Sleeping Bags, Blankets and Quilts: A Love Story

Before We Met
I’ve always thought big. Living in small-town Indiana, I felt a little out of place. Most of my friends expected to stay in Ellettsville, work in the limestone quarries or mills, or in a trade like their fathers.

It wasn’t that I didn’t love my hometown–I loved it deeply. But for some reason I felt something deep within me I couldn’t explain.

Call it visions of grandeur, ego trip, or stupidity, but I couldn’t deny the feeling. I’m supposed to do something. What could my feelings of destiny mean? Professional athletics? I doubt it. Scholarly pursuit? No way. Entertainer? Maybe. Christian minister? Possibly.

In my senior year of high school, the year I expected to start making my breaks toward my destiny, I suffered a series of deep setbacks.

My basketball career ended abruptly. I hadn’t improved as much as I needed. The new coach decided to prepare for the future, and train up the talented crop of sophomores. I was left to ride the bench, no matter how hard I worked, I didn’t have the talent to make a contribution.

After basketball practice most nights I sat on my bed, exhausted and discouraged–teen angst in full bloom. Finally, I quit the team.

In my seriously depressed state, I drove away my first real love. My girlfriend became tired of my moodiness and my lost drive. She started stepping out on me. Huge setback number two.

I turned mean. I quit doing homework. I lashed out at my poor, confused parents. And I started drinking.

I hit my crisis right at the time others of my age turned convention upside down. I became intrigued by the mystery and the wonder of the sweeping changes of the Sixties. Peace, love, and freedom were the over-used keywords of the day.

True to my character, I overdid it. I spent the summer experimenting with various psychedelics. I started at Indiana University in the fall, and did well the first semester, but then the drugs took over.

Anyone who says marijuana and psychedelic drugs aren’t harmful must be smoking way too much of it. It fully robbed me of all self- control and ambition. Even after I quit the drugs, my mind raced so badly I had to quickly grasp at thoughts as they ran past. Speaking complete sentences was often difficult. I couldn’t make myself attend class or study. I become an inert blob. All I could do was more drugs. I felt trapped and ashamed.

So much for peace, love, and freedom.

In March, when mid-term grades were to be mailed to my parents, I ran away. I hitchhiked from Bloomington to Washington D.C. with my friend Fred.

To the Road – March 1971
I didn’t tell my parents where I had gone–I just couldn’t face them in my wasted state. My Mom nearly snapped. She often saw someone she thought was me, and followed their cars until she was sure it wasn’t me.

Fred and I lived on the street in D.C. for a few weeks. We panhandled and rummaged through dumpsters. We’d bum a nickel, buy an underground newspaper, and sell it for ten cents. Then we’d buy two, sell them, and keep that up until we finished the day with enough change to split a meal at a Junior’s Hot Shop.

We slept in our sleeping bags under bushes in the park at DuPont Circle.

After a few weeks we were approached by someone who invited us to stay in a house. It was a huge group of about seventy people all living in a four bedroom house.

They lived communally. They panhandled all day, pooled the money, and fed us all once a day. I slept on the floor with dozens of others.

Though I was surrounded by all of those “family” members, I felt vulnerable and alone. Somehow, sleeping with no blanket intensified my feelings of insecurity.

The family believed in Jesus Christ. The only problem was, Jesus lived with us. Don Humes, or “Tubby” to us, ran the place like a wicked king. He had a string of young women who adored him and granted his every wish. He had his own room, a car, a roll of bills, and all the drugs he wanted. Occasionally he bestowed “drug blessings” on particular followers. I was “blessed” once. It was the most powerful LSD I had ever tried.

All property was communal, so I lost control of my sleeping bag.

I followed the family through two moves, always sleeping blanket less on the floor or on the ground.

One day, as I studied the New Testament, I read Christ’s (the real one) words. In Matthew, “Let your light so shine among men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” This group certainly didn’t live according to that teaching.

