and one’s social calendar wasn’t always full to the brim.

In the spring of that first year, I had decided to let my social life take care of itself and concentrate on my studies, which included a number of literature classes with substantial reading assignments for homework. One Monday night, I was plowing through 40 pages of poetry from the Victorian period of English literature when one of my friends from the dorm came to tell me that she had invited a boy from her philosophy class to come over for lemonade that evening and to bring his roommate with him. She wanted me to come down and entertain the roommate.

I was reluctant to abandon my reading, but she was very persuasive, so I
went downstairs at the appointed time and met her two friends. We spent a half hour visiting until the dorm closed, then made a date to attend a student opera performance the following night and then a second date to drive up Spanish Fork Canyon at 6 a.m. the following Saturday and cook our breakfast over a campfire.

My dormmate and her friend didn’t quite hit it off, but his friend and I just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary with a family of 5 kids and a present total of 15 grandchildren. We were married after I graduated the following year and kept in touch with my friend for the next few years, through her difficult marriage that eventually ended after the birth of their daughter. For years after that, I wondered where she was and what she was doing, but could never track her down and finally gave up.

So, it was something of a surprise when our family moved to the bay area north of San Francisco to find her name on a membership list of our new ward. She was not active and her second husband and their two children were not members. But in the 18 years since we renewed our friendship, she has become active and has received her endowments in the temple, her second daughter was baptized and later married in the temple. Our two families have become very close friends, partly because we just like each other a lot, but also because she was the means by which my husband and I met, something that probably wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t had a slight crush on his roommate.

Traditions Make Way for Modern Technology

Douglas E. Nicholes, ‘54

As fall approached this past year I became a little nostalgic of my days at the ‘Y.’ I started reminiscing of the days and events I enjoyed while a student at Brigham Young University in the late 1940s. I talked my wife, Mary Lou, into making a visit to the campus. As we walked around campus in my mind I could hear the clear, musical sound of the clapper sounding the “Y Bell.”

We went in search of the location of the Bell. We asked several students if they could direct us to the Y Bell. None of them could direct us to its location—in fact, none of them had even heard of it. We then went to the BYUSA Office in the Wilkinson Center. The receptionist asked several other students if they could help us and they too were unfamiliar with the Y Bell. As we asked for directions we were continually directed to the beautiful Carillon Bell Tower. We continued our search and eventually located the Y Bell mounted on an arch at the southwest entrance to the Marriott Center.

In 1948, I was invited to become a member of the Gold Y Chapter of the Intercollegiate Knights. I became a member and enjoyed the experience of rendering service, building school spirit, enhancing an academic atmosphere, and working to create fellowship and brotherhood.

I, along with other knights, was familiar with the traditional ringing of the Y Bell by graduating seniors, after athletic victories, on special occasions, and on festive events.

As a unit it was decided to do some research into the history of the Y Bell and try to locate it and reactivate the tradition.

We discovered that the first bell crossed the plains with early pioneers in a covered wagon. The bell was used to summon Saints to meetings and worship services. In evenings it announced the curfew. The solemn toll of the bell announced a death in the community. At Brigham Young Academy it signaled the beginning of classes. The Academy building and bell were destroyed by fire in 1884.

A replacement was purchased by the Academy students at a cost of sixty dollars. It was a cast iron bell and the sound was not as musical and resonant as the initial bell.

In 1919 a Provo meetinghouse was razed and a nickel bell was salvaged for use as the Y Bell.

For a period of time the tradition of ringing the bell faded until the Intercollegiate Knights, in their search, located it in the old Education Building on lower campus. It was found cracked and in need of repair.

It was taken to the maintenance department, where they analyzed the metallic makeup of the bell. It was determined that the bell would need special welding and tempering.

