Saturday, October 4, 2008

Summer of My Spontaneity

Avram's at the Priesthood session, both of my girls are asleep for the night, and I am completely alone. Have I mentioned it's my birthday? Yup, I'm 26 big ones today. So indulge me in a long, rambling post that's full of sentiment and memories. I love talking about my past. Really. My whole childhood I planned to publish my journals as memoirs someday, like Anne Frank without the whole Jews in hiding in WWII aspect.

Through the wonders of Facebook, I became recontacted by an old halcyon college era friend, Jarom, this last week. Those were crazy days.

I first met Jarom the summer after my freshman year, at BYU, at a swimming pool. I mentioned that I was going to go practice swordfighting with a friend (probably the last time I actually pretended that I was going to swordfight, but that's another story), and he perked up and came along. Everyone loved Jarom, he was real suave and a ladies' man and looked like a hobbit, but in a good way. I'm serious, he's five feet and four inches and has curly hair. Most girls either had huge crushes on him or hated him (they were jealous, I bet).

Jarom was also the most spontaneous person I've ever met in my life. That was a crazy summer, because it was full of him doing all sorts of crazy, spontaneous things. Shortly after we met he came along on a ward trip to see the Manti Mormon Miracle Pageant (in Manti, south of Provo), and we ended up in the same car. On the hour and a half drive home in the middle of the night after the pageant we got to talking about how much we like city-scapes. I told him that I especially loved watching Salt Lake City at night from the top of Ensign's Peak.

What did we do next? We dropped off the other sleeping passenger in the car and drove to Salt Lake at two in the morning to climb Ensign's Peak. First we drove by the temple, and it sat there in the wee hours and was green, and absolutely beautiful (I have no idea how a grey granite temple could be green, it must have been a trick of the lights). We then climbed Ensign Peak at four in the morning, and watched first the city scape and then the sun rise while singing hymns from the hymnbook I'd surreptitiously brought along. This trip was made all the more amazing by the fact that I had known him for less than two weeks and had never had a conversation alone with him before this.

We and others went stargazing, one of my favorite activities ever, many times that summer. Once when we came home my roommate and I were locked out, and so made up a bed for ourselves in the back yard with all of the blankets we'd taken to lie while star-watching.

We spent a Sunday evening wading through the mud in the Botany Pond canal until one in the morning. We even had a mud fight. Covered in mud at one in the morning, I found out I had forgotten my keys, and none of my (nine) roommates responded to me knocking on the door. Finally Jarom took me to his grandparent's house in Orem (where he lived), where luckily his very low key mother was staying as well, and he woke her up and had me sleep in her room (after borrowing some of his PJ's) in the extra bed. Unfortunately no one had told his grandparents I was staying there when I came upstairs wearing his clothes in the morning....

He'd show up at my house at eight in the morning on a Saturday with an ice-cream machine to make ice-cream.

We went on walks to the amphitheater behind the insane asylum in central Provo, as well as many other places. We even had a huge fight at that amphitheater - a little drama is spontaneous too.

He told me I was graceful, although I'm really quite clumsy, which I told him. He clarified it was the more important kind of grace (did I mention this was under the moonlight?) (Hey, sometimes when I'm all alone on a Saturday night I like to revel in remembering compliments I've received. I know this isn't actually spontaneous, but humor me.)

I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a wee bit of a crush on him. I had a huge crush on him that Summer. We never dated, although we talked about it. Ultimately we made great friends, but would have had a lousy relationship.

For my birthday that year he gave me a letter. A letter that said he loved me (I thought he meant he loved me like a sister, he meant he was in love with me, but then he went away for a visit, and came back and never brought up the letter again. Years later I asked him about it, and he said he'd realized that we wouldn't work, so he hadn't pursued anything. I'd realized the same think a few weeks before him, so we were all happy). I still have that letter - I keep everything even remotely emotional from every boy I've ever even thought of liking, or that has somewhat liked me. Sentimental is my middle name.

After that Summer I dated a guy named Peter briefly, and Jarom dated my roommate briefly, and then I was in school again (he wasn't in college) and he made other friends, and although we were always still friendly with one another, that crazy, crazy Summer only remains as a shining jewel amongst my memories.

I'm a huge fan of the color personality test, and although my whole life I've been a red/blue (Type A pushy personality/people and relationship personality, in a nutshell) split, for a few years after that, every time took the test I came up as a yellow/red/blue (yellow being fun/party personality). That's how much influence that Summer with Jarom had on me.

