Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Letter to Danny December 8, 2011

Good Morning Darling:

I went to Walmarts with your sisters yesterday and for an instant as I walked by the Men's Department I thought "I need to get Danny a pair of Levi's".  Then reality set in once more.  I miss you so much.  Time is a strange thing.  It seems as though you have been gone for so long and yet the pain is still so new.  Time......where has it gone?

I had been chosen secretary of my Seminary class back in 1962.  Steve Boyson was the President.  Steve was a year older than I and he was one of the popular guys in school....not one whose group I was a part of.  So I was surprised when he passed me a note during class.  The note said he had a friend that wanted to go out with me and asked me if I would go with him.  I do not know what possessed me to write back "How tall is he?"  Steve responded that his friend was about six feet tall and three feet across the shoulders; that he was in construction and that he and his dad owned a construction company. 

My mom and I couldn't afford a telephone back then, so I told Steve to have his friend call me at my friend Pat Brown's house the following Friday night.......and you did.  Blind dates were the one thing I had told myself I would never do, but I did.

I went to school on Monday.  As I sat down in my journalism class, one of my friends asked me about my blind date.  I told her I was going out with Danny Whiting.  The girl sitting next to me was Nancy Goff.  She was one of the "Beta" girls whose group I was not a part of.  She said to me "You're going out with Danny Whiting?"  I answered "Yes" and then she asked me if I partied.  I told her no, I didn't party.  I was starting to wonder about what I had set myself up for. 

You picked me up the following week and we went to the Scera theater to see "The Lion". 

You didn't know it then, but I came from a family of "talkers".  So when you were quiet, sullen and somewhat moody, I didn't quite know what to do.  You hardly said two sentences to me on the ride out and when we were in the movie theater, you watched the movie.  You had your elbow on the arm rest between us.  I knocked your elbow off with mine, turned and smiled at you and you didn't smile back.   "Well,"  I thought to myself.  "This is going well."  After the movie, we drove down to a drive-in called the "Top Stop" at the top of Orem hill.  You asked me what I wanted and I told you I wanted a chocolate sundae.  You told me you wouldn't buy me chocolate.  (What the heck?)  So I told you okay, I would take french fries and a coke.  I swear the bag of french fries you brought back to me would have held about a gallon of fries.  You asked if I could eat them all and I told you if I didn't I would take them home to my dogs.  Needless to say, I didn't think I would ever hear from you again.
I was wrong.  You called me a few days later and asked if I wanted to go out the following weekend.  However, I had a date to a "Gold and Green Ball" at BYU so I told you I couldn't.  We went out the following weekend.  We went to a Drive-In movie about vampires. 

Our next date was a cookout up the canyon.  We were doubling with your friend Larry Latimer and his girlfriend Nancy Goff.  (The same Nancy that was in my journalism class.)  Nancy and I became good friends and we are to this day.  (She was at your Memorial Service).  You had given me money to go to the store and buy some steaks to bar-b-que.  Honey, Mom and I could not afford steaks so it was foreign to me to buy steaks.  I knew nothing about them.  So I bought three "round steaks".  They were so-o-o-o tough.  Needless to say 4 people......3 full round steaks.....equaled a lot of tough meat left over.  Another wonderful impression I was making on you.....but you stayed around.

Remeber the Junior Prom?  You took me but I'm certain now it wasn't something you really wanted to do.  After were too "cool" for Junior Proms.  Once again we doubled with Nancy and Larry.  Nancy had borrowd her mom's mink shawl.  It was raining outside and Larry thought he would be gallant and carry Nancy to the car.  He dropped her in a mud puddle.

The days were slipping by and I was in love with you.  I was seventeen and you were twenty-two.  Then the day told me you thought we should break it off for a while.  My heart was broken at the thought of losing you.  Little did I know that one day it would really be broken because I would truly lose you.  I cried then as I cry now.  I would look out my window towards your friend's house behind us hoping to see you drive up.  I would watch the headlights as they came towards our house praying it would be you driving into our driveway.  I did have my pride, though.  I would not call you.  I would not go to your house.  I would not look for you.

It was in the paper that you had been arrested.  The story said you had run a redlight and took on the Provo Police force.  It said you had been with another girl.  The thought of you running a redlight, taking on the Provo Police, being arrested did not phase me.....but that you had been with another girl broke my heart. 

The following Saturday I decided to go on a double-date with my friend Cheryl and her cousin.  They had picked me up and we drove up to Vivian Park to a cabin.  We walked into the cabin and before I took my coat off I asked them to take me back home.  I didn't want to be there.  I didn't want to be with another guy.  The following morning I let my pride be damned.  I drove down to the Blue Whale.  You remember honey.  It was that hamburger joint west of the Center street viaduct.  I knew you went there all the time and sure enough, your truck was parked there.  Your friend Dale Whitlock walked out and I asked him to go in and have you come out.  (I still had a little pride left.)  You came out to the car and I told you I wanted to know where we stood.  (Heaven forbid that your breaking up with me and then dating other girls didn't really tell me where we stood.)  You looked down at me and laughed and told me to go home and you would call me in a while.  I went home, you called, picked me up and we went fishing up at Deer Creek.  After were mine.

The summer faded.  You had signed up for the Army National Guard and was to head to Fort Ord on November 17th for basic training.  On November 16th you picked me up and we drove up South Fork Canyon.  You asked me to marry you and pulled my engagement ring from the glove compartment.  I was so thrilled.  I was so in love with you and I am still.

My mind drifts back to that winter of 1963-64.  I can see myself working at the Arctic Circle and watching the snow fall outside.  The radio is playing in the background and I keep listening for the phone to ring.  Mr. and Mrs Rigby owned the Arctic Circle and they knew how much I was missing you.  They were so sweet.  They told the other girls I worked with that if I got a phone call, they were to cover for me while I took it.  Mrs. Rigby would later give me a bridal shower. You had been transfered from Ft. Ord to Fort Leonard Wood Missouri.  Mom had bought me a cedar chest as an early graduation gift and I had managed to fill it with things I thought we would need once we were married. 

I knew you had been discharged and I thought you would be coming home by train, but you had hitch hiked all the way home and had stopped in Denver and bought be a lovely white suit.  It would be my wedding dress. 

You had told me to be looking for us an apartment while you were away and I did look.  But I could not find one that I thought we would be able to afford and that I thought would be good enough for you.  It's funny that you didn't think they would be good enough for me.  We had decided to get married on June 9; right after I got out of high school.  You went back to work with your Dad and I still worked at the Arctic Circle.

There were new homes being built west of the Provo River on 860 North.  You talked to the guy developing the houses and worked out a deal where you would install sewer and waterlines for him in return for a down on one of the houses.  We didn't go on a honeymoon.  Instead, you took me home to a brand new house that you had furnished for me.  It was perfect.  My life, I thought, was perfect.  But darling, we both know that perfection isn't what life is about.  Love isn't finding the perfect person, it is finding perfection in the person that you love.

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