Love is all around us, Sun Devils. For Valentine’s Day, snuggle up with these tales of true love found at Arizona State University. Thanks to the ASU Alumni Association for sharing them with us! 💕💕

Love Lives On

“Love, love changes everything: Now I tremble at your name, Nothing in the world will ever be the same.” Love Changes Everything: From The Aspects of Love, words and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

“From over here I still see you, when my eyes have left your face. And can’t you feel me still hold you, though my hands have left your waist? Oh I wonder, wonder, oh the wonder of you.” The Wonder of You: Words and music by Chip Taylor.

I discovered these songs long after my wife of 43 years had died, and they, as all love songs do, make me think of her.

The girl in the red coat walked into my world lit class at Phoenix College on Feb. 6, 1956, and I thought: Wow! By the next day I had learned her name, Pat Thomas, and had gotten her phone number (Amherst 6–9953) from the book. I called and frantically talked her into a blind date. It was the double date that saved me. She happened to be a friend of the other girl who was going. I offered to pick her up and take her to school. In a note to her, written shortly before the birth of our third child, I reminisced about that meeting as follows:

“I remember you, the girl in the red coat- World Lit 201. A pretty girl, one I’d like to take out. I remember you on our first meeting, you wore a blue skirt, white blouse, red belt shoes and bag. You wore Tabu. You spoke well and we talked through two classes or was it only one? Good-looking girl I thought, also smart and also fun… and soon I will remember the birth of our third child. I look forward to it and all the memories we will give and have given each other.”

On Feb. 8, 2006, the 50th anniversary of that day, I went to Walgreen’s and bought a bottle of Tabu and the memory was complete.

That first date went well and we dated constantly until June, when I left to take a summer job in Oakland, Calif. The job had been arranged before I met Pat and what I had looked forward to as both an adventure and a learning experience became one long, miserable, lonesome summer. I wrote to Pat constantly. I was gone three months and returned on Sept. 1, 1956. Late that afternoon I rang the doorbell of her parents’ home. Pat, looking beautiful in a yellow linen dress, answered the door, and just inside the door, in front of God and her parents, we had a kiss that I will never forget.

We transferred to ASU later that month. Pat lived on campus in North Hall, which, sadly for me, no longer exists. I commuted daily from Phoenix. In those days College Avenue went from Fifth Street all the way through the campus to Apache Boulevard. On the afternoon of Oct. 15 in my car parked in front of North Hall, we said to each other for the first time, “I love you.” I wrote the following letter to her that night,

Dearest Pat,
It has been such a long time since I have written to you, well, since today was such an especially wonderful day and because I miss being away from you, it is 10 after 8, I thought I had better write down a few of my thoughts. This is really the nicest letter I have ever written to you for I know that I will be able to deliver it in person; therefore it is not only nice but also a pleasure to write.

As I have said this has been a very wonderful day, so wonderful that I cannot find the words to describe what I feel. I have read about days like this but only in fairy tales. To find myself so wonderfully happy is something I had never expected, least of all at this particular time. I am really not quite sure what to do with myself for I feel as though I will explode any minute. It is so completely wonderful, so beautifully unbelievable to hear you say “I love you.” May I thank you for this feeling you have given me and also hope that I may possibly let you know what I have felt today. What you have let me feel was beyond my fondest dreams. There are no words to say or explain the way I feel. I can only say with all my heart that I love you.
Bill

As I’ve said, I commuted to the campus. I would get there early every morning, and Pat would come out before classes and sit in the car and talk to me. Here are a couple of notes we left to each other in the car:

Hi Honey:
I put the car keys in the glove compartment so you can turn on the heater in case it’s cold outside and you are cold inside
Love you,
Bill
P.S. Haven’t seen you for nine minutes and I miss you so much!

