Darwin Street , Salt Lake City 1956-1960
My mother seemed to have a sort of pioneer or wandering spirit. She had lived in a number of different homes while she was growing up. My father had been raised in one home, a brick house in Panguitch, Utah which he only left for summers at a smaller frame house located on the ranch my grandfather owned near Red Canyon. It was my mother who was the driving force behind the various moves we made during my childhood. Visiting open houses and potential properties was one of her favorite activities.
My father seemed to go along grudgingly. Our return to Salt Lake City from Bountiful was not unreasonable. The farm my parents had moved to when I was 6 had become a part of suburbia and two lots had already been split off the front and a house built between our house and Orchard Drive. My mother scouted a number of houses in the North Salt Lake and Bountiful area, including putting down a deposit on a lot high on the hills above Mueller Park.
One day while driving to her job as a secretary to the Dean of Education at the University of Utah, she saw a house under construction on the road below that paralleled Victory Drive. It was only about a half mile from the house on 2nd West where we had lived 6 years before, but it was up the hill and in a more desirable neighborhood. When she inquired about the house she learned that it was available for purchase.
I had just finished 7th grade at South Davis Junior High when we moved. The house was set alone on an widened area on Darwin Street formed from dumping dirt and debris on the edge of a small, steep gorge formed by water running through a culvert under Victory Drive. There were two bedrooms upstairs and two bedrooms downstairs with a bathroom between each pair. The rest of the downstairs formed a roomy 'rumpus' room. My sisters shared a room upstairs near my parents and my brother and I each had a room of our own downstairs. The upstairs was on street level, but the steep hill meant the downstairs door exited several flights of stairs above the rear yard. A bank of windows in the living room gave a view of the valley to the west and the magnificent sunsets over the Great Salt Lake. When we moved in, the house was surrounded by raw earth of poor quality, but in the months and years to come my parents built a lovely yard with fruit trees, lawns and floral areas.
I had not developed the habit of correspondence and the friends that I had made in Bountiful were no longer part of my life. There were several girls my age in the Capitol Hill 2nd ward which encompassed our house. Some of them were nice and others not so nice, but the group formed a clique that walked to school and back together.
From my point of view, I had led a fairly mundane life, with only a few dates and no regular boyfriend when I lived in Bountiful. But my new friends and acquaintances used their imaginations to fill in details. Rather than the more banal reality, they thought I had been quite popular. When I tried to deny their assumptions, they thought I was being modest. Years before I attended kindergarten and the first part of first grade with some of the people I met at Horace Mann Junior High, but only one person seemed to remember me. It was Kathy Billingsley, the little girl who had been a neglected waif when I lived on 200 West. I was surprised when she remembered me, and even more surprised by her appearance. She was pretty in a clean, wholesome way, with long brown hair and a petite figure. Not long after we moved away from Salt Lake eight years before, her truck driver father had discovered the truth about his slothful wife and had taken the children under his supervision after quitting his trucking job. They had become regular Mormons instead of occasional Catholics. Her older brother was preparing to go on a mission. It was a profound lesson to me on how a family could change.
My best friend in seventh grade, Kathleen, shared an interest in art with me and there was no real replacement for her among my new group. I was enrolled in an art class that was much more challenging and informative than my 7th grade art class which had featured such activities as carving soap and painting with poster paints. In the new class we tried figure drawing. One of the boys with a well developed set of arm and torso muscles took off his shirt and posed. We learned to silk screen and do scratch work on panels of ink covered paper we had prepared ourselves. In chorus the teacher placed where strength was needed because of my vocal range. I preferred to sing soprano parts because it usually followed the melody line, but I was able to sub as an alto.
