I graduated from Bear River High School in May, 1962 and had received two scholarships through my activities in Future Farmers of America (FFA). One was a Union Pacific Scholarship and the other dealt directly with agriculture, as I recall. My intention was to go to Utah State University, the land grant college for our state, and prepare to go into pre-med.
Utah State University (USU) logo
When the end of the summer approached, I was more than ready to leave the farm and move to Logan, Utah to attend college. I was eighteen years old. In fact, even though Logan was only about 18 miles away from the farm in East Garland where I grew up, I didn’t even come back for a visit more than a half-dozen times in that year.
A new dormitory complex was just being finished on the east side of campus called the David O. McKay Living Center. I think there were three dormitories for boys and three dormitories for girls. I moved into Ivans Hall. There were six boys in my group, I being one. We were a diverse group even including Hossein Salimi from Tehran, Iran who was studying dairy and planned to go back to Iran after he graduated.
One of our biggest challenges in getting along was keeping our food from being used by others in our group. I remember that we shopped about once a week and most of the time, the slogan hanging in our kitchen said it all: “Thou Canst Not Live on Bread Alone. Thou Must Have Peanut Butter.”
One day, just after moving in, several of us came home to a smoke-filled “apartment”. Hossein had tried to prepare a meal for all of us that was one of his specialties—shish kabobs. He had put charcoal brickets in the bottom of the oven of the new stove to do the barbequing! Needless to say, it took more than the rest of the term to clean the oven enough to pass our next room inspection.
I have always been a very sound sleeper, and the “guys” delighted in playing pranks. Usually, I went along with them. One such prank was pulled on me. I was sleeping soundly, minding my own business. Being half-awake, they headed me in my pajamas downstairs and out into one of their automobiles. We took a short ride a few blocks west to other complexes where they had friends. I pretended to be asleep, although I was barely awake, until they had me go to their friends’ apartment and when I saw the brightly lit room, I was abruptly awake! I don’t believe they ever found out that I was faking. But it surely livened up their experience. They loved to “razz” me after that about my sound sleeping and being able to walk in my sleep.
Just to give an idea of how our shopping went, and how we would watch the specials at the grocery store, I remember one particular time we went to the store when ketchup was on special—4 bottles for $1.00. Normally, the price during the week was 25 cents per bottle.
Union Building on Campus of Utah State University
I took part in many activities in the Union Building, particularly movies, bowling and dances. I had never dated in high school, and was pretty much afraid of girls, but I enjoyed watching at the dances although I wasn’t much at dancing, and I was not at all interested in sports or athletics. But I took a dance class while at USU.
I enjoyed taking religion classes at the LDS institute just below campus. One of my fondest memories was having the opportunity to participate in Institute Chorus. We had the privilege of singing in one of the LDS General Conferences on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah in April 1963, when David O. McKay was presiding as president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon). Our songs were recorded on a 33 1/3 vinyl record which I still have in my possession, along with a remark made directly to the choir at the close of the conference when President McKay addressed us and said: “God Bless You, boys and girls.”
I took a pretty heavy load of classes at the University, but by the end of the first term, I was in trouble academically. I found that since high school had been very easy for me, and I didn’t have to do very much extra to get good grades, I had never learned how to study. The freedom to be involved in many activities took my attention and time away from my studies and I found that I wasn’t doing very well academically. By the end of the year, I had almost flunked out of school. But I certainly enjoyed the college activities.
In the spring, the only reason I came home from USU was with the hope that if I did so, and attended church, I would have the opportunity to go on a mission for my church. The opportunity came, but that’s another story.
This story paints a great picture of that time Golden. Did you play sports or belong to any particular clubs while in college? I do want to hear about your missions. Sounds like your plan was working out well for you so far....even the fake sleep!
Golden - it's great reading your stories. They are so interesting and bring back memories for me too having grown up in Utah. My oldest brother went to USU also.