Pat, who could write and punctuate so much better than I could, was late one morning and missed seeing me. She left the following note:

Dearest Bill.
Oh honey, I am so sorry I didn’t meet you this morning! I didn’t even open my eyelids till 8:30, and the first thing I thought of was you. I just felt sick that I missed you this morning, honey: I was looking forward to seeing you all night long. It really feels strange when I don’t see you in the morning- everything empty as if the sun didn’t come up. I miss you so much!
Love you more than anything else,
Your Pat

We must have been well behaved, both in and out of the car, because Pat told me that her dorm “mother” believed for the longest time that we were brother and sister. I questioned her eyesight!

In the spring of 1957, same car, same spot in front of North Hall, I asked Pat to marry me. She told me much later that she manipulated me into making the proposal without thinking that she would need to give me an answer. Fortunately it was yes, and we were married that summer. We completed our degree requirements by going to night school on a part-time basis. No love letter to Pat has ever fully expressed how I felt about her but I do like to think that as the years went by and our love grew to ever more inexpressible depths my efforts to do so also improved. Looking back on the Oct. 15 letter, I can only say I had no clue how deep love between two people could become. In May of 1961, after two children and four years of marriage, I think I did a little better. We were living in Yuma and Pat had gone to Phoenix with the kids to visit her parents. I wrote her the following letter:

May 28, 1961
My Dearest Pat,
The front window is open and the door ajar. I’m sitting here enjoying the start of a new day.

The sky is grey-blue dotted with lilac colored clouds. The air is fresh and sweet with a new-day smell that enlivens all your senses. With orange-red streaks that creep above the trees the sun gives fair warning that soon it will be up.

Birds anxiously shout, heralding the day with undirected melody. Hundreds of different notes that all cry out, “It’s good to be alive!” No fears of yesterday in these voices, only good thoughts for today.

I miss you now. The beauty of the moment brings nearer the thought of your own warm loveliness. What I would give to have you here; to hold you close, to kiss you, to say to you, as if for the first time, “I love you, Pat.”

The weekend has gone by slowly. I have missed you more than you can ever know. I try to share my thoughts and actions with you through my letters. They can never take the place of having you with me.

When I closed my “book” of yesterday it seemed then I wouldn’t write again. But writing to you is always easy for you are my main thought and concern .The sun is up now. The birds are settling down to living their lives. I shall close for now. I love you very much.
Bill.

Many years later I was in Phoenix on a business trip and went to Tempe to re-visit the ASU campus. Sitting in the student union, drinking a cup of coffee, I reminisced again and wrote to Pat, on a paper napkin, the following words:

“I remember so long ago, but clear as yesterday, going to school with you. So much here has changed, new buildings grow daily and the old buildings look older. The places we met and went to still are here, but without you they seem strange and empty; like a day with no hope of something good to come. North Hall is still here, but knowing you won’t walk through the door, I pass it by, stirred only by the memory of you within its walls and the excitement I felt waiting to see you walk through that door. Time has changed us and yet, not at all. You are everything now that you were then-but even more. And even then I couldn’t tell you how much I love you.”

When I heard the Chip Taylor song I immediately remembered a hand-written birthday note that I wrote for her 42nd birthday. It went partially like this: “… I looked at you in wonder, awestruck, that anyone could be as fortunate as I. I take pleasure in the memory and do not cry that innocence is lost, but treasure all the more the wonder still remains.”

Pat died on Feb. 11, 2001, exactly 45 years after our first date. Not a day goes by that I do not think of her and miss her. Four years after we were married, I wrote these words to her: “Though love is universal ours is singular and individual, unique between ourselves and beautiful to be a part of. For it and you I thank our creator.” What I have related is only a miniscule part of the longer singular story. I only hope it illustrates, in some small way, what love between two people can be. Love, does change everything, the wonder still remains, and I still thank our Creator.

McClintock Friends Turned Soul Mates

Our initial thoughts when our first-floor RA introduced us:
(me) — “I wonder if we’ll have any classes together?”
(her) — “Oh, he’s the cute guy’s roommate!”