I shared a locker with a girl named Shauna. She was short with long dark hair and carefully plucked brows. Her hair was fixed in a straight fall that ended in an up curl that was so perfectly maintained that it looked almost like a dark roll of sausage glued to the ends of her hair. Like most of her friends, she spent a lot of time in front of the mirror in the girls bathroom carefully adjusting her makeup and hair. I walked into the bathroom one day while a line of them were in front of the mirror. I used the facilities, washed my hands, dried them, and glanced at myself in the mirror. As a last, and uncharacteristic gesture, I took our my comb and ran it once through my hair, then turned away to leave. Shauna began to titter. "Can you believe her?" she finally asked the other girls. "She thinks that's all it takes. No wonder she looks so messy."
Although we attended some parties and walked to and from school with each other, I felt distanced from most of the girls in my ward. I didn't share their concerns and enthusiasms. My social studies teacher discovered that I was reading a Heinlein science fiction novel tucked into my social studies text while still managing to contribute to the discussion and getting good grades on tests. He suggested that I should be double-promoted, or skipped into ninth grade from eighth grade midway through the school year.
I was 'skipped' but mothers of the neighborhood girls my age felt the need to approach the school about another girl they thought a more likely candidate for the 'honor'. Anita Jensen was the oldest child and only daughter of a family of intellectuals. She had never been comfortable with the other girls our age and I hadn't known her well. That changed when we were both 'skipped'. I can remember several pleasant discussions with her. She was bright, but I felt that she had more 'brains' than common sense. Not that she was dithery or silly, but she was somewhat 'Ivory Tower'.
I was not particularly interested in popular music. I had no idea of the craze for Elvis Presley that affected many of my peers until I attended a bridal shower for one of my cousins. She was only a couple of years older than me, but she was getting married. Most the those attending the shower were our mothers and aunts. After the dessert was served the older women started catching up on family gossip. My cousin grabbed my hand and urged me to go for a walk with her. She was a big Presley fan and she was surprised that I hadn't bothered to watch him on the Ed Sullivan show. She seemed a lot more enthusiastic about Elvis than her prospective husband who she seemed to dismiss. We walked through Sugarhouse and stopped for a soft drink at a Dairy Queen. I felt that I was visiting another world. When I went back to school I noticed that Elvis Presley was generally accepted as the ideal male and girls would gush over his records. I never felt more like an outsider looking in at a strange world.
Capitol Hill Second Ward met in a rock chapel near the state capitol building. The ward had a deep tradition of putting on excellent shows and plays. Mabel Wilcox, a cozy, rather nondescript little woman who had been a hairdresser was the moving force behind the effort. She knew everything about stagecraft from direction and acting to sets and costumes. I became her understudy. I learned a lot from her about planning and presenting dramas and musicals, including publicity and keeping production costs low without sacrificing quality from the audience perspective. I participated in the various productions in the ward and stake both as an actor and production assistant, with the latter role increasing as the years went by.
I did not sign up for art class in high school because my mother maintained it would be a waste of time. She assured me that in the years that she had served as a substitute teacher at West High she hadn't had a high opinion of the level of instruction in materials and techniques. On the other hand I was frequently asked to help with posters and decorations. Perhaps because I had helped Mabel Wilcox with sets and costumes, she referred me to people who wanted decorations for ward parties and other events. For one dinner I made a series of large paintings with poster paint on sheets of paper that were at least 4 feet wide and eight feet long. I painted characters from the end of the nineteenth century with men in bowlers and handlebar moustaches. I assumed the paintings had been taken down and thrown away, but a couple of years later I attended another event and saw the paintings hanging on the wall. The MC gave credit for the paintings to a woman in the group, but before I could summon nerve to protest, she corrected him. She had taken down the paintings after the previous use and stored them away. One evening I decorated for a dance that was held in the recreation hall of the Nineteenth Ward. After finishing the decorations I went home. My mother told my brother he should take me back to the dance and dance with me if nobody else volunteered. I reluctantly returned to the dance. A young man recently immigrated from Germany decided that I was just what he was looking for and he danced every dance with me. Unfortunately I had given him the impression that I spoke German when he first approached me by answering his offered hand with 'ya', in an accent perfected by listening to my friend Ursula talking to her parents. He spoke and spoke and spoke, and now and then to his expectant glance I uttered 'ya'. Finally he grinned and started leading me toward the exit door. "Nein, Nein," I said, then pulled my hand away and hurried away to hide. He looked for me for a while before giving up and leaving the dance. Meanwhile my brother danced with various girls. When we got home later that evening my mother asked him if he had danced with me. "I couldn't get near enough to ask her. She spent most of the night dancing with some guy from Europe," he replied.
