Back in March, my old roommate Evonne Olson (now she has a different last name) posted a comment here asking if I remembered her. I wasn't able to write back to her because I don't have her email address. Evonne, if you read this, please email me at
I remember when you wore Gap clothes and had a postcard collection on our shared bedroom wall. I miss you. Do you remember me?
I remember Evonne very, very well. And I probably still wear those clothes! And my brother sends me postcards all the time, which I still tuck into my little book.
Evonne Gayle Olson (aka EGO) and I were roommates in Provo, UT, where I was going to Brigham Young University. Like many of my good girlfriends, Evonne thought I was an asshole at first because I got a little too competitive at Pictionary. [Oh, how many potential husbands I scared off in Provo the same way!] I won her over in the end, and eventually we became such good friends that I went into her closet and borrowed one of her dresses that she hadn't even worn yet.
Evonne was/is beautiful, with dark, straight hair, and dark eyes. She was olive-skinned and curvy and impeccably groomed. I used to love to steal her bath products from the shower. She and I liked to spend our time bouncing checks and borrowing money from each other to buy pajama pants at Old Navy.
The best thing about Provo is that nobody drinks. Now, I love to drink, but it's much more interesting when you have a town full of 25,000 young people who can't just get drunk and make out with each other. It's like the 1950's. People go out on dates--with people they don't want to sleep with! I lived there for a year and a half and I held one guy's hand the entire time and felt like a total whore. I mean I really held his hand, like really hard.
So instead of doing jell-o shots and dropping acid, people buy blocks of ice and slide down grassy hills. Here's a photo of us afterward:
Other people make short films parodying Mormon dating culture. Or go to ice cream socials. Or make fake fliers advertising piggy-back rides and hang them up. There is a lot of board game playing and skit happening. Or maybe, like, driving around and taking down oh, about 100 old yard sale signs and plastering them all over your roommate's room? Or wrapping up your roommate's possessions and giving them to her for her birthday? Or crashing AA conventions? Or starting a hair salon in your apartment even though you don't have any experience? Or anonymously and routinely heckling the boy who vaccuums the pool from behind the blinds in your living room?
This is a photo from our television theme-song/commercial medley skit. This part was The Facts of Life. I'm on the far left, playing Blair. (I wore that same sweater today!) Evonne is in the blue skirt. What a good sport; she played Natalie, and not very convincingly.
Have you seen Napoleon Dynamite? That movie was very BYU to me.
One April Fool's Day, Evonne had a make-up artist friend paint a perfect black eye on her. When people at work asked her what happened, she just looked down and said "I fell down the stairs. . ." Her co-workers were worried about her, but she never broke character, even the next day when it was magically healed.
At BYU, you have to wear shorts that come to your knee. You can't wear sleevless shirts and women have to wear one-piece bathing suits. But when I was with Evonne, it seemed normal to pretend to be Jenny in Forrest Gump, strumming (seemingly) naked behind a guitar to "I'd Like To Teach the World To Sing" in front of our entire ward (i.e. church) for a skit. I was Nell in Gimme a Break!, vaccuuming the fish tank in a tri-panel polyester mu mu with two pillows underneath.
Evonne and I drove to Denver overnight in a blizzard that was so bad, we didn't know if we were still on the road. We were the only car for hours and we had to roll the windows down and look for reflectors on either side of us to make sure we weren't in the median. It took us 12 hours and we were delirious, and when we got to Denver I spent most of my rent money at Urban Outfitters.
I stopped going to church a year after I moved to Provo. I finished the semester and then moved back to Georgia. You'd think people would have been super-judgemental and treated me like shit, but the majority of my friends there were great. My roommates were a little confused as to how I got so good at poker (I had recently learned how to play by betting clothes with my boyfriend back in Georgia), but other than one friend, everybody just treated me like I was going through a phase. And Evonne and I still had a very good time. I said goodbye to her in the Home Depot parking lot, and sang the words to "I Don't Want No Scrub" to her while I was driving away.
We stayed friends, but I changed a lot. I went through this really long, bitter, chain-smoking, contrarian thing where I shoplifted eyeshadow as a way of sticking it to the man. Bless my heart. I was so sad. In 2002, I waited outside the Oakland temple while Evonne was getting her endowments (i.e. like a super-important Mormon thing) in motorcycle boots with a hangover.
Since the one place that Evonne and I didn't meet was politics (the only time she ever pissed me off was when she told me I was overreacting to television advertising), as time went on, things changed and we weren't able to meet each other in the same way that we had before. She should have known I would go sour; I liked Alanis Morrisette a little too much. Below is the precursor of my descent into feminism, anarchy, and uber-liberalness, which (except for the anarchy) I still revel in: me burning a copy of Cosmopolitan magazine in the sink of my apartment at BYU. Note the pajama pants.
Last I heard, Evonne married a man named (god I love it) Beau, and has two children.
Those kids be hella lucky.