So, though we didn’t get off to the most auspicious start, the intervening 14 and a half years have proved that first impressions aren’t necessarily telling. Ginny and I started our freshman year at ASU living two doors apart on the all-freshmen first floor of McClintock Hall. And, while we didn’t have any classes together that first semester, we did spend a lot of time together. There was a group of six of us (Ginny and me, her roommate, her suitemate and my two suitemates) that hung out together, ate lunch and dinner in the MU together, played volleyball in the McClintock quad, and played a lot of late-night card games while avoiding writing papers.

Her suitemate first posed the idea that we should get together romantically in about September, and when we discussed it later, we had to admit that the idea had occurred to each of us beforehand, but that we were each sure the other would just want to remain friends. So after a few weeks of getting to know each other better, I finally worked up the courage to give her a good night kiss. Sept. 29, 1995 — as I said good night and before heading back to my room, I leaned in for a peck on Ginny’s lips. I got more kiss than I bargained for (Ginny had wondered why I hadn’t kissed her before, and had gotten kind of impatient). I remember walking (or was it floating?) back to my room a minute later in a daze. Whew! Thinking about it now still makes me grin! We’ve celebrated Sept. 29 as a mini-anniversary ever since.

So we dated through the end of that first semester, and our feelings for each other grew stronger. I wasn’t shy about telling her that I loved her, but that wasn’t something that came easy to Ginny. One night we walked up A Mountain and sat on the A, looking out over the campus. Ginny told me that she had something she wanted to say, but couldn’t. She picked out the letters, instead, on the back of the ASU-opoly shirt that I was wearing. One letter. Pause. Four letters. Pause. Three letters. Pause. Good enough.

We had an early class together in the spring, located 20 feet from our dorm rooms, and it was an awesome thing to see the girl I loved first thing to start my day. She was always meticulously groomed and beautifully dressed, though the rest of us pretty much rolled out of bed at 7:37 and shuffled into class three minutes later. By the end of the semester, we were spending nearly every free moment together, and talking about what future we might have together. We weren’t sure what would happen after we graduated, though, so thought it might be best if we just called it quits at that point, rather than waiting three more years, and making it that much harder to go our separate ways. So we broke up over the summer. She stayed in Phoenix, and I went back to Albuquerque. We talked on the phone every day, and wrote so many letters and e-mails that our parents laughed at us outright when we talked about having broken up. She visited me twice and I visited her once during those three months. Needless to say, when we started classes again in August, we were very much back together.

Our third semester at ASU passed very quickly — one class together, all our meals together, volleyball, card games with the gang at Perkins and IHOP at 2 in the morning, rollerblading around campus at dawn after pulling all-nighters to finish a paper or cram for a test. I was working at Coldstone Creamery on Mill, and Ginny would skate over so that we could have ‘dinner’ together — two large ice creams to share! We were both still living at McClintock with the same roommates (I had switched after the first semester, when ‘the cute guy’ pledged a frat, and spent many nights puking just 10 feet from me) and The Secret Garden was a convenient quiet spot to get away for some time, just the two of us. That’s not to say that it was all balloons and cuddling, though. A late-night game of rollerblade tag ended badly when my roommate fell, and Ginny tripped over him. She tore open her chin, and her brother (who also lived in McClintock) had to take her to Tempe St. Luke’s. The rest of the gang and I fretted until they got back at 2:30 a.m., Ginny with seven stitches in her chin. She signed the bloodstain on Forest Walk the next day, and it was still there the last time we looked.

After that third semester, I came back from the winter break a week early to spend Ginny’s birthday with her. That evening, after dinner, I told her that I loved her and wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. She agreed to marry me. That semester, we presented a jointly written paper to our micro-economics class about the economic factors involved in deciding to get married. One section of the paper addressed the comparison of the two people’s cost/benefit curves with respect to free time, household chores, shared living expenses and the like. “It’s important,” I said, “to make sure that your curves line up nicely,” and winked at Ginny. She blushed, and the class and the professor laughed.