When I entered West High as a tenth grade student, my brother Mike, had already earned a reputation for acting and debate. He was a star or featured player in the drama productions at the school.. Mike had played football at Bountiful High, but at West he was the complete intellectual. He was a junior when I was a sophomore and that year he heard that some of his classmates had been invited to take the PSAT as a preparation to enter Merit Scholarship program. He went down to the counseling center and asked to be put on the list to take the test. The advisor tried to discourage him, telling him the test was meant for students who were college bound. Of course, with a mother who was deeply immersed in the University world, we all had an assumption that somehow or other we would go to college. My father was a blue-collar worker, but many of his sisters and both of his brothers had graduated from college. He had attended the USU for a brief time himself and was interested in ideas. Eventually my brother took the PSAT and honored as one of the state's first group of Merit Scholar Finalists. He was also part of the group of aspiring 'beatniks' who met at the cellar coffee house called 'The Abyss'. I tried out for the plays, but the one time I was considered for a part, it turned out that my brother was given the part of playing my romantic opposite and I lost my chance. Although the 'popular' kids seemed to belong to Acapella Choir and Pep Club, I belonged to Debate Club and Drama Club.
Some of my teachers were excellent. I particularly remember my chemistry teacher and one of my math teachers. My English teachers varied widely in quality. One was an elderly dragon. She wore her hair in a style that was popular twenty years previously, pulled back into a bun with waves on either side of a center part. Her hair would start out brick red every several months, and then the part would widen as the red faded. After a couple of months she had an inch wide stripe down the center of her head and the rest of the hair was orange. As she lectured she repeatedly buttoned and unbuttoned the three top buttons on her blouse or dress. These were the things that amused her students, but if she had been a good teacher we would have looked on them as loveable foibles. She was knowledgeable, but if she had ever been a warm and engaging teacher, that time had long since passed. She was never married and we had no insight into her personal life. She treated us all as miscreants and fools and graded so harshly that few expected any good grades from her.
Another maiden lady taught my typing class. A childhood accident which had nearly severed three fingers on my left hand made typing difficult for me at first. I tried very hard to keep up the pace she expected, but although in years to come I would become an excellent typist, I began with a real handicap. She seemed to attribute my lack of typing accuracy and speed to stupidity and like some other teachers I have known, she was not shy about singling out students for public criticism and shame. She was my home room teacher for half of the year. I had taken the Iowa Test along with other sophomores and when the results came in she publicly announced everyone's score. She opened the test envelopes and read the percentile scores in alphabetical order, making clear that she was ranking the class according to the results. The highest percentage as she read through the G's and started on the H's had been in the low eightieth percentile and she made quite a fuss about the recipient, one of her favorite students. When she picked up my envelope and read my name, she paused and looked at me over her glasses with a smirk.
Then she opened the envelope and the smirk was wiped away. "Ninety-sixth percentile?" she was clearly shocked. She even turned the result page upside down, but that made my name unintelligible but the score remained the same. "Well, congratulations, I certainly didn't expect this," she finally said. Of course this only meant that she graded my efforts more harshly. She thought greater intelligence should equate with better typing skills. I tried to meet her expectations, but my grade never rose above a C in her class.
