by Kari Diane Pike
Betsy Love has the best name ever! I think her “Love” story is charming. Reading the blog she posted, and the fact that today is Valentine’s Day, made me pause and reflect on my own love story. I hope you don’t mind me sharing.
I never intended to go to BYU. I attended a fireside conducted by Dalin Oaks during which he encouraged the students in Arizona to attend schools other than BYU so that we could be a light all over the world. In fact, I had a full ride scholarship to ASU and my Dad had purchased a car for me to drive so that I could live at home and commute to Tempe. At the last minute, however, I felt prompted to at least send an application to BYU. Three months later, and two weeks after my 18th birthday, I found myself waving a tearful goodbye from the steps of Helaman Halls as I watched my Dad drive away and head back home to Arizona.
My roommate, Lisa, was adorable and that first week of school, we had a great time getting to know each other and introducing each other to our friends. Our Branch regularly met in one of the science buildings, but on that first Sunday, the Branch president asked for all those with cars to help everyone get over to the hill behind the Provo Temple for Sacrament meeting. The returned missionary who had just taught our Sunday school class offered my roommate and me a ride. He sat next to us during the service and couldn’t have been more kind to a couple of silly freshman girls. Later in the week, we found ourselves getting a ride from this same young man and some of his room mates to the Welfare Farm for a Branch service project. The next Sunday, Lisa and I decided to make cookies as a token of our appreciation. Just as we were about to leave the dorms to deliver the cookies, the Sunday school teacher called and asked me to go on a date.
“Great! Now what are we going to do?” I asked Lisa. “Doug is going to think I made these cookies just because he asked me out.”
“No he won’t! Look, we wrote a note saying it was for him and all his roomies. He’ll know it’s a thank you for the rides.”
I remember two things from that first date. I wore creamed colored gauchos that did not go well with the mint ice cream I dripped on them and Doug Pike was the most interesting person I had ever met.
A few days after our date, I was leaving my chemistry class when I heard someone yell out my name. I turned around and there was Doug. He was coming out of a physics class just across the hall. We walked out the building together and sat and chatted for a bit before going our separate ways. I found myself looking for him each day after that and he asked me out again…and again…and again. I became concerned when I realized that not only did I really like this guy, but since that first date, not one other person had asked me out. I started doing some serious praying, telling Heavenly Father that if he didn’t want me to spend the rest of my life with this guy, he needed to get me another date, and quick!
In the mean time, Doug was struggling with his own feelings. At 23, he was one of the youngest guys in his apartment. He and his roommates and moved from the south side of campus where they had dated everyone already, to the north end of campus, into an apartment complex that had the reputation of marrying off at least 50% of the branch every year. These returned missionaries were eager to find their eternal companions. Imagine their shock and dismay when they discovered that one floor of their apartments had been commandeered by a freshman branch because of a need for priesthood and leadership skills! They complained to the branch president, but he pleaded with them to hang in there for at least one semester. He asked them to do their best to fellowship and help the younger students adjust to college life. I think Doug was one of the biggest protestors.
Another issue Doug had was the fact that he was 23 and I was only 18. I remember the surprised look on his face the day I told him about the summer I turned 17 and spent 8 weeks in France and the young man there that asked me to marry him. Our relationship seemed to take on a more serious tone after that. Even then, I had no idea how serious Doug felt. His proposal came as a huge surprise. I know it doesn’t sound very romantic to be proposed to in the parking lot outside the Marriot Center, but it was. Obviously, I said “Yes.” I still do.
We decided to get married at the end of the following semester. The day finals ended, we packed up Doug’s parents’ Suburban with suitcases, the photographer and his girlfriend, Doug’s sister, and 2 of the bridesmaids. It was Thursday, April 20th and love was in the air! Just outside Panguitch, Utah, the car started overheating. We limped into town only to learn that the radiator had cracked and it couldn’t be fixed until noon the next day. We felt stressed, but our parents assured us it would be okay. The only thing we had to do on Friday was get our marriage license, and we could do that in Page if we had to. Friday morning dawned cold and snowy! In April! But we laughed and took a walk and got hot chocolate. At noon, Doug walked over to the repair shop. The men there teased him about getting married.
“You don’t really want to get married, do you? Besides, the mechanic here is also the Fire Chief and we had the first fire we’ve had in twenty years. Your car isn’t fixed yet. It won’t be ready until three.” Panic started to set in. Three o’clock would barely give us enough time to drive to Page and get to the courthouse to get out license. Things were just a little too close!
True to their word, the car was ready by three and we were on our way again. We made good time as the roads and cleared and dried by the time we got on the road. I figured perhaps the Lord was trying to keep safe and had delayed our departure for that reason. We were just approaching the final grade into Page when the Suburban started jerking. The engine slowly lost power until we could only drive at the snail’s pace of 20 – 30 miles per hour. We chugged and coughed our way into a gas station and 5:05 pm on Friday, April 21st. The dam burst and the tears flowed. Now we would not be able to get married. We didn’t have a license and how were we ever going to let everyone know? I called my parents to let them know the news. They had news for me, instead. A member of the ward was a Superior Court judge. He made arrangements for one of the clerks to take the paperwork to her home. Whenever we arrived, she would be waiting for us! Then the mechanic came out to give us his news. We had a clogged fuel filter. It would take ten minutes to change it and then we could be on our way. Things were looking up!
At 10:30 pm that night, Doug and I, accompanied by my parents, obtained our wedding license so that we could be sealed for eternity in the House of the Lord.
April 22nd will be the 30th anniversary of our love story. I think it is a happy love story and I am grateful it never has to end.
BTW...Doug's sister told me he was very touched by my gesture of making cookies for him because he asked me out. He thought it was sweet!!!