Von and I met at a Regional San Diego Young Adult Conference in July of 1973. At the time we didn’t think much of each other. I thought, “He just couldn’t be 21 and a returned missionary too!” (He was really cute, but he looked much younger than I, the graduated senior of one month!!) And Von thought I was an obnoxious flirt.
We saw each other occasionally during the year of ’73 at BYU, he even asked me out. But I couldn’t go because of finals, and besides, he was too short.
The next time I saw Von was the following fall semester of ’74. School had started and social life was in full swing. I was talking to a girlfriend when Von came walking up. I did a double take this time! Wow, had he changed. Tan, sun-bleached hair, looking very good in his Mexican embroidered shirt and big bell-bottom pants! My – he sure was cute, and what a flirt! We went out that night. All I remember was that I didn’t get home until 2 AM, and I had forgotten my keys. We must have had a good time.
The next Friday I didn’t have a date. I remembered where Von said his classes were, so I intentionally made myself cross his path that afternoon. Sure enough, I landed a date that evening with Von.
We had a good time, but Von was preoccupied that evening. His brother, Garth, had hurt himself playing basketball and his other brother, Mark, had been in an accident in the mission field. After that night I kept wondering why he hadn’t called back, or the fact that he seemed to disappear (his sister, Sheila’s daughter, Andrea Jane had drowned)
Winter semester had begun and I could tell it was going to be a very dry dating season. And it was becoming even drier because I started turning down dates. I was tired of all the games.
One night I had gone to bed at 8 PM (unusual for me), feeling a bit depressed about men in general, only to be awakened at 9:30 p.m. I had company. I threw some clothes on and went up to see who in the heck would be coming by at that hour!
There was Von, with Pud (Robert Peek) and Kit in tow! Von wanted to know if I’d go with him to a Young Men’s initiation the next evening. I said “Sure, why not?”
We had a terrific time! Then Von asked me out for the following night, but I already had a date for the basketball game.
My date had his uncle’s season tickets for the game at the Marriot Center. When we got there, we started into the row where our seats were, me leading the way. My seat just happened to be next to an old boyfriend! This old boyfriend was one I had been really serious with, then he dumped me! It still hurt 1 ½ yrs. later. So here I was, sitting between one I had pursued and one who was pursuing me! That evening was the most miserable date of my life. I kept using my date’s binoculars watching Von in the Young Men’s section. He sure was having a great time, and I was wishing I was there instead of where I was.
Von called the next day, and I was thrilled. He asked me out for a fireside the following day, Sunday. Then everyday after that he was coming by to see me, or meeting me after a class. After about 3 weeks of this, I was questioning myself about this relationship. I was sick for my birthday, so Von had my roommates make me a cake, and then he told me he had a special evening planned later when I was feeling well.
The next week he took me to see Saturday’s Warrior. When we got back to my apartment and we were alone, I told him I needed to know what was happening between us. I was full of questions, like, “Why was he dating me only? Did he like me?” (I was fishing for a “I love you!!!” line”)
Von then proceeded to tell me about Julie. He was waiting for her to graduate. His intentions were to just date me until she came to the Y. He said he decided to date me because I would be fun to “bide” time with. That hurt! (I later found out from Robert, that the three of them had gotten together earlier that evening and had gone over all the girls Von had dated, and I was the CHOSEN ONE). Being the inquisitive person that I am, I had to know if these were still his intentions, because I wasn’t about to be dumped again. I would be the dumper this time! Von then told me that his feeling for Julie had changed. He said he was “in-like” with me. I could live with that!
Von and I were spending more time with each other, and he kept dropping the “WE” word. I had been praying for an assurance that this relationship was worth pursuing. I felt very good about it, and even asked my parents up for Easter weekend, so they could check Von out. Mom was able to come and spend the weekend with me.
During this time, some young men that I had dated previously started to show up on my doorstep (literally), asking me out. These were guys that I had considered “marriage material” at one time. I had to make a choice, either go out with them and jeopardize my relationship with Von, or just tell them I wasn’t interested. I chose the latter. It wasn’t until after I was married and read my patriarchal blessing did I understand “Find a companion of your choice…” I did make a choice.
General Conference was coming up, and Von told me his parents had changed their minds and were coming after all. The day before they arrived, I had received a letter from Von’s brother, Garth, whom we just took to the mission home the week before. This letter had a lot of insinuations and advice that I felt was inappropriate! After all, we weren’t engaged, nor had we even discussed marriage. This letter really upset me and I wanted to talk to Von about it, but Von just laughed it off and wouldn’t discuss it. I pushed the issue, so Von left. Overwhelmed at what I could be losing if he didn’t come back, I went out looking for him! I had invested too much of my emotions to end this relationship right then. I loved him and knew we were to be together. I spent over an hour looking for him when I remembered his cousins lived around the corner from my apartment. When I got there, Von was there, smiling and then gave me a great big hug. He said “I was wondering how long it would take you to find me!!!” His roommate had told him I was out looking for him. I felt better, but I still felt insecure about what was going to happen.
The next night we picked up Mom and Dad at the airport then dropped them off at Uncle Dee’s home. We all had some birthday cake that I had made for Von. The following morning we met them at Temple Square for Conference. I had never been to General Conference, so this just added to the excitement of anticipation! Von’s parents sure asked a lot of questions, especially Dad!
That evening we went to the Ding Ho restaurant. I was really looking forward to a Chinese meal, especially the shrimp! As the meal began, so did the questions! My appetite soon diminished, these questions were getting very personal. Mom must have sensed my distress because she quickly pointed out to Dad that uncle Ron and aunt Jean were walking in the door.
While introductions were being made, the waitress brought the fortune cookies. I noticed Dad sliding the cookies towards him and then tearing off a piece of his paper placement mat. I didn’t think anything of it at the time. We finished our meal and Dad passed out the fortune cookies. We all took turns reading ours, and then it was Von’s turn. He said he didn’t want to read his. But “NO” would not do, especially for Dad. So Von handed me his fortune. It read, “You will get married this summer to Ann.”
My heart skipped a beat, and I looked up at Von. He said, “Well?”
“Well, what?” I replied
“Do you want to get married?”
Mom was very in tune that day. She suggested that we might like to talk in private. So we left the restaurant and went outside.
And of course my reply was YES!
Later as we were driving home to Provo, Von told me he had planned to ask me that evening on Temple Square (but Dad stole his thunder!). The fact that he loved me enough to want to marry me compensated for Dad speeding things up.
Until we got married, Von and I experienced some adjustments, sometimes making me wonder if I was really making the right choice. But every time I inquired of the Lord during some difficult times, all doubt would go away and my mind would become very clear, that yes, it was the right choice.