The girls from my ward asked me to not audition for a-capella choir because they thought it was between me and one of their friends. The choir defined those who were popular in the school. Not all members of the choir were among the elite in the school, but all the student body officers and key athletes were members of the choir. I was amused and offended, but I had already accepted that I was not one of the in crowd. I didn't audition for choir. I was never contacted about joiningSeminary which was held in a separate building near the school. Although I was an active member of my ward and attended all of the meetings available for my age group, even teaching the youngest children in Sunday School, my father was inactive and my mother was only partially active in church. This was probably behind the oversight. Although I didn't consider myself a member of the in crowd, I wasn't anonymous. People I didn't know seemed to know who I was.
I was opening my locker one day when a friend of mine who was standing next to me suddenly started following a group of girls who had passed us. She returned with an angry face. "Those girls were talking about you. When I heard your name I followed them. They said a lot of mean things. What do you want to do about it?"
I was bemused, and faintly complimented. "I have no idea who any of them are," I told my friend. "I'm surprised they would take up any of their time to talk about me. Do you think the things they were saying were true?"
She shook her head. "They said you are stuck up and think you are something special."
The truth is, I have always thought I'm something special, but I think everyone is special. From my early childhood I believed the teaching that I am a child of God. This doesn't mean I'm better than anyone else, but I am an individual with value. I credit my father with this feeling that I have. He treated me like a real person and was willing to listen to me when I gave an opinion rather than laughing and dismissing my early speculations on existence. When I was about six years old we were driving somewhere together, just the two of us. I told him I had the idea that the solar system might be like an atom, where particles circle a central hub. He didn't treat my idea with amusement, he just nodded and said he found it interesting. On the accusation that I am stuck-up, I really didn't think that it could be justly applied to me.
The group of girls who walked to school with me were an assortment that sometimes varied, but their similarity was in their difference. Ruth was big. I was nearly 5'10" but she seemed taller. She was also close to 300 pounds in weight, but not a weakly pudding. With her flaming red hair cut short and ruddy face, she seemed formidable. Janice was oriental, Juanita a flirt with few other female friends than the few of us who walked to school with her. Ursula was an immigrant from Germany. Her father didn't want her to wear makeup and she would wait until she was out of her house before she put on lipstick.
One day an anonymous note was put in my locker. I was threatened that next time I came to school I would be attacked with razor blades. I showed my friends who walked to school with me the note and for several months they made sure that I was not alone when I came and went from school. I was a pretty girl, blonde and blue eyed with a nice smile, good teeth and an hour glass figure. There were gangs at the school, and now and then one of the fellows would make a gesture of appreciation towards me and say something that might have inflamed a girlfriend. I doubt that the threat was meant in earnest, but I took comfort in being accompanied to and from school by large Ruth and resolute Ursula, both well over normal size.
At school I mostly spent free time with any of a number of people who shared my interests in drama, science or debate. I made friends among some of my classmates who invited me home now and then, but most of our time together was spent between classes and briefly after school. My debate partner, Lynneve was a particular friend. We spent many hours doing research together at the library, and when we wanted to study together out of school, it was inevitably at her home.
To my mother, I apparently had few friends. She felt that she had worked and sacrificed to make a lovely home where her children would enjoy inviting their friends. She felt I was unpopular because I didn't have a lot of friends coming home with me. In truth, I like to preserve a core of solitude where I can think and be unencumbered with the need to entertain and cater to others. Even now I like being alone in my car, even though I equally enjoy spending time with family and friends.
I competed against a nemesis from years before at several of the debate meets I attended. He didn't recognize me, probably because he had moved away from the neighborhood in Bountiful not long after second grade. I was a very good debater and now a year ahead of him in school. Jimmy Clark who had caused me a lot of pain in second grade was easily recognized. He had grown in the years between his second and his eleventh year in school but his face and hair were remarkably unchanged. He couldn't have known how I relished my victory when we won our debate against his team.