The Gold Y Chapter did not have the needed funds for the repair, so they joined with the Y Calcares in sponsoring “The Belle of the Y” dance and contest to select the Y coed judged to best represent the Spirit of the Y. The proceeds from the dance went to repair the bell. To my tin ear it rings as musical, as resonant, as familiar and comforting as the day it was taken from the brick oven after a fine job of welding by the men in the maintenance department. A frame was constructed for the bell. It was mounted on a trailer and transported to the brow of the hill at the old football stadium (located in the area of the present Richards Building) and in front of the Smith Fieldhouse to proclaim football and basketball victories.

As we visited the site of the Y Bell we noticed that there was no plaque identifying the bell or its history. I would like to propose that some group or organization take on the project to provide a plaque to place in the area of the bell. The day we visited we noticed some beautiful trees and flowerbeds surrounding the area. It is a beautiful setting for a bell with a great tradition.

Yes, some of the traditions of the “Y” have gone the way of modern technology; others have just gone.

As an incoming freshman I remember having to purchase a small, blue and white cap. On the visor you printed your name in big letters. The story went around campus that if a freshman was caught without his cap, he would be tossed in the botany pond. I never remember seeing anyone wet from being thrown into the pond. At the time there were a large number of servicemen attending BYU on the G.I. Bill. I doubt if any ex-marine, soldier or sailor would take lightly to being tossed in the water for not wearing a freshman blue and white cap. The tradition faded away.

If you wanted to order a malt or fries, you would go to the Y Bookstore, which was housed in an old army barracks renovated into a makeshift bookstore. It was rather small. There were about ten seats at the counter to eat your lunch. Now you can order from any of the popular fast food chains which are located in the Wilkinson Building Dining area.

“The Universe” was published once a week, with a staff of 4 or 5. In 1949 it became a bi-weekly with a staff of 12-15. Now the “Daily Universe” is published Monday through Friday during Fall and Winter Semester, with a staff of over forty.

The yearbook, “The Banyan,” was published yearly, with pictures of each student attending the University. It was a pictorial history of the school year, including pictures of the campus, the administration, class members, organizations, social units, sports and student activities. I still find it enjoyable thumbing through the 400-plus pages, looking at classmates and wondering what has become of them. As I look at the pictures of activities and events I realize how wonderful it was to be a student at Brigham Young University. The Banyan is not published anymore as a yearbook. Has a PC disc replaced it?

In the spring students organized themselves into groups and assisted in cleaning up the campus and community of Provo. The event was called “Y Day,” and most of the morning was spent in whitewashing the Y. Students formed a human chain from the base of Y mountain to the Y. They passed a mixture of water, lime, and salt from hand to hand until it reached those that were assigned to spread the whitewash. This tradition lasted for over six and a half decades and was replaced by a helicopter that hauled the mixture to the Y.

Yes, another tradition gone the way of modern technology.

When I was a young boy and visited the campus, one of the attractions was visiting the cage of the school mascot, The Cougar. I have read that the selection committee was looking for a symbol that manifested the sprit of the Y. They selected the cougar because it “embodies the strength of the lion, symbol of kings; the speed of the cheetah, symbol of pharaoh; the beauty of the leopard; and the cunning of the panther.” The humane factor was considered after one of the cougars died, and the other was donated to a zoo in Salt Lake City. For a period of time there was no symbol of the cougar at athletic and other events. In 1953, a costume was made and put on an active and athletic Y student. Since then the costume and headpiece have changed, but Cosmo brings spirit and enthusiasm wherever he goes.

I remember standing in long lines during registration to pick up class cards. You always were hoping that when you got to the front of the line there would be a card for you. Otherwise you would have to change your whole class schedule. Now students pick up the telephone and with a touch of the dial can register immediately. One good thing about standing in line was that you always made a new friend while you waited. I just imagine that many first Y dates were made while waiting in line to register.

During World War II the Y Marching Band was on hold until the war was over. When I was a freshman the band was reactivated. I was asked to be one of the baton twirlers. The next year the Call sisters from Nevada became the Y majorettes. They were the first of many outstanding baton twirlers to thrill the football crowd. For several years we have not seen baton twirlers leading the band. We now are entertained by young men and women doing precision drills with mock rifles. The high-flying and sometimes flaming batons are gone.