So, after we endured one more summer apart, and enjoyed one last semester as dating Sun Devils, we were married on Dec. 27, 1997. We moved out of McClintock Hall and into an apartment at McClintock and Broadway. Our differing schedules (my engineering classes tended to be mid-morning and early afternoon, and her language classes tended to be early morning and later afternoon) meant that we couldn’t spend every moment of the day together, but being able to spend all the rest of our time together more than made up for that (despite long walks to class from Lot 59). Ginny graduated two semesters after we were married with a degree in Spanish, and I finished one semester after that in mechanical engineering. After I graduated, we bought a house in Chandler, where we’ve lived ever since. We are still very happily married, raising three kids whom we dress in maroon and gold whenever possible. We get back on campus as often as we can, catching at least one football game at Sun Devil Stadium a year, and the occasional basketball, volleyball or soccer game when time allows.

ASU brought us together, and was the basis of our early life together. Thinking back on our days there never fails to bring a smile to our faces and a warm Sun Devil glow to our hearts!

ASU Love Rooted in Tradition

[As told by Louis] I had just returned from serving my country, in the Navy, in World War II. My country said, “Thanks, you may now take advantage of our G.I. Bill of Rights. You pick the college, and we will pay the tuition, books, and an allowance of $65 per month.”

A native son, returning home to Peoria, Ariz., I had no money, no job and a faint future.

I said, “Tempe, here I come!”

The first year at ASC (Arizona State College, as it was known at the time) was an interesting experience, of many G.I.’s trying to “fit back in.” In the service we had become friends, drank a lot of beer, shot down planes, bombed cities and invaded islands. Now we were trying to reclaim our place in a peaceful world.

Monti’s La Casa Vieja was doing a booming business in downtown Tempe. One night, while visiting another hot spot, The Hut, with my ex-G.I. buddies, I spied a good-looking brunette, and told my mates, “That’s what I am looking for right there!” The nickelodeon was playing “Little White Lies,” and I was going to ask her to dance, but she and her girlfriends left before I could get across the room.

A few days later I spotted her in Dr. R.K. Wyllys’ western civilization history class. The class met MWF at 10 a.m. in the basement of Old Main. Following the class on Monday, I waited at the door and offered to carry her books. “No thanks,” she said. Wednesday I tried the same maneuver. “No thanks,” again! Friday I invited her for a cup of coffee at the V.I. Bingo! Success!

Her name was Barbara Heflin, also an Arizona native. Two weeks later she invited me to the Zeta Sigma (now Gamma Phi Beta) winter formal. Later, I invited her to the Lambda Phi Sigma (now Alpha Tau Omega) formal dinner dance at a hotel in Mesa. We were on our way, and life was good! There were desert picnics, Wednesday night dances at The Lyceum, lots of football, basketball games, etc. With college and my new girlfriend, life could not be any better! “Our cup runneth over,” we were in love! Paying for a room and meals from my $65 a month “allowance,” there was not a lot left over for entertainment. Looking back, just being together was all the entertainment we needed!

As the spring semester came to a close, we had to hit the books and take our final exams. I would meet Barbara for dinner at the dining hall (Mrs. Krause was the manager), and later we would go to the Matthews Library and study. We had to be back at West Hall by 10 p.m., because Miss Walsh, the housemother, would be blinking the outside lights, telling the girls, “Kiss that guy goodnight and come in!”

Before Christmas 1948 I asked Barbara to visit a very special place at sundown one evening. It was called “The Boathouse” and was located in Papago Park. (That spot is now the bridge over a pond at the entrance to the Phoenix Zoo.) I said, “Will you marry me?” She said, “Yes!” I cashed some World War II savings bonds and Barbara had a diamond ring for Christmas.

Our senior year, West Hall had the traditional “Daisy Ring” for couples who went through that ring together, their lives were committed to each other forever. I saw Barbara in her formal and she looked more beautiful than I had ever seen her. There was never a question that I would walk her through that ring!