In the summer of my sixteenth year I spent several weeks with my mother's friend in Kennewick, Washington. Her oldest son was majoring in dance at the BYU and her oldest daughter was my age. There were two other children, a boy and a girl. The trip had not been planned, but came up somewhat spontaneously during their visit to Utah. I packed a few things in a small suitcase and joined them on the return trip to Washington state. Marion White was a woman of vision, always seeking some way to 'make it big'. Her husband worked as an engineer at the nuclear facility in Hanford. Marion was in the midst of a scheme to improve the family fortune by building an apartment complex. Military barracks were available for very little money. Marion purchased several of them and had them floated by barge on the Columbia River to a location near her property. Once there, they were assembled end to end in a U shape. Marion and her family remodeled the barracks into apartments, renting them out as they proceeded down the line. By the time I visited them most of the barracks had been converted. The family lived in a converted barracks building at the end of the U. It had been made into a comfortable home, if somewhat narrow and long.
Julie, the daughter who was my age was not in favor of my visit. She did everything she could to ignore me. One day her mother took the two of us over to the home of Julie's friend. The girl was very welcoming and we had a good time together, much to Julie's evident dismay. I heard her arguing with her mother afterwards and from that time on she was allowed to go her own way. Her mother more than made up for it by including me in her own activities whenever shecould. I also enjoyed hanging out with Frank, the older brother, and his friend. I particularly remember a night when the four of us, Julie somewhat reluctantly going along, drove into the country side and found a pool where a culvert discharged a waterfall into a wide pool. We had a lot of fun playing in the moon-silvered pool then walking back to the car through the warm desert sand.
We drove to the Portland area and attended an international exhibition. I thought the forests along the western portion of the Columbia River were the loveliest landscape I had ever seen. After a few weeks I took a bus back to Salt Lake.
I still enjoyed spending a few minutes now and then strumming my guitar and humming along. My mother decided to enroll me in lessons when she found that there was a class at the university that was held a couple of times a week. She enrolled me and agreed to drive me to the campus. I was instructed to take the bus home after class. I did so the first week. The class was fun and instructive. I soon learned some chords and began to play in earnest. One evening the instructor noticed that I was waiting at the bus stop. He offered me a ride. I was grateful for the offer since the hour was growing late and the campus was becoming deserted. I was conscious of the dangers of being alone, encumbered by a guitar case. We had a pleasant visit as he drove me across town and dropped me off at home. When I entered the house my mother was surprised at how early I had returned. I told her the teacher had given me a ride. She gave me a lecture on accepting rides from men and canceled the class. A few months later I couldn't find my guitar, but I assumed I had left it in a closet somewhere and eventually I would find it.
Meanwhile I had a new interest. A Hungarian who had left Budapest during the brief uprising in 1956 had met my mother a the university. He offered to teach us how to ski. I wore long underwear borrowed from my father under jeans and rented or borrowed skis. I didn't have enough money to ride the chair lifts, so I limited myself to the rope tow, but even so, I loved the combination of crisp air, sunshine, and gliding through the pines as if on wings. My ski buddy was the wife of my mother's employer, Iva Orton. We would often go alone together. She wore real ski clothing, I continued wearing my borrowed long underwear and she often loaned me skis from members of her family who weren't interested in skiing. I looked forward to getting my own skis and ski clothing and made a number of explicit hints about my preference in Christmas gifts.
My mother's sister visited from Tennessee with her husband and sons that Christmas. I came into the living room early and looked around, searching for my skis. Instead I saw a box that was painted metallic grey with a long box next to it. It looked like an ugly radio. As the other family members gathered I kept looking for my skis. Finally someone read the label on the silver box. "It's for you Patty," my cousin said.
I was puzzled as I opened the long box and found a silver gray electric guitar. "I traded in your old guitar and got this so you can play rock and roll and be popular" my mother said. I was bitterly disappointed. My guitar had been one of my treasures. This ugly electrical monstrosity held no interest for me.
"I wanted skis," I said. "I told you I wanted skis, and I want my guitar."
