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Jun 10, 2009

A love story

Once upon a time, in a land called Happy Valley, lived a young college student named Heidi. She studied too much, played too little, and took life far too seriously (at least according to the five roommates she lived with in a tiny apartment south of BYU campus). At the tender age of 18, she pledged to quit dating silly boys and and instead wrote letters to a dozen of her missionary friends. A few of them seemed like potential marriage material...after she had a Masters degree.

Down one floor and around the corner lived a carefree lad named Garry. He was seven months off an Ecuador mission, and having worked hard for several months at home had returned to Happy Valley to get an education. Garry was enrolled in BYU classes, but he also had great dating ambitions. With money to burn and fun in his heart, he could not have been more different than Heidi.

One day in January their paths crossed. Garry and his roommates had been paired with Heidi and her roommates for the purpose of forming a Family Home Evening group. The group met exactly once that semester, but once was enough. Heidi's roommate, Rochelle, fell in love with Garry at first sight.

While Rochelle oohed and aahed over the blue shirt that made Garry's eyes sparkle, Heidi buried her nose in an accounting book. Heidi spent hours in the library as Rochelle talked nonstop about Garry's walk and his laugh and his gorgeous hair. When Garry asked Rochelle on a date, Heidi helped her celebrate and pick an outfit. When Garry asked Rochelle out again the next week, Heidi listened happily as Rochelle gushed. Then there was a third date. Most of Sacrament Meeting every week was now spent eying Garry and his roommates. Heidi was glad not to be dating; she had more time to practice the piano in the bowels of the HFAC.

Along came February. One day Rochelle announced that Garry and his roommates were taking a road trip to Las Vegas and everyone was invited. Rochelle thought this little trip could seal the deal with her favorite boy, but she didn't want to go alone. Heidi was getting a little sick of school and snow; the desert sunshine sounded like a fabulous reprieve. Before she knew it, she and Rochelle were packed into Garry's car with two other girls for a long weekend of fun and games. Rochelle called shotgun and got it. Heidi studied all the way to Nevada.

But once in Logandale, the tiny speck of a town Garry called home during college breaks, fortunes shifted for these three unsuspecting students. It might have been the huge, crazy group of friends, or the sunshine, or the hike in the Valley of Fire.



It might have been the broken-down car, the nighttime tour of Las Vegas, or the swimming day at Warm Springs.



Whatever it was, Rochelle could sense a change in the air -- and she was not happy about it.

For somehow, in the midst of so much fun and excitement, Garry and Heidi became friends -- and they wanted to become more. For the pair, there was an eerie sense of foreshadowing that they just couldn't shake. On the way home, Heidi called shotgun and got it. Rochelle sulked all the way back to Provo.

On Monday night, when the vacationing students returned, Rochelle burst into the apartment in a rage. Doors slammed, screams rose, and tears fell. Rochelle felt betrayed. It wasn't fair.

Rochelle was right. And Heidi didn't know what to do. She wasn't in the habit of stealing boys from her roommates (or from anyone else, for that matter).

Garry admitted some guilt in leading on Rochelle, although that wasn't ever his intent. In fact, his aim was to never date the same girl twice in a row. He just wanted to have fun! So he set out to date every girl in apartment N311. When Garry called to ask out a roommate that had a boyfriend, she passed the phone to Rochelle, who got the invitation instead. When Rochelle answered the phone another day, she got an invitation. And finally, when Garry stopped by on a Friday night and found her home alone, she got a very awkward third date invitation. What Rochelle perceived as flattering attention was unfortunately an uncomfortable coincidence for Garry. While Rochelle was a terrific person, she and Garry never clicked...at least in Garry's estimation. He felt terrible about her misinterpretation.

This information never reached Rochelle, but it certainly made Heidi feel better about the stealing. Her apartment life would never be the same, but she felt free to pursue this most interesting development with Garry.

The next day was Tuesday. After putting in what Garry perceived to be astonishingly long hours on campus, Heidi met him for dinner and what became the first of many hours-long conversations. They talked about anything and everything. It was comfortable. It was fun. It was amazing. It was addicting. Time vanished when they were together.



On Wednesday Garry and Heidi spent all of their non-class and non-work hours together, and in the evening went to a Utah Jazz game in Salt Lake City (someone gave them free tickets). They did not see much of the game, as they were lost in conversation. Later that night, over BYU Creamery milkshakes, Garry was the first to say, "I love you." Heidi was shocked. How could he know that in three days?

On Thursday Heidi felt it prudent to warn her mother. Her email went something like this:

"Dear Mom,

Remember that guy, Garry, that took a bunch of us to Las Vegas over the weekend? I think he's a keeper. Like forever.

Heidi"

Her mother, ever so diplomatic, responded with something like this:

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Have fun! Keep us posted!

Love,

Mom"

On Friday and Saturday, Garry and Heidi continued their conversations. Topics ranged from life aspirations, plans for education and family, and the names and ages of siblings. Heidi admitted out loud that she was, in fact, falling in love. She and Garry started talking about marriage. They fully recognized that this was insane.

On Sunday, Garry and Heidi attended a regional [religious] conference in the Marriott Center. It was a wonderful meeting. One speaker talked about personal revelation and related the following scripture (D&C 6:22-23):

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth
of these things. Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?"

At that moment, Heidi realized that the one thing keeping her grounded that week was the incredible feeling of peace that filled her heart. Being with Garry was fun and exciting and wonderful, but also brought more peace than she had ever felt in a relationship. And that's how she knew. Garry was The One, even if they'd only been "dating" for seven days.

Later that afternoon, Garry and Heidi informed their parents that they had discussed the possibility of marriage. Heidi's parents were super supportive but obviously a bit wary; Heidi was 18, after all, and they'd never laid eyes on this Garry person! Garry's parents, however, announced that they knew this would happen after seeing the two together in Logandale. The happy couple pledged to call in a few weeks when the engagement was official.

Instead, the calls happened just after midnight.

In a quiet moment, just before saying goodnight, Garry proposed. There, in the shabby living room, with no ring, no fanfare, and no warning...it was perfect. And Heidi accepted. And they both cried. And they grabbed a calendar.



Eventually the wedding date came: June 10, 1998. Garry and Heidi had known each other less than six months. But for eleven years, they have been living happily ever after.
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