Our 60 years of marriage will tell you, “I met my perfect mate!” We graduated with the Class of 1949, married that summer and started our careers and family. We have been blessed with three children and four grandchildren over the years.

I have just received my life membership from ASU. I can thank my country, the G.I. Bill of Rights, ASU and Barbara for the most rewarding life!

Tom Brokaw, in a book he wrote, said, “Ours was the greatest generation!” He could very well be right!

Love is Blind

Both of us had moved to Arizona for health reasons. Ed in 1948 from Washington, D.C., to save his vision, and Jo Anne in 1956 to overcome eczema and asthma.

In fact, Ed’s parents moved to Scottsdale, and Ed was sent to the Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind in Tucson as a sight-saving measure. Having lived in Tucson, he had become a Wildcat fan, but his parents wanted him to move home to go to college, and they purchased a home in Tempe so that transportation would not be a problem for him.

Jo Anne was told by her physicians that she had to move to a warm, dry climate, and she attended Buckeye Union High School during the second semester of her senior year. Her friends at BUHS were planning on attending Arizona State College, and she just followed suit. The climate did for her what needed to be done, and why not go to college…her Buckeye friends would be there.

Jo Anne was a freshman at Arizona State College in the fall of 1956 and at that time affiliated with the campus Lutheran Student Association. Being a farm girl from Minnesota and far removed from her “culture,” one of the familiar cultures was that of her church.

Now it was the fall of 1957, Jo Anne Everson, a farm girl from Minnesota, was a sophomore at Arizona State College and Edward Anderson, a big-city boy from Washington, D.C., was a sophomore and a half at Arizona State College.

For whatever reason, Edward had not attended the Lutheran Student Association functions until the fall of 1957. It was probably a good thing, because Jo Anne had a Minnesota boyfriend who was in the Air Force and with whom communications had stopped during the summer of 1957.

So fall 1957 was a fresh start and wouldn’t you know it, just prior to The Star Formal, the annual girl-ask-boy formal dance, Ed and Jo Anne met at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church at the Sunday night Lutheran Student Association dinner meeting.

Before the dinner was over, Jo Anne asked Ed if he would like to go to the Star Formal. He said “yes.” She told him that she lived at Wilson Hall, and that was the end of conversation.

A few days later, Dianna, an ASU student living at Wilson Hall, knocked on Jo Anne’s door, introduced herself, and said they would be double dating for the Star Formal.

She said, “You know Ed doesn’t drive.” I thought, how strange; I had been driving since I was 15! And then she said “You know that he is blind?” Blind! I thought that she must have mixed me up with somebody else! He didn’t appear blind to me.

But as it turned out, she was right. Ed was a graduate of the Arizona State School for the Deaf and the Blind, and he didn’t drive. But, that really didn’t make any difference.

The Star Formal arrived as did Ed and with a beautiful corsage and as handsome as I had remembered. He turned out to be a great dancer, had a great sense of humor, and we had a wonderful time. At the end of the evening as all dates gathered at the front door of Wilson Hall, he kissed me goodnight and I went up to my room knowing that “this is the man I am going to marry.”

To this date, he often tells people that on our first date, The Star Formal, we went to Riazzi’s on Van Buren for pizza after the dance, and it was the first time that “the farm girl from Minnesota” had ever tasted pizza.

The second date was a LSA camping trip to the Grand Canyon, and it almost didn’t happen for us. This was “pre cellphone” and nobody was on desk duty at Wilson Hall on Saturday at 6 a.m., and Jo Anne’s alarm didn’t go off. Lucky for us, a back door of Wilson Hall had been left ajar, and so the LSA group leader got up to Jo Anne’s room to awaken her.

As the relationship developed, Jo Anne became a “reader” for Ed; therefore, spent many hours at his home getting to know not only him but also his family.