My mother refused to discuss the situation. Soon after Christmas she returned the electric guitar and got her money back. My lovely acoustic guitar was gone and I was still wearing borrowed long underwear when I went with Iva up to Brighton where we skiied. That was the Christmas I remember with a grimace of bewilderment. I have rarely skied since that winter. But while I did, it was a lovely experience.
My brother, Mike, graduated from high school and started to attend the University of Utah. Because of his Merit Finalist standing he had been accepted to Harvard, but the admissions officer had warned my parents that their income meant he would have to work and would hardly ever be able to come back to Utah during breaks. My mother convinced him to attend the local university instead. Even there and with the aid of a scholarship, he had to work. He worked as a cook at a donut shop near the campus and continued with a rather rowdy group of friends.
One evening near Christmas my mother had a get together at our home with the people she worked with. I had attended a dance party put on by the people who conducted a social dancing class in which my mother had enrolled me, hoping to improve my social skills. I was wearing a dress purchased by my mother, an olive green wool with a small figure woven in. I arrived home as the party was winding down and my mother introduced me to several of her guests. One of the professors started to talk to me. It was soon evident he thought I was at least a college student. He turned to my brother and said: "I've enjoyed talking to your older sister." My brother quickly put him straight and told him I was not yet sixteen.
One day my brother and his friends all got a little drunk and one of them suggested it would be a great idea to sign up with the Marines and find adventure overseas. The next day when he told my parents he had been accepted to the Corps. My mother really become upset and cried. She wondered how he could have done such a thing.
Mike returned her anger as he told her he had not been drunk enough to go along with his friends, but he had always been told by our mother that he had heart disease and therefore his health was fragile. He had expected to be turned down. Ironically, he was the only one of the group of foolish boys who was accepted. Not long afterward he left for Basic Training. He became a cook on a helicopter carrier and visited ports of call in the Pacific. He stayed in the marines for the next five years.
I didn't date very often. Sometimes my friend Juanita would arrange a 'blind' date for me when she had to find someone to fulfill her parent's requirement that she only go on double dates. Some of the young men were nice enough, and several were really attractive. A number of them wanted to date me after the initial date, but I was careful not to give out my address and phone number. Although I relented now and then and dated several of them, the relationships soon ended. I needed someone who was willing to engage in an exchange of ideas, and the boys Juanita introduced to me were not intellectuals. I could easily maintain the guise of teenage giddiness through a date or two, but not much longer. I had a few dates with a boy I met through debate meets. He was nice, but not particularly exciting. I would rather spend the evening with a good book than try to maintain a relationship with someone who was not really appealing.
Over several years as a young woman attending the Capitol Hill 2nd Ward I had been active in the Young Woman's Program. The teachers were generally excellent and very appealing. One of them had been a model and broadcaster before her marriage, sometime in her late twenties. She helped us realize that waiting for a quality partner was not a mark of being unattractive. My favorite teacher was a mother of ten children named Anne Nebeker. Her husband was a successful lawyer but the family continued to live in the somewhat cramped quarters of her husband's childhood home next to the church. They had a 'cabin' in the mountains above the Alta ski resort. The family would ski into their cabin in the winter. One summer she invited all of the girls in her class up to the cabin. We rode in an old military ambulance, the only vehicle with the height to drive over the rutted trails leading to the cabin. I was surprised to see a roomy modern house of pale green brick. Although there were no electricity lines, propane heated and provided light to the building. We settled in for the night in various bedrooms after a snack of fresh fried scones and hot chocolate.
Sometime during the night my room mates claimed they heard me get up and go to the window. I howled into the night, like some wild animal replying to a mate. I couldn't dispute what they said, although it made the hair rise on my arms. I had a vague memory of going to the window and hearing something calling to me and I replied. I did not know that I had howled like something wild. The next day we hiked up to one of the glacial lakes above the cabin. I head a couple of girls who were following me as they discussed me. I guess they didn't know that I could hear everything they said.
