Sweet Treat: Tales of Ice Cream from BYU Alumni
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First Person

Sweet Treat

For celebrations, surprises, or solace, ice cream earns its rep as students’ go-to indulgence.

doodle of worker in red apron serving ice cream
Illustration by Travis Foster

We All Scream

By Kristen Bylund Franckum (BSN ’08) | Tumwater, WA

I’ve always enjoyed interacting with children, so I was looking forward to the pediatric rotation of my nursing school curriculum. That semester, I spent many days at Primary Children’s Medical Center in the height of RSV season. As a student, I was given the opportunity to perform deep suctions, a treatment that involved directing a tube down the throat to clear the airway of mucus and facilitate breathing. The little ones getting the suction would squirm and cry the whole time. Soon enough, when they saw me approaching, the children would burst into tears, knowing what was coming. It broke my heart to be associated only with something unpleasant. When the semester was over, I decided to balance the scales and got a job working at Sugar and Spice in the Cougareat. With my red apron and ice cream scoop, I was no longer the source of tears. Now when children saw me, they were all smiles. I was gently reprimanded several times by my coworkers for making the scoops of ice cream too big. I guess I was still trying to make up for all that deep suctioning!

Blending In

By Camille John Holt (BS ’76) | Layton, UT

My sophomore year I had a roommate who resolved to drink only liquids to try to lose weight. Then one evening a vision appeared on our dining room table: a chocolate cake smothered in fudgy frosting. The dieter watched the rest of us cut generous pieces of the cake. She watched us scoop out frosty vanilla ice cream. We “mmmed” and “wowed” as we took the first tiny tastes. Then we dove in. Our poor roommate’s resolve weakened, and she grabbed a plate of cake and ice cream and ran determinedly to the kitchen. We followed and watched as she shoved her treats into the blender and added a little milk. After she had revved the blender to high speed and pulverized the combo into a “liquid,” she joined the rest of us in enjoying the dreamy dessert.

Paying Up

By Carol Lee Stott Duffin (BA ’90, MA ’94) | DeKalb, IL

When I started dating Kirk, my roommate Penny wouldn’t let me forget a particular BYU tradition: after you and a young man you were dating kissed for the first time, you were expected to buy your roommates ice cream in celebration. Each time Kirk called our dorm, Penny would hover nearby, loudly saying things like, “Boy, I sure could go for some ICE CREAM right now!”

I was exasperated, worried that he would think I’d put her up to it, but she brushed away my concerns. “He can’t hear me,” she said. “Or if he can, he doesn’t know what I’m talking about.”

The magic moment eventually arrived. Outside Budge Hall one evening, he kissed me—then reached into his pocket and pulled out a handful of change. “Here,” he said. “This is for Penny’s ice cream.” He sauntered away, and I raced up the stairs to give my roommate a good tongue lashing (but I eventually gave her the ice cream as well).

The Date That Wasn’t

By Scott P. Hales (BA ’09) | Grantsville, UT

While living south of campus, I mustered up the courage to get my neighbor’s phone number. An evening out for ice cream was usually my go-to first date, and I rehearsed how the conversation would go in my head a few times. When I finally called, we exchanged some pleasant small talk, and I was pleased with how well things were going.

Then the moment of truth arrived: I invited her to grab an ice cream with me. “I would love to, but I’m lactose intolerant,” she responded. I could barely process what she had said. She waited for me to reply, probably with a backup option like burgers and fries. But I couldn’t think of anything intelligent to say, so I stumbled my way through an “Okay, thanks anyway, bye.” We never did end up going out, but my former roommates and I have had some good laughs about it over the years whenever the subject of ice cream comes up.

doodle of person breaking ice cream record by eating 24 scoops
Illustration by Travis Foster


By Robert W. Jacobson (BA ’77) | Boise, ID

As a new BYU freshman, I was anxious to distinguish myself in some way, and the opportunity did not take long to materialize. As I perused the offerings at the Cougareat, I noticed a small sign in the ice cream area that said something about a record of 22 scoops. Having nothing else pressing, I announced confidently to the clerk that I was going for the record. During the next hour, I was served ice cream three scoops at a time. I was determined to eclipse the standing record by at least two scoops. When it looked as though I might have a shot, word reached the Daily Universe and a reporter and photographer were dispatched. My last three scoops—22 to 24—were quite difficult, but I managed to finish bowl number eight and become the new record holder. Sadly, I still had to pay for the ice cream. And one week after my record-setting performance, someone else came in and ate 25 scoops.

Beacon in the Storm

By Elizabeth Lewis Swenson (BA ’05) | Anchorage, AK

My buttoned-up, goal-oriented husband, Matthew J. Swenson (BS ’05), is the perfect complement to my impulsivity, creativity, and occasional melodrama. One memorable day just a few weeks into our marriage, we were doing homework in our apartment. Outside, the glowing sign of the old Malt Shoppe across the parking lot was barely visible through a torrential rainstorm. So imagine my delight when my sweetheart grabbed my hand and pulled me out the door with barely enough time to slip on a pair of flip-flops. We ran through the heaviest rain I had ever seen sweep through Provo, pausing now and then to splash in puddles. Our run ended in a strawberry shake and chili fries, enjoyed as we sat shivering in a corner booth. I was surprised by my husband’s romantic gesture and grateful that his more practical side had remembered to bring his wallet!

Cold Comfort

By Emily Eggett Cronk (BS ’13) | Morgan, UT

After I returned from a horrible date my sophomore year, my roommates took me to the Creamery for some ice cream. I got Graham Canyon, and from that point forward, that flavor became known as “Dumped Ice Cream.”

For an FHE activity several weeks later, we needed some dessert. When one of the boys in our group went to our freezer to get some ice cream out, he eagerly reached for a carton of Graham Canyon. My roommate yelled out, “No! You can’t eat that! It’s the Dumped Ice Cream!”

From then on, our FHE group was notorious for finding reasons beyond being dumped to eat our beloved Graham Canyon. Whether it was failing a test, getting rejected for a date, or simply having a bad day, we knew that there would always be a bowl of ice cream waiting to cheer us up.