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BYU- 1960-Amanda Knight Ladies
Preface to Amanda Knight Ladies
Set your sights on a church school, expect some quiet, reverent girls to room with, and ...surprise..... you suddenly are thrust into a microcosm of young women trying to make their way through the emotional trauma of finding themselves.
The ladies of Amanda Knight Hall were definitely an array of personalities trying to find their niche.
Dorm Mother,Mrs. Baliey, often chanted "Amanda Knight Ladies wear heels and hose." Imagine trying to walk around campus and climbing the stairs up to campus from Amanda Knight while wearing heels. Ridiculous. Just as ridiculous were the ideas that all the women in the dorm could be pushed into a mold. No one could fit into a mold.-Even if they tried.
Chapter 1, Connie
When I was a kid we always had mustard on our hamburgers.. That was the only condiment we used and we loved our burgers that way. Dad would get out his bag of charcoal and barbeque quite frequently.
When I discovered the tomato-ey delight of burgers with catsup, I was in my late teens. Attending college in a small town, I discovered Suttons cafe. They had dreamily wonderful hamburgers--with catsup.
This particular day , I had persuaded my room mate , Connie, to go with me to Suttons. She had just dissolved a relationship with a young man. I thought it would be good for her to get out .
We walked the several blocks to the small downtown area. We managed to not speak of John, her ex boy friend. I was thinking she was well rid of him. At Suttons we settled in a booth and ordered our hamburgers with a coke.
I enjoyed being out with Connie, as I had not seen much of her since she had started going with John. I adored Connie. She was fun and she was prone to burst out in loud laughter at any place, any time. She came from an aristocratic family back east. She had told me about how she had been presented at a debutante ball, and how much she hated it. She was something of a rebel from high society. She wore her hair straight even though beehives were coming into fashion. Her strawberry blond hair was cut just above her shoulders. She had lovely clothes in in a trunk in the dorm basement, but she always wore dark pleated skirts, cotton blouses, and knee length socks. She often wore an extra large "Duke" sweatshirt. When her parents had found out about John they loudly protested , blamed the University, and threatened to sue.
Out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of John coming into Suttons. He sat at a booth not far from us. Connie saw him, too, and smiled a bit. She ignored him, though, keeping her eyes down. Then John approached our table. He sat down next to Connie .
Our burgers came and I saw , with dismay, that Connie was no longer interested in eating. I took a bite of mine, but did not enjoy it as much as I expected. I watched and listened as John made his pitch to Connie. He told her she should come away with him, right now . They should forget the protestations of her parents and just run away together. I was waiting for Connie to scoff at him but I was disappointed on that count. She just looked at him with that little smile on her face.
Then, John pulled off the coup de grace, by taking a
ring case out of his pocket. He showed Connie a set of his
and hers rings. To me they were the most gaudy things I
had ever seen. They were wide bands of sculptured gold with wedges going around horizontally.
"Connie," John said, "There is nothing standing in the
way of the two of us getting into that warm bed at my apt."
This was not what I expected. Nor was Connie's response.
"That sounds awful good," she said.
Frank Sinatra sang on the restaurant radio while John and Connie looked into each other's eyes. Then Connie remembered me. "I have to do this, Carol" she said. They left. She left her hamburger . She left me to eat mine in silence. It was cold and tasteless.
I walked back to the dorm alone, thinking of how unappealing John seemed to me. He was tall, rakish, and older than the average college student.He wore an old jacket and jeans everywhere and his black hair hung in his eyes. But, Connie had thought his chiseled face was handsome the first time we noticed him following her home to the dorm. One day he called her name and she answered. She began dating him.
And now she had run off with him.
This was not the beginning of the story, nor the end, either. Much had led up to this elopement.
As I said, John followed us home to the dorm a few times. Connie was impressed by his good looks. I was not. He listened to us talk and found out her name. The next time he showed up he said, "Connie" and that was all it took. Connie was fascinated by this lanky hunk of a graduate student. It turned out he was a literary sort and did a lot of writing.
Connie's parents did not approve. They contacted the University and tried to lay down the law and threatened a lawsuit. Connie and John, in the meantime, were so serious that they planned a wedding. Connie, knowing her parents would not approve, cooked up a story about calling them just before the ceremony and she would say that she told them, and it was all right. Linda and I were invited, although John was not too comfortable with that. He said we would tell.
We met at a judge’s house across the street from Amanda Knight Hall. John had invited some professors who were friends of his. I think Clinton Larson was there. I had classes from him later. He was the poet laureate of BYU at the time.
The house had a little alcove in the front with a big bay window. We were invited to sit there and the professors joined us. They began discussing the marriage. They thought it was a little strange that Connie's parents were not more involved in this ceremony. The judge seemed a little worried that the University could get in trouble. As I listened, I became fraught with guilt. I knew Connie's parents would have a fit. I knew what Connie was doing was not right. I finally spoke up.
"Connie’s parents do not know", I said.
"She just called them and told them," the men said.
I said , "She did not tell them she was getting married."
The men became silent. The judge called Connie over. "Did you tell your parents you were getting married?"
"No," said Connie. I remember her cheeks were flushed and she clutched a bouquet of flowers tightly.
Of course, the wedding was off. It was all my fault, too. I couldn't feel too bad about it, though, because I felt I had done the right thing. In the aftermath , Connie's parents were informed, Mrs. Bailey was told to not let Connie go out, and I imagine much counseling went on. The up shot was that Connie was to stop seeing John.
This was what happened before the elopement.
After they actually got married things seemed to go well. But, I had reasons to worry about Connie. One day Connie and I rode bikes up to Bridal Veil Falls. Connie climbed part way up and then found a rope hanging down the slope. She grabbed on to it and began swinging out over the falls. I kept pleading with her to stop.
"Connie, you don't know what that rope is attached to. Maybe just a little bush or something." She kept swinging and hooting as she went out over the falls and back again. This was not the Connie I knew and I began to be worried about her mental state.
Once my boy friend of the time and I went to Connie and John's for dinner. Connie had 2 Siamese cats of a very discordant nature. One of them got his jaw caught on his collar. Connie began screaming and one of the guests tried to pry it off the cat. He got incredibly scratched up and his hands were dripping blood. Connie paid no attention to him .She just moaned over the cat. Again I worried about Connie's mental stability.
Connie's parents tried to make a lot of trouble for BYU. They made Connie come home for a while. Poor John was totally miserable all by himself . We saw him a couple of times. I don't know why Connie consented to go home. I do know her parents had her tested to see if the marriage had been consummated. They wanted to have it annulled. I think she might have even been pregnant then. She did come back and have a baby- a little girl with black hair.
After we went home for the summer that was the last we heard of Connie. I have tried to locate her several times. I was able, recently to locate a divorce record. She and John split after 6 years.