In my mind, Jarom is still that happy-go-lucky crazy hobbit, while I'm still nineteen and surrounded by lots of friends and admirers (hey, I have a very rose colored memory). So it surprised me when he wrote me this week on Facebook and said, "Are you still being spontaneous? I kinda calmed down and don't do much unexpected anymore. Well, at least not comparatively."

Granted, I have two daughters now, and he's married with two sons now, but it still surprised me somehow. Surprise that Jarom wasn't still living in Orem in 2002, I guess. Oh, of course I'd known he'd gotten married (I think I even got an invitation). When I'd married Avram I'd bought his desk which we used until we left Provo. I'd seen him many times in the years following. So I'd known that he'd grown older too, but that knowledge never filtered through to my state of being.

I'm sure that although Jarom doesn't get into mud fights on the spur of the moment nor does he drive an extra two hours for the kick of it, spontaneity is enough of his makeup that he does keep life exciting. Sadly, although that Summer I fine honed my ability to pick and go without even a moment's notice, always with a crazy destination in mind, my spontaneity has long since been swallowed by diapers, bedtime routines and scheduled meals. It takes me a half hour to even get my girls ready to leave the house and actually arrive to the car, let alone any destination.

I wouldn't trade this life for that. I love being a Mom and being married, and although I sometimes wish I could visit the land of magical 19 year old Summers, I would never want to stay there forever. For one thing there's no lasting joy like a child, which all the stargazing can never replace.

But sometimes, I like to remember the time when just us two drove to the country and watched the Leonids falling in the August sky while I lay there in the middle of an alfalfa field feeling kindred to the meteors (and very aware of Jarom next to me, becaause I did like him) and more alive than most sleeping people surrounding me in their farm houses. (Although then a police officer came and made us move because we were on private property, and we had to go watch the shower outside of a national park by the highway because it was public land. Hey, no memory is perfect.)


  1. Happy Birthday, Thora!! I think I might not have a very hard time remembering your birthday!

    Great reflections here. I love reminiscing about those days. I almost felt like you were one of my roommates telling me about this after you got home or something. I have lots of similar memories of spending summers with guys I had crushes on but we were just best friends. Fun to think back on.

    And I love your ending. Only in America! In Poland you go wherever you want. It made for the perfect conclusion to your tales of adventure!

  2. ahhh the days of college fun. i have many memories like this as well. For some reason though we never talked back then. So i dont know yours and you dont know mine. we should just swap journals and catch up :) whats with all those late nights though, i thought that in provo you all went to bed at 11 or something?? ;) I had an ex boyfriend contact me a while back and he said something about how i was always so assertive and would just do what ever i wanted to do right when i felt like it and take charge of the situation. I have pondered on his perception of me all those years ago and I wonder have I really changed so much or is that person still inside me somewhere?
    College must just bring out the fun in people. One boring weekend while i was at utah state in logan someone told us about these really yummy donuts called krispy kreme, and that they had just opened a store in provo. So being the bored college kids we are we got in cars ( yes there were that many of us we needed three vehicles) and drove all the way to provo. which is three and a half hour drive at least. For donuts. then we got in our cars and drove all the way back home again. Only in college would you drive 7 hours round trip for a donut.

    I was the spontaneous one in college. I got my roomates to do all sorts of crazy silly things. I have the pictures to prove it. I have one of four of us sitting in boxes in the gutter in the rain singing songs... yes we were all adults... lol... i cant believe how weird i was. But somewhere along becoming 28 and a wife and mother i have gotten boring. I seem to have lost that energy or something. Like you said, its hard to be spontaneous with kids and all that it takes to get them dressed, bags packed, milk ready, and in car seats in the car.

    i am even more boring than you thora, you are the sister that keeps up her blog at least! I am so lame i just comment on yours and call it good.

    Lets try and be more fun so we can be the fun silly moms, okay? reading this i have realized i was a better "mom" to the kids i nannied back then... I need to lighten up!
    love you!

  3. So sorry I missed it! Hope it was a fabulous, memory-making day for you.

  4. For the record--I never had a crush on Jarom, and I never hated him either. Even after he (accidentally) kicked in my dragon's head. He was a fun kid, and even with all the knowing about him being a dad and all grown up and everything, I don't know if I will ever be able to shake the image in my mind of him as a happy-go-lucky, free spirited youth either. Those were good years, and good Summers, too.