In the spring of 1972, I had signed a contract with Brigham Young University Genealogical Research Center to direct American Research. The research was done by students who were taking classes in research methodology and doing actual research on various problems that had been commissioned by individuals and family organizations. This approach allowed the students to search various records outlined by the directors at the center, of which I was one. Their results would be analyzed and scrutinized and then the research results would be reported to the commissioning patron or organization. I left Burns, Oregon where I had been teaching 7th and 8th grade science at Lincoln Jr. High School the previous three years.
Being single and living in the high desert country of eastern Oregon some 140 miles from the nearest city, Bend, I had no opportunity to date as I was not interested in the "cow-girl" type of woman from Burns or surrounding area. The industries were logging and ranching. I was twenty-eight years old, and was ready for a change of profession as well as a change of life.
I don't recall the exact circumstances, but the only person I 'sort-of' knew was a second cousin who lived in Provo. My father's cousin, Zoe James, had a daughter Susan whose husband's name was Gary Jensen and arrangements were made to stay with them in their apartment on Second East and Center Street where they were living at the time. I don't recall I had ever met Gary, but I was invited to stay while I looked for an apartment.
I arrived there on the weekend, and they invited me to go to church with them on Sunday since Gary was going to be sustained as one of the counselors in a BYU student ward. I agreed to accompany them. During the following week, I found a three room apartment consisting of a living room, a very small kitchen, and a bedroom on Second South and First East. I was soon moved in, and because I had already attended the BYU Ward (an LDS Church designation) where Gary served -- it was a combined singles and married ward -- I continued to attend there.
During the month of June, I drove from my apartment to attend church meeting at the Harris Fine Arts Center classrooms on campus, and after the meetings drove home. In July, I was assigned to be a Home Teacher (an ecclesiastical designation) to teach a Diane Jolley who lived around the corner from my apartment with her parents, Leland and Rhea Jolley at 243 South 200 East. My companion (whose name I don't recall) and I went to visit about the middle of July, and found Diane and her mother. Apparently, my companion had quite a bit of homework and he was not happy that our visited lasted a couple of hours. I don't recall that we had much conversation exchanged between Diane and us, but her mother certainly had a lot to say!
On July 24th, Diane and I had our first date. I had asked her before if she would go out with me, and she had another date but she indicated that she would be happy to another time. I had determined that if I asked a girl for a date, and she refused me, it would be the last time I would ask. Backing up: In the month and a half that I had been working in Provo at the Genealogical Research Center, I had a secretary who seemed to have a "crush" on me and we had dated two or three times. Then she went back to Michigan (which was "home" to her) for a couple of weeks the end of July and beginning of August. It was during this time that I began to date Diane. When I told her that I was now dating another girl, she broke into tears and sobbed. "I'll never find a guy as good as you!" She apparently had had other plans.
In our conversations, Diane told me that she had noticed me at church (I usually sat at the front of the classroom in the center), and I had noticed her sitting towards the back of the room in the first row of desks but I didn't know her name. I told her that I never noticed or paid any attention to that brunette who sat at the back of the room and always wore her hair "on top of her head!" She had thought that I was married, so she didn't pay a lot of attention but certainly knew I was there. It wasn't until I was assigned as her Home Teacher that I knew her name.
She said that every Sunday as she left the Harris Fine Arts Center after church, this strange guy (referring to me) was always following her home. Every time she looked in the rear-view mirror, I was following her. She couldn't figure out why I was following her! She and I drove the same route from campus since we lived about half a block away from each other. We also found, later, that neither of us were living within the boundaries of the ward we were attending.
By the second week of August, I had no desire to date the secretary in the office but was visiting Diane daily at her parents' home. On August 24th we decided to get married. This occurred on October 12, 1972 but that's another story. I was teaching genealogy in various venues that summer and Diane accompanied me. We found that we had much more "connection" than our meeting of this summer and the events that brought us together.
I grew up in northern Utah, had taught in Wyoming, then in Oregon, and finally ended up in Provo in 1972. She had lived in Provo all her life. As we compared notes, we found that my grandfather, William Henry Adams Jr. and his father William Henry Adams (my 2nd great-grandfather) had settled in Pleasant Grove, Utah (some twenty miles north of Provo) where the senior William Henry Adams was one of the first settlers there. In fact, he was one of four who surveyed the area and he established where he would settle and have his farm. At the time it was called Grove Creek. Henry Jolley was one of the large families that arrived there in the first company. He was from Tennessee, and when he died in December 1850 shortly after arriving there, he was buried on the Adams farm. Henry Jolley was Diane's 4th great-grandfather.
It was in early 1850 that William H. Adams had been asked by Brigham Young to scout a new place south of Salt Lake and he with three others had surveyed Grove Creek. On July 19th they started to survey a town site. They returned to Salt Lake to report and bring their families to the new valley. But Wiliam's wife had a new baby on the fifth of August so the Adams family remained in Salt Lake for about two months. The others arrived there in September 1850. While in Salt Lake, a John Banks (Diane is his 2nd great-granddaughter) with his wife and two children had just arrived and the Adams family befriended them. William offered to share their ground in Grove Creek with them. So the John Banks famly made their home there also.
Some years later, my second great-grandfather Matthew Caldwell became the first mayor of Spanish Fork, Utah. His daughter, Melissa Jane, was the first white child born in Spanish Fork in a dugout. She later married William Henry Adams Jr., my great grandfather. While Matthew Caldwell served as mayor, my wife Diane's Banks ancestors served as aldermen in Spanish Fork. Thus we see that some five generations later, I moved to Provo and met Diane and once again these families were brought together through our meeting and marriage.
Coincidence, or divine intervention? Diane and I believe that it was certainly more than coincidence--but you decide!
I, too, believe in divine intervention, Golden. Neat story. My husband always says if you go back about 8 generations, everybody is related - but you, being a "real" genealogist, would know all about that.
Golden, to begin with this may be the most important personal history story your descendants will ever read. You have really done a spectacular job of detailing one of the most pivotal era's of your life and how it connects back for generations.
Secondly, there is no explanation for this other than divine intervention, especially where it involves such a major "fork in the road" of your entire life. It is truly a great story.
I think coincidences do occur but so do divine interventions. If, for example, I spent my entire childhood with only 2 best friends and one of them connected with me decades later, it is possible that at any one pause in the conversation the two of us could simultaneously say something like, "Have you heard from Jack?" There are other coincidences that are far more compelling as that such as the one I told in the Teddy Davis story. But, those have no real life changing meaning. When these events occur that save a life, or find a life long partner, etc, those are divine interventions in my meager view.
That said, I would bet on divine intervention when it comes to meeting Diane. Great story!!!