Dating wasn’t always easy for us as we didn’t have a car. Ed had a bicycle and that was often our mode of transportation - and that was before bicycling was an accepted mode of transportation for college students!

It was an exciting time at Arizona State College, as students were marching to get the college to become Arizona State University and a new football stadium was being built at A Mountain.

We were both studying to become teachers. So, in the second semester of our senior year Ed moved to Tucson to do his student teaching at the Arizona State School for the Deaf and the Blind. He did so under the direction of his former biology teacher, Dr. Betty Hannah.

Jo Anne did her student teaching at Tempe Union High School under the direction of Mrs. Johnson in the Office Education Department.

Both of us needed to earn some money as we planned to get married as soon as we graduated. Jo Anne worked part time as a salesgirl at Peggy’s Dress Shop on Mill Avenue, and Ed worked part time as a busboy at Louie’s Lower Level at the student union at the University of Arizona. He renamed it “Louie’s Lowest Level.”

We graduated from Arizona State University in the new Sun Devil Stadium on Friday, June 3, 1960, and got married at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (where we had met at LSA) on Saturday, June 4, 1960.

During our senior year at Arizona State, we had purchased a used car so that I could drive to Tucson to visit Ed. Unfortunately, the used car had a broken bell housing, and the car dealer would not stand behind his product, so it took most of our money to fix the car. Thus instead of flying to Acapulco, Mexico, for our honeymoon, we took the bus from Nogales. How great it was to be young and naïve!

We moved to Tucson where Jo Anne took a business education teaching position at Pueblo High School, and Ed began teaching at the Arizona State School for the Deaf and the Blind. Our yearly salaries were $4,500 and $4,000, respectively.

In 1961, we purchased our first house for $12,500. The mortgage company was reluctant to give us a loan as we were newly married, and they didn’t want to count my salary as I might become pregnant and pregnant women were not allowed to teach! But we persisted, and we got our loan. We moved into our first home at 3545 West Merlin Road and purchased a mattress - there wasn’t money for anything else and credit cards were non-existent!

We lived and worked in Tucson for 45 years. Ed became principal of the department for the blind and Jo Anne become department chairwoman of office administration and technology at Pima Community College. We both earned Master of Education degrees from the U of A.

During our 45 years in Tucson, we always had season tickets to ASU football. Even though Ed had lived in Tucson and attended many U of A athletic events with students from ASDB, it didn’t take him long as an ASU student to become an ardent Sun Devil. So, living in Tucson for 45 years wasn’t always easy for him.

As teachers, we never had enough money to support our dreams, so in 1986 we affiliated ourselves with NuSkin Enterprises, a home-based business. This affiliation not only provided us with financial security but also expanded our horizons and relationships. One example is having met and having the privilege of working with Danny White, the former ASU and Dallas Cowboy quarterback that we had cheered on for so many years.

We have two daughters. Jennifer lives in Hollywood and just launched a cooking show, “Gen’s Guiltless Gourmet.” Lisa is a pastry chef who lives in Aspen and is the one who introduced us to Colorado while she was a pastry chef at The Hotel Jerome in Aspen.

We moved to The Roaring Fork Valley in Colorado in 2005; however, we return to ASU for homecoming, football and other special occasions. It is always a walk through memory lane to stroll through the campus and recall the “remember when’s.”

Where did these 50 years go? You know, people often quote “out of the worst of times come the best of times” and this love story is a good example of that. It wasn’t easy for either of us to have left our birthplaces and as teenagers move to Arizona. But, how fortunate for us that “fate” intervened, and both of us ended up as students at Arizona State College, or this love story would just be another fictional story, a figment of someone’s imagination!

Of course, there is much more to be told, as Paul Harvey would say “stay tuned for the rest of the story.” Now, we are about to become grandparents on February 14 of this year. So, the love story continues. And, who knows, maybe we will be celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary with a two-night stay at the Tempe Mission Palms!

Did you meet your true love at ASU, Devils? Share your story in the comments.

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