Dating in college
I had not dated anybody seriously for any extended period of time throughout my college career. There was Margie, the nurse from England whose father sold fallout shelters, and whose best friend Vickie became Geno’s wife. Margie and I drifted apart after that. She had the heart of a hippie. She was creative, smart, and loved to play just outside the rules. As iconoclasts we were kindred spirits in that highly structured Utah environment and had tons of fun together. But in truth we were mostly playthings to one another. Margie married Sid and had three or four kids before the hippie part of her personality overtook her. One day she simply left her family and moved to a commune.
My next girlfriend was Kathy, a blonde, blue-eyed girl from Orem who had a 1956 Rambler. We dated for a while but were really more buddies than lovers. She lived with her parents and I spent lots of time at her house. She fed me during our study dates and later when she worked at the movie theater snack bar. I was barely 18, away from home, and I suspect part of the relationship was my seeking family. Kathy fed me, humored me, and when I was stuck in the middle of Utah after my car breakdown venture to Southern California, it was she and her father who drove down to get me and bring me back to Provo. Margie might have provided the adventure in my life but Kathy was the girl next door.
The rest of my dates were one-nighters or short term. It was the culture on the BYU campus to identify a mate for time and all eternity. Stories were legion of young men, returned from church missions, who carried an engagement ring in their back pocket in order to become engaged on their first date. Many did so. The church encouraged marriage within a year of returning from a mission so one would not become worldly. I just didn’t see myself as part of that system. First, I was not a returned missionary and second, marriage was the furthest thing from my mind. Perhaps it was partly rebellion of the system. I’ve always had a very difficult time with authority – still do. The more conservative, the more rules oriented the circumstance, the more I rebel. I even took part in what must have been BYU’s only student protest one year when Christmas holiday vacation started late – just a few days before Christmas Eve. I protested that there was not time for students to get home safely. We actually marched on the dining commons, but nothing ever became of the protest. Still, it fulfilled that part of my psyche that loves to tweak the nose of the establishment.
As part of convincing myself that I was still an individual on what I sometimes considered to be a campus of sheep, I listened to radio music that was a bit edgy at the time. One such station was a jazz station that took call-in requests late at night. During my senior year I became friends with the host of the show named John and often hung out at the station, taking calls from mostly women who requested particular songs late at night. John would whisper into the mike when he talked and in those days that was not only considered very sexy, but right on the edge of announcing oneself as a bad boy.
We would often talk to the female callers as the music played and one caller, a regular started to call whenever she knew I was at the station. I asked her out and we started to date. She was also a senior at BYU and although her family had crossed the plains with Brigham Young, she was anything but a typical BYU coed. She did not have the avant-garde quality of Margie nor the girl-next-door mien of Kathy but she did have blonde hair and blue eyes. At the time of our conversations she was dating a Persian student at BYU who was pressuring her to marry him and settle in the Middle East. I would help her end the relationship and almost by default she would eventually become my first wife.