The Year of Golden - Episode 1

 By: Kelly McDonald

Author's Note: This literary piece is the beginning of a series of micro-essays, which is an experiment in expressing memoir as a sequence of remembered experiences, rather than as a longer narrated work. Although the length of micro-essays can vary, the author has chosen 500 words or fewer for the size of these episodes.

        According to the US Census Bureau, less than five percent of U.S. marriages last fifty years or longer. That statistic puts Beverly and me into a small, select group, inasmuch as this year will mark our fiftieth anniversary. Thankfully, we’re in reasonably good health, and our memories are not yet impaired, so we can still remember most of our marriage milestones during the past half-century of life together.

        Our courtship started early in that year of our distant past. I had just returned from a two-year church mission, ready to re-enroll at Brigham Young University. After Christmas, on December 28th, I arrived in Provo, Utah, my car loaded with my every possession, wondering where I might find a room to rent, anticipating my re-entrance into BYU during Winter Semester 1974. I drove north on 900 East, stopping at the first ‘For Rent’ sign I encountered. Within a few minutes, I was standing in my bedroom at the Park Plaza Apartment Complex, reasonably new and clean, a few blocks away from the center of the campus.

        After I moved in, I walked to the university to reacquaint myself with its buildings and grounds. As I returned, a young woman named Sheri was traveling in the same direction. We struck up a conversation, and as I finally departed to return to my room, she invited me to come to her apartment for dinner that evening and meet her roommates. Beverly was one of the six young women living together, and I first met her that evening at dinner. Although we talked, neither she nor I recall an evening of ‘fireworks’ at that first meeting.

        However, a few weeks after school had begun, I was planning on attending an upcoming formal dance at the county courthouse in downtown Provo. I needed a date, and I hadn’t yet met any dating partners. I decided to put my missionary extrovertism to work and called the apartment of girls I had met when I first arrived in Provo. In the days before individual cell phones, there was only one telephone per apartment. I put my best foot forward, called the apartment, then asked the girl who answered if she would accompany me to the dance. Beverly answered the phone.

        Now fifty years later, we are convinced that we were meant to be together. Yet, reviewing the circumstances of our meeting reveals an uncomfortable list of random actions determined by chance. I might have stopped at the apartment building across the street. I could have been twenty minutes earlier or later, walking to and from the campus. Beverly might not have answered the phone.

        We feel like we were brought together by Divine Providence. And we are comfortable with the knowledge that, once we met, we connected quickly, yet another attribute marking the kindred spirits whom we were and now are. But Divine Providence would also be needed to get us through a bumpy courtship to the altar.

Next Episode:


andy8mcdonalds said…
This is great, thanks for sharing a little something I never knew about before.
Bret Ellis said…
Thanks for sharing Kelly...a nice, sweet, short story, with a "cliff hanger" to bring me back for more. Sawaadee khap from the Bangkok Thailand

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