Saturday, April 07, 2007

Lovely Deseret*: a place of precious memories demolished

DT is coming down. That's Deseret Towers, for you non-BYU-alum, the dorm complex where I spent the very memorable '93-'94 academic year as a college freshman - room 621-T. Of course there are mixed feelings to this news. Yes, it's way outdated and no doubt the class of 2007, who by the way were only 4 years old when I started at BYU, probably deserve better. It's a new era, no pun intended. But it can be a little sad to consider a place of such rich memories torn down like common buildings. It was the setting for the most pivotal year of my life, the year that set the course for my adulthood, and did a damn fine job of it. And yet, it was just the setting. The pivotal-ness was caused by - who else? - the people. Wonderful, amazing people entered my life that year. Here are just a few memories of MY "lovely deseret":

- meeting Michelle, now Younce, one of my best friends and now sister-in-law

- a mysterious midnight walk with Nate S. - I still don't know what he was feeling but it meant a lot to me to be with him as he felt it

- ah, the signature dishes of the Morris Center - lemon pepper cod and the crepe bar!

- the dances, oh how I danced that year!!! thus the origin of my nickname Xanadu, now bestowed on Hazel as her middle name

- late night face masks, frozen snicker bars and E.L. Fudge cookies with Jen

- piling at least 10 people into my sister's tiny borrowed car to go off campus for my birthday

- attending the football games regularly - I even learned the fight song

- a sad string of unrequited pursuits...

- a ridiculous but fierce rivalry with someone who still doesn't deserve to be named on my site

- Saturday morning flag football games - I had to be careful with this one - be present and participating enough to appear fun and athletic to a certain someone, but stay clear of the ball enough to disprove that appearance

- setting up my own barber shop outside the guys' hall

- lacking dates of our own, stalking friends on their dates

- a brief but intense intellectual affair with Isaac - at the end of the year I finally met my match in sarcasm and wit!

- and underlying it all, a spiritual unity and intensity, based on shared testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And a bittersweet knowledge that it would never be like that again - the guys went on missions and the girls moved off-campus and that was it, just left with our memories. Thank heaven for memories!

When my sister Maren went to BYU she lived in Budge Hall, part of Helaman Halls. I always loved that she lived in the same dorm my mom did when she was there in the 60's. I had not considered having the same kind of plans for my girls, but it does make me a little sad knowing it definitely will not happen.

I got an alumni email informing me that bricks from the demolished buildings could be picked up - for free, even! - at the Knight Mangum Building. Of course I didn't make a special trip to Provo to get one - what on earth would I do with it anyway? But it was a nice sentiment and it's funny to think of the people who did go out of their way. At least DT will always stand out in my memory, a bright turquoise beacon up that stupid hill. Does anyone even remember where the KMB is?

(* see LDS hymn #307)


Shells said...

Having spent that year in 619T myself, I can say ditto to most of your comments. I remember really becoming more of my own person and enjoying the ability to ask the questions that mattered to me to a group of girlfriends I completely trusted with my spirituality. Even though I am not great at keeping in touch with everyone, I feel a strong bond with so many from that point in my life.

Even though the end of that year brought a lot of change, I felt so much more prepared for living more independently.

Some of my memories: the huge group watching Seinfeld or the Simpsons or some other show together right before or after dinner at the Morris Center. Banana cream pie at the Morris Center. The long lines for food on Fast Sunday.

Thursday nights, when the guys could come over. Feet on the floor, doors open please. Stretching the cord as long as it could go and taking the phone out into the hallway when on a call late at night.

And another memory of that year, having all the guys ask me if Sarah Condon or Jen Price were dating anyone, so they could ask them out. Just once, it would have nice if they actually wanted to ask ME out!

Kari (Disco Mom) said...

Yes, Michelle! I forgot the banana cream pie, delish - especially on fast Sunday! And the guys asking about dating Jen Price, well I didn't include that because it's not exclusive to freshman year. We were her go-through girls for years.

Oh, another memory: registration night - dialing the number over and over and once someone on the floor got through, lining up outside her room for a turn to register for the next semester. Gosh, it really dates us - it's probably all online now!

i said...

Jeez... that's really depressing that they tore down DT. I guess that's somehow better than if they had instead renovated it into cute little suites like they've done down in Helaman Halls, you know what I mean? Better to just have it gone than mutated into something unrecognizable from what I remember.

