Saturday, August 12, 2023

Heiss History Tour (June 11)

It was lovely to be able to walk to church on Sunday morning. Phoebe thought this was a particularly lovely treat, though we typically walk at least a few laps around the church building anyway (since Andrew and Miriam like to arrive early to get the organ all set up, and I don't like lingering inside with the kids that long). Anyway, Miriam played a lovely piece as a "special musical number"; it was fun for her to play for the congregation that heard her first fledgling pieces on the organ. 

After church we headed north to BYU campus for the beginning of the Heiss History Tour. The tour wasn't conducted chronologically (that would have been far too time consuming) and I was busy chasing Phoebe around quite a bit, but I'll try to write down what I remember. Really we should have Grandpa do a guest post for this one!

Anyway, our first stop was at Centennial Apartments, where Daddy lived for...a semester...or year...or something...before his mission. 

It's also where Grandpa served as bishop for one of the student YSA (Young Single Adult) wards from 2009 to 2013 (I believe; please do correct me if I'm wrong). Grandpa and Grandma had a blast with that calling. It was a lot of work, but they really put their all into it!

At the start of fall semester 2010, they decided they would hold a social for the kids in their ward to get to know each other. Karen planned to make about a million cookies. She asked us to brainstorm some ideas. On August 15, 2010, I sent Karen the following email:

And thus the College Cookie Kegger was born, with milk and cookies and a friend for everyone! I think part of the reason Karen chose that name was because it was a little bit ironic—a little bit naughty—considering BYU is a dry campus (meaning, of course, alcohol-free).

She and I shared a similar sense of humour because I also thought this name was hilarious (bordering on inappropriate). I tend to find these kinds of jokes funny.

Like the time I created a "What the HBLL?!!" campaign for my mom's research class at the Harold B. Lee Library. It's funny because swearing is naughty (and very much discouraged on campus, to the point where I'm still shocked to hear university professors swear...and I heard a few of them swear in my time at UGA) and this was almost swearing...but not quite.

My last tangential point about the Cookie Kegger will be to tell you that for a long time I didn't know what dry meant. I remember attending one of my cousin's graduations (either Michael's or Craig's) and there was discussion about the grad party after the ceremonies and everyone kept talking about whether they were going to "wet grad" or "dry grad" (keep in mind that this was in Alberta, where the legal drinking age is 18, so a lot of high school graduates were legally permitted to drink). Naive little me pictured "wet grad" as a party with, like, water slides and a pool, whereas "dry grad" was, like, board games or something. 

I had no clue everyone was talking about the availability of alcohol the whole time. 

Anyway, there is absolutely no alcohol at a Cookie Kegger! Lots of milk though!

Karen made birthday bags for every student's birthday—complete with homemade chocolate suckers and a million other treats. She deeply cared about each and every one of those kids! Reid did, too, of course, but he really depended on Karen to do a lot of the ministering to those kids—filling their bellies (so their spirits might also be filled). 

Here we are looking at...something...

I think it was this, which I believe is the house that Andrew came home to? (Unless that was the house with the red door...but I think the house with the red door was the house that Karen lived in when she had Reid (or his rooom mate?) over for dinner on a date). Yeah. I'll go with that. 

So this was the house that little baby Andrew came home to:

And these, I think, are the apartments that Reid and Karen and their four children lived in when they made the move from North Carolina to Utah back in 1993. They had sold their house in Durham and had purchased a house in Orem but on their drive west their house purchase fell through. With no where to live, they quickly found temporary housing in this BYU apartment while they looked for a different home (which ended up being their house for a good 17+ years, ultimately leading to Andrew and I meeting in high school, and becoming the home baby Benjamin came home it was fortuitous that the deal fell through)!

Here's everyone looking at Crown Apartments:

And here's that house with the red door that I was telling you about:

I don't think it had a red door when Karen lived there. I also don't think the lawn was allowed to look like that (I could tell Grandpa was itching to get his hands on a lawn mower while we were standing there). Instead of mowing the lawn, however, he told us about promising to do the dishes forever (because Karen hated doing the dishes). As far as I know, he largely lived up to that promise and was the regular dishwasher at the Heiss house.

The botany pond is where Reid and Karen had their engagement pictures taken (by Grandpa Frank). It's always fun to visit the ducks there:

Here is Alexander about halfway up the stairs leading from the botany pond to the main campus. The kids were horrified by how many steps there were (and I told them how when I lived south of campus I would have to go up those stairs everyday on my way to class and/or work).

We stopped by the JSB, which is where Reid first saw Karen. Their ward met in the auditorium and he remembered this girl getting up to speak. She was dressed in white and the way the spotlights were hitting her she was bathed in light and looked just like an angel. 

We don't usually have spotlights at church. But BYU wards meet in all sorts of rooms—from the moot courtrooms in the law building to various auditoriums to gymnasiums. Their ward met in the auditorium. And there were spotlights on the speakers. 

Anyway, Reid thought he'd simply never see her again, since there's a lot of turnover in wards between winter/summer/fall semesters. But when he returned to the ward in the summer...she was also there!