I decided that I needed to find out what God wanted me to do. I again felt that I had a work to do. That night I walked the city streets, praying. “I know you’re there and that you love me. I want to serve you, but I don’t know how. Please let me know. Do you want me to stay here? Should I go home? Is there somewhere else you want me? Please tell me and I’ll go.” I pleaded most of the night.

At seven the next morning I was awakened. They told me someone was asking for me at the door. My parents’ minister had driven hours out of his way to talk me into coming home. Just a few hours ago I was pleading to God to know where he wanted me. Here was my answer. I didn’t even go back into the house to retrieve my shoes.

A few weeks later I spotted my destiny standing on the side of Third Street in Bloomington.

Third Street in Bloomington – October 1971
My eight year old brother Doug and I drove to Bloomington on an errand for our mom. As we hit the curve on Third Street, I spotted two girls, their backpacks lying on the ground next to them.

Having hitchhiked thousands of miles myself, I always picked up fellow travelers–especially beautiful young women like these. After I pulled my parents’ yellow Fairlane to the curb, Susan climbed in front with me, and Kathy sat in the back seat with Doug.

Susan was very pretty, but Kathy…! I couldn’t help but stare at her in the rear-view menu. My heart raced as I watched her. She wore a navy blue hooded sweatshirt, and her straight hair reflected strands of blond when the sun hit it. I had never seen beauty like hers.

I took them thirty miles past my destination, I gave them our phone number, and invited them to call if they passed through again. I offered to feed them, and let them do their laundry.

As I drove away, I deeply hoped I’d hear from her again.

The Call – October 1971
Just a week or so later, the call came. Kathy and Susan were returning to Bloomington, and would be picking up their friend Michelle in Indianapolis in a week. Beautiful.

I told Mom that I was bringing them home. I asked her to feed them and let them wash their stuff. Mom expressed concern about inviting hitchhikers into our home, but she relented.

Mom seemed taken aback at how pretty, intelligent, and well-kept Kathy and Susan were. She greeted them warmly and treated them like family. She fed them, and did their laundry for them.

After a couple of hours at home, I wanted Kathy and Susan to meet some of my friends, so we walked the railroad tracks into town. Almost as soon as we started walking, Kathy took my hand. It felt like our hands were meant to be together.

We spent three wonderful days together. I fell for her completely. That feeling of destiny again sunk deep into my heart. That same feeling of intrigue that I felt toward the hippie movement struck me. These feelings of destiny and intrigue felt wonderful.

As I left Kathy and Susan on the side of Highway 37, I cried, but I knew I’d see them again.
Four days later, I had thought about nothing else. Kathy was like a beautiful song stuck in my head. I felt like Richard Dreyfuss’s character in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. When he made the Devil’s Tower figure out of mashed potatoes he pointed to it and said, “This means something.” these feelings of destiny and intrigue meant something.

After a few days, I told my dad I had to go find her. I arranged with Dennis, another driver who had picked up the couple, to hitchhike out to their next destination–some little town I’d never heard of called Provo, Utah.

As we neared Provo, I started worrying that Kathy wouldn’t be happy that I came to see her. What if she didn’t feel as serious about me as I did about her. What if she snubbed me or hurt me as badly as my last girlfriend.

When Dennis and I arrived at the Provo apartment Kathy and her friends were occupying with a several other people, I found out they were upstairs attending something called a “fireside”. The group was called “The Group.” Most of them Latter-day Saints who were trying to escape the drug culture of the time.

I immediately knew that Kathy felt good about my arrival. Relief and hope swept through me. Is it possible that a girl that beautiful could have an interest in me? How can that be?

We slept on the floor in unzipped sleeping bags.

Together we explored Provo. We walked all over town and through the Brigham Young University campus. The place and the students certainly looked more pure and sterile than Indiana University.

After a few days, Kathy and I decided to hit the road. Dennis wanted to come too. Kathy wanted to visit her brother who lived a little north of San Francisco. I wanted to see the LA area and visit my friend Kathy Anderson.

