You know I'm the sentimental type, and I'm particularly nostalgic about growing up in Provo (please note that I'm completely proud of myself for not attending university there...) Two of my favorite things about Provo are there no more.
This morning the Provo Tabernacle burned. The roof collapsed at about 6:00 am.
Such a magnificent structure! We used to attend stake conference there, and my seminary graduation was there. In fact, one of my most embarassing moments EVER happened during my seminary graduation.
Back when I graduated from seminary, the entire seminary graduated in the same ceremony. (Apparently stakes in the Salt Lake Valley hold individual graduations for seminary seniors now - is that how it is everywhere?) There were probably about 250 of us graduating. Graduates were presented alphabetically by stake and by ward. My stake was the very last stake, and my ward was the last ward. I was the only graduate from my ward, so that made me the very last graduate. I was wearing a navy blue dress with a cinched waist and large white polka dots (very Princess Di).
The tabernacle had stairs leading up to the pulpit, and we had to climb those stairs, walk across the stand, and then walk down the other side. Our stake president and bishop were supposed to be standing on the downward side, but I remember my bishop running up the stairs to get to his place. See how there are 3 or 4 steps and then a landing? Well I figured I'd just meet him further down, and in my haste I slipped off a landing and tripped down a few steps. My bishop caught me so I don't remember landing on the floor, but all of that grace I'd built in my mind flew right out the window...
I loved that the mother's lounge had a great big window so that the moms could still see who was speaking. I thought that room was where people took their crying children (I wasn't around many nursing moms). If I remember correctly it was beneath the balcony on the south side of the structure (that's too the left in the photo above).
The other Provo landmark? His name is Jesse Marrott. In my mind he was the bishop when my dad passed away, but that may not have been the case. Regardless, he was my bishop for a long time. He was also my home teacher, and by the time I was in high school he had been ordained the stake patriarch and gave me my blessing.
For a long time our bus stop was next to the Marrott's home, and I remember walking up the street, past the orchard, and waiting in line on the sidewalk. Jesse would be outside many mornings in his overalls doing something near his truck (I think it was a Dodge). He'd always smile and wave.
I remember his hands being pudgy and rough, but they had softness in them too. I never once doubted that that man loved me. Maybe that's why I loved him right back.
Tomorrow I'll be attending Jesse's funeral, which is being held in the church house that was built in that orchard. The church was built after I left home, but there are so many people who still live in that nieghborhood that I'm fond of. Can't think of a better place to spend a few hours remembering an incredible man.