As an Intercollegiate Knight I especially enjoyed lighting the Y on special occasions. These occasions during the year were freshman orientation, Homecoming, spring and summer graduation, and Y Days.

Preparations for the lighting were started in advance of the special evening. Old mattresses and used crank case oil had to be located. Stuffing from the mattresses were taken out and soaked with the used oil. Five-gallon cans were used for stirring the mix. Early on the eve of the lighting, the knights would carry the buckets to the Y. The cans were placed uniformly around the Y. At the signal the knights would light their torches and ignite the mattress stuffing. The smoke and smell created the standards of the Environmental Protection Agency. By the time the Knights reached the bottom of the mountain the small fires illuminating the Y were beginning to fade with the passing of time.

This tradition has faded with the passing of time as now electric lights illuminate the Y. Electricity is generated by a gasoline generator; the generator and lights are taken to the Y by helicopter. Intercollegiate Knights and workers from the maintenance department spread out the industrial-size electric cables around the Y. They use about 150 25-watt bulbs to illuminate the Y. They can stay lit for as long as there is gasoline to run the generator.

Usually on the night of the lighting there was a dance in the Smith Ballroom or the Knight-Magnum Social Hall Ballroom. Inasmuch as the Knights were busy on the mountain, they would ask their date to accompany them to the Y. It was a special date and one that is held in memory. You did not dress as formal as you would for the dance, but you had a good time and felt of the true spirit of the Y.

Traditions: The knowledge, doctrines, customs, practices transmitted from generation to generation. Traditions come and go with the passing of time. However, some Y traditions have continued so long that they have almost become a force of law.

On-campus Reactions to a Nationwide Tragedy

DeAnn C. Lloyd

I believe President John F. Kennedy’s death was one of the most prominent memories I have while a student at BYU.

I worked for the Chairman of the Business Management Department. All the teachers had radios in their offices. When the news hit the air, they were all down in the office talking about it. I kind of went into a shock. My generation had never been through anything so tragic.

I remember walking out of the building and seeing the flag already at half-mast. As I walked across the campus to my apartment, I noticed that no one was talking. The air was deathly still. It appeared that everyone was meditating while walking. It was as though no one even noticed the others on the campus that afternoon.

Printer in the 1940s

Ken Wheeler

In 1947, more than fifty years ago, I worked as a student part-time at BYU Press. I am now age 70. I worked as a printer’s devil: printing jobs were set up with individual letters, and after the job was done, the type was pied or letters were thrown into a container. Then I would identify each letter and file it for future use. Also I greased the wheels on the transport dolly. I trimmed print jobs on a big sharp paper cutter, then applied adhesive to the trimmings and made them into scratch pads for the professors. Sometimes I operated a heavy-duty stapler machine in assembling booklets. There was a line-o-type machine which is now antique and obsolete which molded letters into lead one line at a time. Afterward the lead slugs were thrown back into the melting pot to be reused.

BYU and World War II

Orin D. Parler

When Hitler invaded Poland in 1939 I was playing early-morning tennis with my friend Bill in our Idaho town. We were already making plans to go to the ‘Y’ when we graduated high school, but that would be two years away, in ’41. Although I followed the limited news coverage closely and thought we should be fighting, the war in Europe was worlds away. Our biggest concern was saving enough for tuition ($25 per quarter) and finding a job in Provo to pay expenses. Hitchhiking to Provo, Bill and I found room and board for $25 per month. The head of the house worked at the Y and his wife starved students, or so we thought, as we tried to subsist on her meager fare and way too many candy bars.

After registering, we got janitorial jobs cleaning floors and wrestling with the newfangled floor polishers. After two 5 a.m. shifts we went job-hunting downtown. We were both hired by the local theatre chain of three movie houses, which paid ushers 25 cents an hour and doormen 30 cents. Somehow we qualified as doormen and were able to greet all the stunning Y coeds as they came in with their dates. A regular at matinees was Drama Professor Dr. Pardoe, who’d bring a large sack of goodies from the bakery around the corner.