So the three of us walked to the on-ramp for I-15 South and hitched toward Las Vegas.

Somewhere south of Provo, we were picked up by a Utah State trooper. He treated us kindly once he verified that we weren’t runaways.

We asked him about the beehive on the door emblem of his squad car. He told us about the Book of Mormon, and the honeybees brought to the Americas by the Jaredites. He stopped at a gas station and picked up a copy of the book for us. The station actually had a rack of the books and LDS pamphlets.

The trooper drove us just past the border into Nevada, and wished us well.

Life on the Road
I know that the freedom of hitchhiking coast to coast as Kathy and I have done sounds adventurous and exciting. Well, yes and no. I loved seeing our country outside of automobiles, train cars, and airplanes. We met some outstandingly wonderful people. But we also experienced hours of waiting alongside noisy, dusty highways. We choked on diesel exhaust. And we struggled to fill the time.

We staged little contests to see who could guess how many cars would pass before one stopped. The loser had to sing a song. We sang songs from junior high music classes, like “Bicycle Built for Two” and church songs like, “Deep and Wide”.

We approached Las Vegas late in the evening before Thanksgiving and we decided to camp. We had learned that hitchhiking at night was futile since drivers couldn’t see us in time–especially where there was no speed limit like Nevada.

I rarely felt fear on the road, but camping in the open in the Mojave Desert challenged me. Thoughts of sidewinders and scorpions occupied my mind. Our sleeping bags offered little protection.

Once again, bedding played into my feelings of discomfort. Sleeping with no blankets at the commune, unzipped sleeping bags on the floor in Provo, and now in the cold, dark desert.

Also on my mind was my family. I had been away from them most of the time for nearly a year. This was my first Thanksgiving away from them. Interestingly, forty some years later, I still get a little homesick during the holidays.

Thanksgiving morning we hitched into Vegas. We had little money for food, so we bought Hershey bars for our holiday feast. Finally a driver pulled over. He said he couldn’t take us up the highway, but he invited us to his home for Thanksgiving. Heck yeah!

Pete and Shirley had several friends over for a wonderful feast. Turkey, dressing, all the trimmings. I enjoyed the company and the food. They let us stay a few days, showed us the Strip (not impressed), Hoover Dam (awe inspiring), and other sights around Vegas. Great fun. This wasn’t the only time we saw the goodness and caring of complete strangers.

From Vegas we traveled on to California. I’d never been there, and it fascinated me. The orange trees, the mountains, the levees, and all the cities named in Beach Boy songs.

Just east of Los Angeles at about 8 p.m. we found my friend Kathy Anderson’s parents’ address. Since no one answered the door, we climbed their back fence, and slept in their backyard.

An hour or so later we woke up to lights in the house. We could see her parents sitting in their living room. Not thinking, we knocked on the back sliding door. We freaked them out so badly. We were dirty, and smelly. Her parents didn’t know us, so they were very unhappy at the intrusion.

Kathy didn’t live there anymore. They called her, and she arrived a little later and took us to her apartment.

The visit was pleasant, but I had an odd impression. I had been through so much, and had changed greatly. I felt new hope and destiny. My friend was exactly the same as when I last saw her.

This strange feeling repeated itself dozens of times in the coming years. It wasn’t that I felt better than anyone–far from it. But I did feel like I was moving away from the sameness of the trials of youth, and was opening myself up to new and fresh experiences.

Much of this awakening came from Kathy’s contrasting life experiences in New England, and her city life in Boston. Southern Indiana and central Massachusetts are very different places. In a few months I saw it first hand.

After a couple of days in LA, I was ready to move north. Kathy’s brother Clint lived in San Rafael, just north of San Francisco. So we headed up the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH).

I had never before seen an ocean. Kathy thought that was a hoot. The ocean played such a strong part in her life, and in her family experience. The Pacific was one of the most beautiful and awe- inspiring sights I had seen. Its vastness and power made me feel small. But it gave me a deep appreciation for God.

