When the "Family" Gets Together - Y Magazine
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First Person

When the “Family” Gets Together

Readers share the joys and pains of having ward-appointed kin.

Puddin’-Headed Leaders

By Annie Schefcik Miles (BS ’04), Mesa, Ariz.

It was the usual Monday night for my family home evening group in the lobby of Broadbent Hall. This evening we were trying our hands at Pudding Pictionary. What is that blob with three arms? Our fearless FHE leaders were getting their hands messy with instant vanilla and chocolate pudding while we gave our best guesses as to the identity of the amoeba-shaped blotches on the paper.

Amid cramp-inducing laughter and a little BYU FHE craziness, someone dared our noble leaders to try a pudding hair treatment. By the end of the evening we had a full-blown vanilla spike look on our leader, Dave, who was known for his calm and unassuming demeanor, and a glossy, choco-mousse bed-head look for our other leader, Lauren, who was not known for especially extreme hairdos.

The game turned into a pudding styling contest, our two contestants posing for a final photo with dribbles of chocolate and vanilla running down their faces. It was an FHE to add to the list of many we would remember for years to come.

And the pudding hair looked so good on Dave, I had to marry him.

Sleeping Man—A Cure

By Kimary Rowley Hawley (BS ’76), Provo

BYU home evening groups were a way to make friends who felt like family—sometimes a little too much. One of our family home evening brothers, who I’ll call Mark, used to come by our apartment regularly, stretch out on our sofa, and fall asleep.

I was elected to talk to Mark about this. I explained that we loved his visits, but that if he needed a nap, he should stay at his own apartment. My words were in vain.

The next time he fell asleep on our couch, I decided to put some of what I was learning in child development class to work—it seemed time for Mark to experience a negative consequence of his behavior. While Mark snoozed away, I carefully painted all his fingernails a lovely shade of pink. I said nothing to him about this when he later awoke, bade us a cheerful good-bye, and went home.

The next afternoon, Mark burst through our front room door, yelling, “Kiiiiim! Where are you? You did this to me!” When he calmed down, he laughingly explained that, while singing in his male chorus class, the student with whom he shared music had suddenly said with wide-eyed alarm, “You . . . you . . . painted your fingernails? . . . Pink?” It was only then that Mark had noticed the subtle shade gracing his fingertips. Mortified, he had immediately dropped his music, fled the classroom, and sprinted all the way from the HFAC to our apartment.

illustrationWake-Up Call

By Heather Wells McMurray (BM ’04), Fredericksburg, Va.

During my last year at BYU I had remarkable family home evening brothers. We spent a lot of time together, attending football games, watching movies, hiking, listening to general conference. They were also great to lend a listening ear when I needed it.

One spring day, as we were nearing finals, I told my FHE brothers that it was harder and harder for me to wake up for my 7 a.m. church meetings on Sunday. Between late nights studying and trying to spend time with friends before the school year ended, it felt like Sunday mornings came a little too early. My brothers assured me they would do everything they could to help me make it to my meetings. I told them I would be just fine.

That Saturday night they came to visit and opened our front-room window to let in a little fresh air. Before leaving, they closed it, but unbeknownst to my roommates and me, they left it open just a crack. Then, in the wee hours of the morning, they slipped an “alarm clock” in the open window.

Sunday morning my roommates and I awoke to the sound of crowing from our front room. Thinking my FHE brothers had found a novelty clock, I went to turn it off only to discover an actual rooster crowing at the morning sun. Needless to say, all of us were wide awake and plenty early to our Sunday meetings.

My BYU Fam

By Kathleen Lloyd Crocker (BS ’71), Sandy, Utah

BYU, 1969. Take a few girls from small-town Midvale, Utah, and mix them in with a few girls from big-town Las Vegas. Add some guys from Idaho, and you end up with our “BYU fam.” We had fun together and formed lifelong friendships. We loved doing everything together—movies in the Joseph Smith Building, church meetings, Sunday dinners, studying, motorcyle rides, racquetball, and lots and lots of laughing.

Over 40 years we have attended each other’s weddings; cried through births, joys, and heartbreaks with our children; and strengthened each other through caring for elderly parents and their funerals. We have gone on vacations and cruises together and are thrilled that all our spouses like each other too.

We are now entering new stages of our lives—becoming grandparents, temple workers, and senior couple missionaries. But through all the ups and downs, our BYU fam has been a strengthening, joyous part of each other’s experiences. When we get together, we feel the love of real sisters and brothers. Who could have known when we entered BYU so long ago that we would receive not only an excellent education but also a loving family group to last a lifetime?

Serves Him Right

By Susan Smith Montgomery (AS ’70), Aurora, Colo.

In the fall of 1967, my off-campus apartment of six girls was combined with boys from Helaman Halls for an FHE group. A few weeks later another boy was added to our family. My first impression of John was, “Wow, is he handsome,” but since I was waiting for a missionary, I wasn’t especially interested.

One night in November, I came home late to find John and my roommates discussing how he could make the girl he liked pay more attention to him. They had suggested that he ask someone else out to make her jealous. After explaining this to me, John asked me to go out with him the next weekend.

Stunned, I replied without thinking, “I’ll go out with you, but it’ll serve you right if you fall in love with me.”

It has. We were married in the Salt Lake Temple on June 6, 1969.

illustrationBugging the Sisters

By Janet Chandler Craven (BS ’76), Herriman, Utah

In one home evening group, our houseful of nine girls was assigned to a small apartment of four guys. We hit if off, and in addition to the weekly lessons and visits, a battle of small pranks on each other soon began to escalate.

They had done some prank, we had retaliated, and then, one day, I was fixing dinner for our apartment when one home evening brother (an entomology major) came to borrow a bottle of salsa. I got him the salsa, and he thanked me and was on his way. But as I continued preparing dinner, I found myself swatting at dozens of flies I hadn’t noticed before. The next week, our prankster asked if we had enjoyed his gift—a bottle of flies from the entomology lab!

It was now our turn, and my roommate had a great idea. We had a large horse chestnut tree in our front yard that was rapidly shedding its leaves. She thought we should share, so we dumped four large bags of leaves down the stairwell entryway to their apartment.

A few weeks passed, and we were getting nervous. They had dropped hints that something was coming. It was 2 a.m. and we were soundly sleeping when one of our roommates came running though the apartment, flipping on lights and yelling, “We’re being hit! We’re being hit!” We staggered out in our pajamas and curlers to see the last of three trucks pulling out and a full four feet of leaves all over our fenced-in yard. They had gone to houses all over south Provo and volunteered to rake and remove leaves, gathering around 47 bags—just for us!

We were going to come up with a great retaliation, until one of the boys asked a simple question: “Do you girls have cockroaches?”