So there was the date in the apartment with the red door... I'm remembering that the dinner was really to pay back Grandpa's roommate for something, but Karen said that this other guy's weird roommate could come (Grandpa wore clogs, okay?), so Grandpa came along and volunteered to do the dishes after dinner and said something about doing the dishes for forever. 

Later he asked her on a the temple. She said yes, they went to the temple, and both realized that this was the one—they were going to marry each other. 

Somehow there was a letter that Reid wrote and delivered to Grandma's work on campus, asking her to meet him by a certain statue on campus at a certain time. This statue:

He had just come from class (I believe he was coming out of the Spencer W. Kimball Tower, which they used to call the SWKT (pronounced: "swicket") and which someone once used as a landmark to me when giving directions, saying, "Then turn left at The SWKT," and I was like, "How will I know which spigot is the right one?" and they were like, "Are you crazy?! There's only one SWKT on campus!" and I was like, "Okay, fine. I'll look for the spigot. I hadn't noticed it before, but I'm sure it's there." And they were like...this girl is definitely crazy. I had no idea they were talking about the Spencer W. Kimball Tower—the tallest building on campus (12 storeys). So...anyway...

Grandpa was coming out of the impossible-to-miss SWKT, where he'd just had class, and Grandma was coming from elsewhere, but both of them were too afraid to be the first one at the statue, so they were both just kind of hiding out waiting to spot the other. They ended up approaching the statue at the same time and...decided then and there to get married. 

Or was it when they were sitting on a bench somewhere and Grandma said the famous line, "How does it feel to know we're going to get married?"

Whatever the case, their courtship was rapid and they got married in August (completing their courtship and engagement during the spring/summer terms)!

After that we walked back to the car, passing through the new life sciences building ( of nearly 10 years old already, but "new" for our standards; when I was working for the Integrative Biology department I worked in the Widtsoe building, which was built in 1970, and was absolutely brimming with asbestos (it was carefully demolished in 2015)).

The Life Sciences Building looks pretty neat—and has some stuffed animals scattered throughout it that Phoebe enjoyed finding. Benjamin announced that he absolutely, positively would be studying in this building in the future. Considering the frog sitting on my kitchen counter...I'd say such a path might just be in his future.

We also passed by the old METI (Middle East Texts Initiative) building, where Andrew worked doing typesetting for a time:

We drove past the building where my grandfather was born—his grandmother's house—which has been so many things over the years: a real estate office (I think), and then a paintball place, and then a little restaurant called The Awful Waffle (we ate there after one of Andrew's graduations (he did that a few times)). Currently it's Cupbop - Korean BBQ in a Cup! 

I think my great-great-grandmother would be rolling in her grave if she could see her house today...

I mean, my mom thought the Awful Waffle was a bit of an abomination—the front yard of her sweet great-grandmother's house had been turned into a parking lot!

Me (pregnant with Benjamin) in 2012, holding Miriam, with my mom and Josie

But it's a little more...gaudy...these days...

Nothing against Korean food, in particular. It's just that the house used to look more like this...

That's my grandpa! Circa...1970s? 1980s?

It's strange for me to think of their house being so close to campus. It's just right there! I worry that one day they'll tear it down, but so far it's still standing, and still full of life. My grandpa was born in 1915, but I'm not really sure when the house was built (sometime in the 1800s). 

Our next stop was our condo in Orchard Creek (in Orem). Karen bought this place for Andrew and me to rent when we first got married and then later rented it out to various couples from their BYU ward (mostly, to my recollection). Reid sold it a few years back, but knows the people who live there well, so we were able to pop in for a little visit.

It was starting to thunder a bit, which explains why Phoebe was feeling a little fussy for these pictures (she doesn't like thunder). It also explains Benjamin's face in the picture below:

After that we drove to the Orem house (the one that Reid and Karen bought after their first house fell through, and which they finished raising their children in, and where Andrew and I lived with Rachel and Miriam from 2010 to 2012). We didn't take a picture because the people who live there now were all out in front and it was kind of awkward. But we drove by and admired the neighbourhood, drove by my old neighbourhood, made a quick stop in front of our old high school and the elementary and middle schools (which I didn't attend, but which Andrew and all of his younger siblings and all of my younger siblings did). 

And then we stopped by the Mt. Timpanogos Temple, where Andrew and I were married—coming up on 18 years ago somehow (that number doesn't seem real, but okay).

Here's our whole family in front of the temple:

After this we drove up to Daybreak, where we found Grandma and Grandpa's old Daybreak house and talked about our memories there—playing in the snow on the big communal lawn, Zoë's baby blessing, canoeing in the lake—and then went to the Zanders' for dinner (Tamara has the only pictures of that event on her phone, I believe). It was so nice of them to host us all for dinner!

 It was a fun little trip down memory lane for all of us!


  1. Thanks for this bit of history of Reid and Karen

  2. Huh. I just realized when I read this that people don't call the SWKT the SWKT anymore. I still think of it as the SWKT. Swicket. I am surprised that you don't think of it that way automatically!

    1. I did call it the SWKT. It's a more recent change where they're trying to call buildings by their names rather than abbreviations. My spigot/SWKT confusion happened when I was in high school still and one of your students was trying to give me directions to the RB so I could take Josie swimming...but I just...wasn't getting it. :)