The Search Continues – December 1971
Around this time, Kathy and started talking about faith, religion, and God. Here was another area where our experiences differed greatly. I grew up as an evangelical Christian. My experience at the Ellettsville Christian Church had been rich and full. Some of the ministers had had positive influences on me. Many of my friends attended there. I often felt inspired and deeply moved at the services and classes.

Kathy had two religious influences: her father’s Catholicism, and more so her mother’s involvement in the Unitarian Society. Faith played no role in their family’s life.

But Kathy showed a sincere desire for spiritual truth. We searched together. Dennis bought us a Bible, and we began studying it together. Almost every night, and sometimes on the roadside as we waited for rides, I read to her from the New Testament. It felt good. It made me feel more connected to her as we studied, discussed, and pondered.

We attended a few churches along the way. We looked pretty rough: my long hair and our grubby road clothes. I think we scared the people a little, but we always found them accepting and caring. We went to the Christian Science Reading Room and heard the story of Mary Baker Eddy. I also experienced my first Handel’s Messiah performance. I found it very moving.

Kathy and I prayed together regularly. We prayed to be led to the truth. We prayed for protection, and to be led to people whom we should meet.

One very cold evening, we camped on Malibu Beach. As we cleaned up in the public restroom, we met another sojourner. As

Kathy sat outside the restroom, brushing her beautiful brown hair, the fellow traveler asked, “Do you do that every day?” he asked it like it was a foreign concept he had never considered.

Sadly, many of the hundreds of other hitchhikers we met in our months on the road were mentally or emotionally damaged. I suppose most of the toll was from excessive drug use.

One rainy day around Monterey, a driver offered to let us stay in his beach house. He trusted us to stay there without him. He told us to help ourselves to any food in the pantry, and to throw some into our packs when we left.

The rain on the sage and eucalyptus gave off such a beautiful fragrance that it made a deep impression on me. I loved it.

In San Luis Obispo we treated ourselves to lunch at an authentic Mexican restaurant. I had enjoyed the only Mexican place in Bloomington, but it was very Gringoish. This place was the real thing. Dennis thought the salsa was like ketchup, so he liberally covered his food with it. Big mistake. We formed a bucket brigade of sorts, supplying him with water to douse the fire raging in poor Dennis’s mouth.

We continued studying the Bible, praying, and we introduced fasting to our spiritual activities. We wanted to know how to follow God. We felt an intense desire to know His will for us. We felt led in our pursuit.

I loved watching Kathy connect with the scriptures. They had no part in her family, so our study was all new discovery for her. Our discussions were filled with passion and feasting.

We began to talk about marriage. Our love had grown deeper with our spiritual quest. Thoughts of marriage came easy for me. My parents loved each other, and both found joy in their marriage. Their example made marriage look easy.

Not so for Kathy. Her parents had divorced a few years before this. Kathy never remembered them being happy together. Their marriage problems in Kathy’s teen years troubled her, and left some scars on her heart and on her emotional health. Her confidence in the institution of marriage was on the very opposite end of the scale as mine.

I wanted it–Kathy considered it.

Clint’s Place – Late December 1971 – Early January 1972
We reached Kathy’s brother’s place mid-December. Clint and his girlfriend let us lay our sleeping bags on the front room floor for a couple of weeks. We explored much of San Rafael on foot, enjoying the break from highway travel.

We hitched to San Francisco and loved the city. We enjoyed the Golden Gate bridge, Fisherman’s wharf, the hills, but mostly the incredible smells of the food. We had no money, so we had to settle for enjoying the fragrances.

We also hitchhiked south of San Francisco to pay a ticket we had received on the way up. We didn’t tell the judge we had hitchhiked from San Rafael to pay the hitchhiking fine.

As Christmas approached, our discussions of marriages moved from “if” to “when”. Due to plans for a May trip to Scandinavia with her grandmother, Kathy and I settled on a June 10 wedding at my parents’ house.

Once our plans started coming together, the sense of adventure of traveling started to wane. The appeal of sleeping bags on floors, beaches, and deserts disappeared. Our thoughts turned to starting a home life with real beds and blankets.