But anyways, that was really an amazing year. If it didn't sound so depressing I'd say it was probably the best year of my life: maximum opportunity, minimum responsibility.

But it really was the people... and I'm not a people person, at all. BYU freshman year friends are among the best. I wonder if the planets aligned just right that year, or if every group of freshman feel the same way.

Specific memories:

* A large piece of cardboard on the floor of that big center-room. We used the cardboard for impromptu break-dancing competitions. AWESOME!

* Using my cousin (and roommate) Jason's diabetes as an excuse to raid the Morris Center of food at all hours to load up our room's mini-fridge. (Remember what a cool luxury renting an in-room mini-fridge seemed like?)

* Walking over to Rock Canyon to hike up the mountains a bit. What a view, and only 15 minutes from the dorms.

* The V-hall T-hall February 15th, 2004 dance, "Boy Its Cold", held in the KNIGHT MANGUM BUILDING.

* Sneaking a bag of M&Ms into International Cinema. I had my quiet bag-opening technique down and everything.

* Trying to pick some cool music to play during 'visiting hours', and then having the door only half-way open to play it cool and try to deflect the impression that we were really hoping for female visitors.

* The guys on my floor stole about 3,000 forks from the Morris Center over the course of that year. They were kept in a giant cache in Mike T.'s room. (I think the forks got returned to that conveyor Morris Center belt all at once at the end of the year.)

* Roller-blading on campus with Nick in the middle of the night to avoid the BYU police. (Man, I was such a REBEL!)

* Tons of good music came out around that year. Think of the bands that were going strong back then: Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, U2, Soundgarden, Primus, REM, etc. (And who do they have these days? Nickleback and Justin Timberlake. I think I'm gonna puke.)

* 409-V hall had a PERFECT view of the swimming pool. It feels a little skeevy to say it now, but as a 16-year-old freshman it was a pretty sweet perk.

* The night that all the guys going on missions demonstrated their maturity and readiness to serve by throwing all now-unneeded underclothing out the window onto the trees below.

Great times: they haunt me. I long for the simplicity, when my only responsibility was the occasional test.

PS - Thanks for saying I was intellectual. Five minutes ago I was watching Disney's Peter Pan with two little boys... it's nice to be remembered as someone who used to have a brain.

Kari (Disco Mom) said...

I think the stars aligned - no way every freshman class could have that much fun. I totally forgot about the "Boy It's Cold" dance - I do believe I was involved in naming it. Good times, what wonderfully good times.

At least "Peter Pan" contains some symbolism. Hazel's favorite is "Dora" and believe me, there are no deeper levels there. Of course you failed to remember that you have a PhD in engineering and work as a university professor. No intellectualism there. I change diapers, make sandwiches, do laundry (see "Quarters" post), watch cartoons and read board books. This blog is the first mental challenge I've had in a long, long time. It was the tantrum that shocked me into using my brain for problem-solving again.

Blythe said...

I wandered onto your blog from lowercase numbers.

U-620 here, but I'm older than you; it was 1988-9. I had some great memories too, but let's face it - those rooms were dated when I was there. I get the nostalgia thing, though. The last time I was there, I pointed out U-Hall to my kids. The thing is, I'm sure it meant more to me than to them. Kind of like my mom's thrill of seeing Carson's Market still there when I went in 1988 (she'd shopped there in 1960). I'm pretty sure that's gone now, though, right?

Kari (Disco Mom) said...

Welcome, Blythe - any friend of pulsipher's is a friend of mine. I'm excited to be included in his "blog posse." Sorry, can't answer you about Carson's. I was last in Provo in '99 and I lived behind Ream's, possibly the worst market in Provo, but that's where I shopped.

Anonymous said...

No, no, no... "Carson's Market" is still going strong. It's the "Creamery on 9th" now.

BYU took it over in the late 90's and remodeled it into something really nice: small grocery store, ice cream, hamburgers, etc. In fact, they've got the best burgers in Provo (and in a town with literally hundreds of places to buy a hamburger, that's saying something.)

Anonymous said...

Ummm....where do you get this idea that JP had so many dates or inquiries on her dating life? I remember many nights sitting in the dorm room ALONE replaying sad, sad songs. Sometimes, the songs themselves weren't sad, but the memories associated with the songs were sad (ie: "The Dance"--Garth Brooks, or "You're the Inspiration"--Chicago). Kari can attest to the fact that I had some pretty miserable & non-existant dating life experiences too! --"JP"

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