"Pat's got a great figure. If she lost fifteen pounds, she'd be perfect." I was gratified and amused. I had heard the same assessment before and would hear it again. One of the girls in our high school class went on to become the first runner up to Miss America. She had been groomed for beauty contests from her early childhood. I appreciated the effort it took to be a professional beauty and didn't care to take that route. When we completed our hike up to the lake many of the girls shucked their clothing and dived into the cool water. My teacher was a bit bemused, but she didn't object. After all, we were in a perfectly private place, or so it seemed. I had brought along a sketch book and I parked myself on a hill that gave a view of the surrounding mountains. Another girl simply refused to join her friends in the buff. She was wearing a modest black bathing suit and they accused her of wearing falsies and being afraid to show her true dimensions by taking off her clothing. When they invited me to join them I lifted my sketch book and showed them I was busy. They left me alone and returned to harassing the other girl. Just then I heard some voices and someone whistled. I hurried down the slope and warned the other girls that their privacy was compromised. I helped them get their towels and make an exit from the lake. We never caught sight of the intruders, but instead of being targeted with accusations of a prude, I was credited with being a look-out who had kept them from being discovered.
When I was in my Junior Year I began to date Gary, one of the other debaters. I had a crush on his debate partner for some time, but although I had invited him to a girl's choice dance, that was the only date we had. On the other hand, Gary and I had a lot in common. We were both active in the LDS church. Our first date had been to a regional seminary meeting where he had been invited to speak. He was intelligent and interesting. We had a lot of physical attraction for each other and only our shared morality kept us from crossing boundaries. On one of our dates we attended a dance held at the Capitol Building. It was a formal dance and I felt a strong sense of romance. I was beautifully dressed, accompanied by someone whom I loved and dancing in the elegance of the marble pillared, high domed rotunda of the capitol with hundreds of other young people. When summer came we had a few dates, but Gary was helping his brother build their parents a home and didn't have much time.
Then Gary stopped calling and in those days a girl was not supposed to call boys. When I talked to my debate partner and friend Lynneve, I learned that he had begun dating her. At a debate party held to get us all together to make plans for the coming school year, he took me aside and confided to me that I was too much for him. He told me he had a dream one night. He found himself walking in a hall where pedestals held books. One of the pedestals held the book that represented me. He tried to reach it and read it. He couldn't. Finally he turned away and found a book that was more accessible. It represented Lynneve. He held my hand and told me he would always have a special place for me within his heart. In the summer after we had graduated from high school I got a call from him. He picked me up and drove me to a park. He didn't want to talk, he just wanted to hug and kiss me. It felt really strange. He seemed somewhat distraught. Several years later when I was married and had a darling baby girl I called Lynneve who was now married to Gary. I never resented her for dating him, even though she had tried to apologize. It was his choice. I was dressed in nice clothing and was driving my husband's relatively new Thunderbird when I drove over to the apartment where Lynneve and Gary lived. Lynneve and I visited for a couple of hours. Then I said I had better leave, but she urged me to stay a little longer and see Gary who would soon be coming home. I tried to excuse myself, but Gary arrived home a little earlier than Lynneve expected him. When he entered the house and saw me he stood still and stared, then he ordered me to take my child and leave his house. Lynneve was puzzled and perturbed. This wasn't how she expected him to treat an old friend and guest. I believe he had come to blame me for his lapse in fidelity that summer several years before when he had let his yearning for me overcome his conscience. I believe I was foolish to accept his invitation to join him at the park. I should have questioned him about Lynneve, but I was hoping it was the new beginning of a relationship that I had sorely missed.
By the time I was in my senior year I had been elected as the Drama Club President, I had been won an important essay contest and was selected as a Merit Finalist on the basis of my scores on the PSAT. The newly inaugurated 'space race' had created pressure for 'gifted' students to pursue education in science and mathematics. I made acquaintance of Merit Finalists from other schools at a meeting held to inform us about scholarships and encourage us to enter science and mathematics programs. One girl from East High was a good friend for several months, but our differences overcame our similarities. I am Mormon, she was not. She enjoyed playing bridge and getting drunk. I attended one of her parties, but left bemused. Drunken behavior didn't appeal to me, either as a participant or an observer.