The day after Christmas we left Clint’s and headed back to Provo. As we left we packed up much of the remaining Christmas turkey for our road food. More than forty years later, I think Clint’s still mad about it.

When we reached Provo, we were surprised to find that Kathy’s friends and former traveling companions, Susan and Michelle, had joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Kathy was particularly impressed than typically hyper Susan sat peacefully crocheting.

Since we were continuing our spiritual quest, we decided to check out the Mormons too. Keith and Jozette Swensen began to teach us the basic beliefs of the faith. Keith did most of the teaching. He had served a two-year mission in England. Jozette eagerly confirmed and personalized the teachings.

Using flannel board figures, Keith taught us about Jesus’ role as the central figure in the plan of salvation. He explained the Savior’s atoning sacrifice for us. He told us of the deep love Jesus demonstrated as he willingly suffered for our sins, our pains, and our sicknesses.

We learned about Christ’s establishment of his church before his crucifixion. He ordained apostles and gave them charge over the church. He shared Bible verses that explained how apostles were replaced when they died, so that twelve of them led the church continually.

Keith taught about the systematic murders of the apostles, as well as the falling away from Christ’s original doctrines and church structure that occurred just a few years after his death. He called it, “The Great Apostasy”.

To this point we had no struggles with the basic teachings. We accepted them fully.

The lessons continued every day for a week. We studied, pondered, and discussed the brief assignments Keith gave us. It felt good, and it added structure to our study.

My doubts began when Keith taught us about a restoration of the original church, it’s teachings and ordinances in the nineteenth century. Joseph Smith claimed to have received a visit by God the Father and Jesus Christ. Keith told us that young Joseph received other heavenly visitors. One gave him metal plates with an ancient record which he was to translate. Others restored the priesthood authority Jesus originally gave to his early apostles.

Now my head challenged this new information. I had lived for months in a commune led by a three hundred pound man who claimed to be Jesus Christ. I saw the ugly fruits of an evil man making outrageous religious claims. I wasn’t going to fall for another fraud.

Obviously, Keith had seen such reluctance before. He calmly told us that he wasn’t asking us to take his word for it. He urged us to find out for ourselves. He and Jozette gave us a copy of the book Joseph translated from the metal plates. He challenged us to read it and to ask God if it is true.

Many people stop listening at this point. They figure that it doesn’t make sense, nor does it fit their concept of God’s dealing with humans. He doesn’t give them such direct answers to prayers. Two thousand years of interpretations on interpretations of the Bible had obscured the simple truths.

We had been praying for answers to our questions for months. How could we now refuse to read and pray about this. We may have been led here in answer to our frequent and sincere prayers.

So we accepted Keith’s challenge.

As we were preparing for life beyond sleeping bags, Kathy had begun crocheting a blanket. We saw it as the first step toward a stationary home life. So, as she crocheted, I read aloud the Book of Mormon. We found it intriguing and clear. It was easy to understand.

The stories of the people described in the book helped me want to be a better person. The teachings felt familiar and comfortable.

We prayed often, asking to know if it truly was translated from plates, and was really an account of God’s dealings with ancient Americans.

We neared the end of our formal discussions with Keith and Jozette. Still we weren’t sure what we should do. The Book of Mormon felt good. It parallels and compliments the Bible. It spoke lovingly of Jesus and answered many of my questions.

Then they introduced a teaching that sunk deep in my heart. They said that marriage need not end at the death of one of the partners. Marriage can last forever.

To a young couple so deeply in love, this new doctrine felt not just correct, but essential. If God is love, and if God is eternal, then love must be eternal.

Was this too good to be true? Was it just the romantic dreams of young lovers? We had to find out.

We decided to spend a day apart. We would ponder and pray about these things. Kathy walked out of the house one direction, and I went another. I walked to the mountains bordering Provo.