Provo was a great small town then and Y enrollment was just under 2700. On warm fall days students trailed from the upper to the lower campus and back again, paces slowed by the smells of leaf-burning and the sounds of football and matinee dance music. Majoring in journalism and political science, I wrote for the weekly Y news and attended every campus event that would fit into my schedule. Classes were easy, except for my 8 a.m. Spanish class. Working until 11:30 at night left me little time for homework and bull sessions. It also left me completely unable to stay awake as our ex-missionary professor droned on in this most restful of languages. He advised me to drop the course. I didn’t and had to repeat it after the war.

The war. It was easy in the fall of ’41 to forget that Europe was occupied and England was fighting for its life. I was a freshman, for the first time deep into religion and literature. But my most fascinating course that first quarter was a diplomatic history of the United States, taught by aging professor Christen Jensen. He’d served as a junior diplomatic officer in the American delegation at the Treaty of Versailles, where we let our allies play politics with the First World War’s victory.

The Uintah Theatre on Center Street was the smallest of the three cinemas where I worked. On Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, after a brief appearance at an off-campus ward’s Sunday School, I had to open the theatre, pop the popcorn, and ready everything for the Sunday matinee at 1 p.m. The newsreel that always preceded the feature film showed the Japanese delegation smiling their way through meetings at the State Department and at the White House.

About 20 minutes into the picture, my friend called the box office to report the attack on Pearl Harbor. We were stunned. For a few minutes we listened to the startling bulletins on the portable radio in the cashier’s cubicle. I decided we had to let the audience know, so I hand-printed a slide that could be projected: “Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii today.” A few customers got up and left, and others came out periodically to get updates as the reports gave details of the disastrous bomb damage. It was so unbelievable, so shocking, that we didn’t really comprehend how much of our world had changed in that hour. That night after work my friend Bill and I walked up and around the campus, talking of what this would do to our lives.

On Monday, Dec. 8, a special assembly was called in the Joseph Smith auditorium to hear President Roosevelt’s message asking Congress for a Declaration of War. I can still hear Roosevelt’s ringing denunciation of this “day of infamy.” We had weeks of discussion about these astonishing events in our Diplomatic History class.

A few students left school immediately. But the advice from government, church, and the university was to wait and see where we’d be needed. I waited till the end of the year before enlisting in the Navy. Thirteen months after Pearl Harbor I was in the Solomon Islands.

The drama of those December 1941 days is still with me. Remembering now, I think I was relieved. Life’s immediate decisions would be made for me. I could postpone the important plans that were so difficult to make, the plans that the Y would solidify for me when I returned three and a half years later, with the GI Bill providing enough so I wouldn’t have to work. Coming back to the Y in ’46 was one of my best memories of World War II.

We lived in military barracks, buildings which made nice dormitories. I have many great talents, but not much for neatness nor perfection today.

Vicorian Poetry and a BYU Social Life

Gail Pratt Wasden, ‘59

I anticipated a whirlwind social life when I transferred to the Y. It was something of a shock to realize that while the Y campus had lots of nice young men, there were also lots of nice young women, and one’s social calendar wasn’t always full to the brim.

In the spring of the first year, I had decided to let my social life take care of itself and concentrate on my studies, which included a number of literature classes. One Monday night I was plowing through 40 pages of poetry from the Victorian period of English literature when one of my friends from the dorm came to tell me that she had invited a boy from her philosophy class to come over for lemonade that evening and to bring his roommate with him. She wanted me to come down and entertain the roommate.

I was reluctant to abandon my reading, but she was very persuasive, so I went downstairs at the appointed time and met her two friends. We spent a half-hour visiting until the dorm closed, then made a date to attend a student opera performance the following night and then a second date to drive up Spanish Fork Canyon at 6 a.m. the following Saturday and cook our breakfast over a campfire.

My dormmate and her friend didn’t quite hit it off, but his friend and I just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary with a family of five kids and a present total of 15 grandchildren.