I sent applications to several universities, but I had only had one year of French and now I found that many schools I favored required at least two years of foreign language. I received positive replies from two liberal arts colleges, Reed in Oregon and Antioch in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Both were highly selective schools with an ultra liberal tone to faculty and offerings. I chose to formally apply to Antioch and I was granted admission with a caveat. Just as when my brother applied to Harvard, my parents were told that if I attended school at Antioch, even with the scholarship and employment I was offered, I would likely hardly ever be able to visit home. My mother refused to sign the parental permission required to complete the acceptance process for a minor and prevailed on my father to refuse his signature as well.
The time for applying for a scholarship to one of the local universities had passed by the time the decision was reached. I was accepted at the University of Utah but a test administered that summer led to my being excused from certain basic classes that were required of other freshmen. I enjoyed some of my classes, particularly a course in ancient history. My mother insisted that I enroll in the college of education, and because I had often followed the path of least resistance in my dealings with her, I reluctantly agreed. That was how I found myself listening to the orientation lessons presented by that college and discovered that they were far more invested in teaching us about joining the educators' union than explaining the process of becoming a teacher. I had an opportunity to see what other colleges were teaching their initiates. I had a job with the Audio-Visual department and one of my duties was showing films and slide shows to various orientation classes. They presented a real contrast to my education lectures. I started skipping education lectures if I had a chance to show a film or slide to other colleges. I learned a lot, and earned an incomplete in education orientation.
In a class in introductory philosophy I was singled out for praise and notice by the instructor. We sometimes walked from class together as we continued the train of a discussion. It soon became evident that he felt the class gave him a platform for ridiculing and dismissing the teachings of the Church I loved. Common sense warned me against openly disputing with him, but my disquiet grew. Finally we came to the final exam. When I read the questions and prepared to answer them in the blue book, I could see that they had been crafted to repudiate my closest held beliefs. After answering the questions as the teacher had intended, I made an appendix to the test in the pages of the blue book. Essentially I said I realized the object of the test and I bore my testimony that the Gospel was true and nothing he had taught displaced my trust. I wondered how he would receive my comment. I had been headed for an A. He gave me an E.
A friend of mine had been one of my YWMIA teachers and we stayed friends after her marriage. Her new husband had been converted to the Church in adulthood in Saginaw, Michigan. He knew some young men who attended the Y from his home town and invited them to his home on weekends. My friend invited me to meet them and I soon began 'dating' Fred. He was a super sized charmer. We enjoyed each other's company and he came up to Salt Lake almost every weekend and we dated. We saw "North to Alaska" and wandered through Temple Square one evening.
My mother had attended BYU and for that reason alone I had a prejudice against the school, enhanced by attending the U which has long been a bitter rival of the Provo school. My first quarter at the U had been unhappy. The only things I had truly enjoyed had been the ancient history class and my duties with the AV department. The fact that my recently acquired boyfriend attended the Y made me more friendly to the idea of going there.
My mother drove me to Provo one afternoon and I visited the admissions office. My grades from the U were poor, but the official in the admissions office was charmed by my mother into giving me an admissions test. My mother left to visit relatives while I worked on the test. After I completed it, I waited a few minutes while the secretary scored it. Not long afterward the official called me into his office. He held the scored sheet in his hands and shook his head. "I'm sorry, it seems that you just aren't college material. You scored straight 66 percentile on all areas except for one in which you managed to get an 86."
"You are holding the sheet upside down," I told him. He looked surprised that I would doubt what he had said, but then he realized that my name was printed upside down, as were all the other words. He turned the paper around, studied it a moment and shook his head. "Straight 99 except for a 98 in math, that's impressive." When my mother returned to pick me up, she was able to sign the papers that accepted my admission to the BYU. It was time for me to leave Salt Lake and Darwin Street.