I hiked all day. I thought about the commune and it’s ugly fruits– stealing from neighbors gardens, rude and obnoxious behavior, orgies and drugs, and upper privilege of the leaders contrasted with hunger and base conditions of the rest of us.

I compared those fruits to those I saw and felt with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I thought about the Book of Mormon. It taught such simple yet deep truths. It told beautiful stories of lives reclaimed–like mine. Could this book have been written by a twenty-two year old, or was it really translated from plates?

In the late afternoon, having fasted all day, I came to a new building that had a big tent beside it. A man stood at the mouth of the tent and was waving to me, beckoning me to come to him. I found that the building was a new Latter-day Saint temple. The Provo Temple was soon to be dedicated, and was open for public tours. The man asked if I’d like to see it.

After watching a short slide program about many of the teachings Keith had been teaching us, I entered the temple for the silent tour. Posted signs told about each room and its purpose.

When I entered the room in which marriages were sealed for all eternity, I had the pivotal event of my life! I knew in my heart that I had finally found the truth I had been seeking for so long. Those years of wandering, experimenting, studying, fasting, and praying had led me to this moment.

Surprisingly, it was a moment mixed with great energy and sweet calm. I can’t describe it. I can feel it now as I write this. I have felt it consistently since.

I knew. This wasn’t hope and faith. This was sure knowledge. I was ready to make the commitment to Jesus Christ and to the church he restored.

I couldn’t wait to tell Kathy about my experience. She too had toured the temple. She related similar experiences and feelings. She too was ready to make that commitment.

I cherish that day.

To Ellettsville – Late January 1972 to Mid-February
We planned to return to Indiana, enter the waters of baptism, make a few wedding arrangements, and then hitch to Kathy’s home in Massachusetts so she could travel with her grandmother. Then we’d return to Indiana to be married.

I don’t recommend hitchhiking from Utah to Indiana in January. We froze. On one long ride in Kansas we spent hours huddled in the back of a pickup truck. It had to be around zero degrees. The low temperature combined with the high speed made the ride nearly unbearable.

We contacted the LDS missionaries and asked to be baptized. After much discussion we were challenged to live the standards of the Church for six months, and then plan to be baptized. We were hurt and disappointed. Now, many years later, we’re grateful for the wisdom and inspiration in this challenge.

Though tired of the travel, we headed east for Massachusetts.

Grafton, Massachusetts – February to May 1972
For a boy from rural southern Indiana, New England looked like old England to me. The charm of the towns was so different than the more utilitarian Midwest.

And the people talked funny. As a boy, I thought President Kennedy had a speech impediment. Turns out everyone here talks like that. Who knew?

Instead of corn, soy beans, and more corn, the farms had funny looking cows. I marveled at the cranberry bogs, the pretty towns whose name pronunciations have nothing to do with how they are spelled. The roadside diners served fried clams and lobster rolls instead of breaded pork tenderloins. The rivers looked more like creeks.

I felt like one of the Beverly Hillbillies.

I enjoyed getting to know Kathy’s mother and sisters. Her dad made me nervous. I think he made them all nervous. I feel good about the relationship he and I developed over the years.

I worked in the shipping department of a lawn chair factory on the Blackstone River (creek) while Kathy prepared for and went on her Scandinavian trip with her grandmother. Luckily, the big boxes I loaded into the semi-trucks were filled with light aluminum chairs.

The guys on the crew were fun, but not quite the encouraging group for someone about to be baptized and get married. They teased me the whole time about Kathy being swept off her feet by some suave European named Francois. I laughed but….

The few months we spent in Massachusetts helped us prepare for baptism. We attended the Worcester Ward (pronounced “Wista Wad”). Everyone there accepted us so well. We made friends with whom we still have contact.

I know people try to portray Mormons as a closed group who shun blacks, hippies, gays, and anyone different. That’s a lie. From day one to today I have seen, felt, and experienced their openness to people of all stripes. They (now “we”) may not approve of lifestyles, but we love the people no less.

My hair was still very long, so I was holding back a little I suppose. One evening, a straight-talking woman suggested I cut my hair. She explained that it was a sign of pride and rebellion, and that a rebellious spirit wasn’t in harmony with Jesus’ example or his expectations.

I pondered her suggestion. It hurt. Was I all in, or was I going to stay toward the fringe? A few days later I made a barber’s day when I let him cut off my old identity. I left fourteen inches of blond hair on the floor that day. Not only was I behaving and thinking like a Mormon, now I kind of looked like one.

We attended church, participated in activities, and continued our studies. Every day seemed to open up new and fascinating concepts.

We flew back to Indiana–my first flight ever. Who knew you could cover the same ground in two hours that took us a week just a few months before.. I would have called you crazy if you had told me that today I would be Premier Gold and Platinum on five different airline systems.

Baptism – June 8, 1972
The day we arrived at my parents home I called the missionaries and asked if we could be baptized. A couple of interviews later we set the date for Thursday, June 8.

As we gathered for the baptism, several women were eagerly working together on a quilt. I knew that women from the Church who belonged to the world’s largest women’s organization did such things. I pictured Kathy working alongside women like that.

My parents, my brother Doug, my sister Kim, and all four of my grandparents attended. Like all LDS ceremonies, it was quick, Spirit-filled, and significant. After we were baptized, they laid their hands on our heads and confirmed us members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and bestowed upon us the Gift of the Holy Ghost as described in the New Testament.

Now we were fully cleansed of the guilt of our sins. Now we were under covenant with our Heavenly Father to fully embrace the teachings of the Savior without holding back. Now we enjoyed having modern apostles, whom we could trust, to provide modern direction from Jesus Christ.

In 2010 I talked with my friend, Don, who had just been baptized. I told him to savor the energy and excitement he felt as a new convert. I told him that this was just the start, and that it only gets better. I meant it because I live it.

After the baptism, the Relief Society sisters approached us. They had made the beautiful quilt for us!

We had gone from no bedding, to uncomfortable sleeping bags, to a crocheted blanket, to a quilt made especially for us.

Our wanderings ended that day. We had found our home, and our stability in this church.

Wedding – June 10, 1972
Two days later about sixty family members and friends gathered in my parents’ yard on a windy Saturday. Kathy and I went out to some fields and gathered a bouquet of wildflowers for Kathy to hold.

The ceremony took ten minutes, and then the potluck lunch was spread out, and my good friends and neighbors, Bill and Barney, played guitar and banjo.

Mom worked so hard that day. She looked so happy and relieved. I had found my true love and a church to which I had fully committed. Not only had my nightmare of worry and confusion ended, but so had hers.

Three days later Kathy and I took two knapsacks and our new quilt to the bus station and rode to Frankfort, Kentucky to start our new life together.

We had picked the city out on the map.

Epilogue – Husband and Wife for Eternity
We enjoyed our new life. We got jobs, served in the church, and got pregnant as soon as the insurance took affect.

Sixteen months after our backyard wedding we entered the Salt Lake Temple into a room like the one in Provo where I first knew the truth of Keith and Jozette’s message. There we knelt at an altar and were sealed for time and all eternity. Even death cannot separate us now.

These two kids who had experimented with the Sixties’ approach to peace, love, and freedom found it the right way.

More than forty years later we’re better friends and lovers than ever before. We cherish our time together. Our four children have so far delivered to us eleven grandchildren destined for greatness.

Kathy returned to college once our youngest child, Adam, entered school. Eight years later she graduated from dental school. She was the only grandmother in her class. Today she owns a dental practice in Papillion, Nebraska.

David left a successful 35-year career in information technology to start his consulting business. He coaches independent professionals to the accomplishment of their goals. He also presents more than 180 live seminars per year.

And every Sunday night Kathy knits while David reads to her.

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One Response to Sleeping Bags, Blankets and Quilts: A Love Story

  1. Rod Brown says:


    I enjoyed your historical review. Very touching and shows that all things are possible.

    Take care,


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