Honorable Mention

Love is Blind

Subumitted By: Edward & Jo Anne Anderson

Both of us had moved to Arizona for health reasons. Ed in 1948 from Washington DC to save his vision and Jo Anne in 1956 to overcome eczema and asthma.

In fact, Ed’s parents moved to Scottsdale, and Ed was sent to the Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind in Tucson as a sight saving measure. Having lived in Tucson, he had become a Wildcat fan but his parents wanted him to move home to go to college, and they purchased a home in Tempe so that transportation would not be a problem for him.

Jo Anne was told by her physicians that she had to move to a warm, dry climate, and she attended Buckeye Union High School during the second semester of her senior year. Her friends at BUHS were planning on attending Arizona State College, and she just followed suit. The climate did for her what needed to be done, and why not go to college…her Buckeye friends would be there.

Jo Anne was a freshman at Arizona State College in the fall of 1956 and at that time affiliated with the campus Lutheran Student Association. Being a farm girl from Minnesota and far removed from her “culture,” one of the familiar cultures was that of her church.

Now it was the fall of 1957, Jo Anne Everson, a farm girl from Minnesota, was a sophomore at Arizona State College and Edward Anderson, a big city boy from Washington DC, was a sophomore and a half at Arizona State College.

For whatever reason, Edward had not attended the Lutheran Student Association functions until the fall of 1957. It was probably a good thing, because Jo Anne had a Minnesota boyfriend who was in the Air Force and with whom communications had stopped during the summer of 1957.

So fall 1957 was a fresh start and wouldn’t you know it, just prior to The Star Formal, the annual girl ask boy formal dance, Ed and Jo Anne met at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church at the Sunday night Lutheran Student Association dinner meeting.

Before the dinner was over, Jo Anne asked Ed if he would like to go to the Star Formal. He said “yes.” She told him that she lived at Wilson Hall, and that was the end of conversation.

A few days later, Dianna, an ASU student living at Wilson Hall, knocked on Jo Anne’s door, introduced herself, and said they would be double dating for the Star Formal.

She said, “You know Ed doesn’t drive.” I thought, how strange; I had been driving since I was 15! And then she said “You know that he is blind?” Blind! I thought that she must have mixed me up with somebody else! He didn’t appear blind to me.

But as it turned out, she was right. Ed was a graduate of the Arizona State School for the Deaf and the Blind, and he didn’t drive. But, that really didn’t make any difference.

The Star Formal arrived as did Ed and with a beautiful corsage and as handsome as I had remembered. He turned out to be a great dance, had a great sense of humor, and we had a wonderful time. At the end of the evening as all dates gathered at the front door of Wilson Hall, he kissed me goodnight and I went up to my room knowing that “this is the man I am going to marry.”

To this date, he often tells people that on our first date, The Star Formal, we went to Riazzi’s on Van Buren for pizza after the dance, and it was the first time that “the farm girl from Minnesota” had ever tasted pizza.

The second date was a LSA camping trip to the Grand Canyon, and it almost didn’t happen for us. This was “pre cell phone” and nobody was on desk duty at Wilson Hall on Saturday at 6 a.m., and Jo Anne’s alarm didn’t go off. Lucky for us, a back door of Wilson Hall had been left ajar, and so the LSA group leader got up to Jo Anne’s room to awaken her.

As the relationship developed, Jo Anne became a “reader” for Ed; therefore, spent many hours at his home getting to know not only him but also his family.

Dating wasn’t always easy for us as we didn’t have a car. Ed had a bicycle and that was often our mode of transportation- and that was before bicycling was an accepted mode of transportation for college students!

It was an exciting time at Arizona State College, as students were marching to get the college to become Arizona State University and a new football stadium was being built at A Mountain.  
We were both studying to become teachers. So, in the second semester of our senior year Ed moved to Tucson to do his student teaching at the Arizona State School for the Deaf and the Blind. He did so under the direction of his former biology teacher, Dr. Betty Hannah.

Jo Anne did her student teaching at Tempe Union High School under the direction of Mrs. Johnson in the Office Education Department.

Both of us needed to earn some money as we planned to get married as soon as we graduated. Jo Anne worked part time as a salesgirl at Peggy’s Dress Shop on Mill Avenue and Ed worked part time as a busboy at Louie’s Lower Level at the Student Union at the University of Arizona. He renamed it “Louie’s Lowest Level.”

We graduated from Arizona State University in the new Sun Devil Stadium on Friday, June 3, 1960 and got married at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (where we had met at LSA) on Saturday, June 4, 1960.

During our senior year at Arizona State, we had purchased a used car so that I could drive to Tucson to visit Ed. Unfortunately, the used car had a broken bell housing, and the car dealer would not stand behind his product, so it took most of our money to fix the car. Thus instead of flying to Acapulco, Mexico for our honeymoon, we took the bus from Nogales. How great it was to be young and naïve!

We moved to Tucson where Jo Anne took a business education teaching position at Pueblo High School and Ed began teaching at the Arizona State School for the Deaf and the Blind. Our yearly salaries were $4,500 and $4,000 respectively.  

 In 1961, we purchased our first house for $12,500. The mortgage company was reluctant to give us a loan as we were newly married, and they didn’t want to count my salary as I might become pregnant and pregnant women were not allowed to teach! But we persisted, and we got our loan. We moved into our first home at 3545 West Merlin Road and purchased a mattress- there wasn’t money for anything else and credit cards were non-existent!

We lived and worked in Tucson for 45 years. Ed became principal of the department for the blind and Jo Anne become department chairman of office administration and technology at Pima Community College. We both earned Master of Education degrees from the U of A.

During our 45 years in Tucson, we always had season tickets to ASU football. Even though Ed had lived in Tucson and attended many U of A athletic events with students from ASDB, it didn’t take him long as an ASU student to become an ardent Sun Devil. So, living in Tucson for 45 years wasn’t always easy for him.

As teachers, we never had enough money to support our dreams, so in 1986 we affiliated ourselves with NuSkin Enterprises, a home-based business. This affiliation not only provided us with financial security but also expanded our horizons and relationships. One example is having met and having the privilege of working with Danny White, the former ASU and Dallas Cowboy quarterback that we had cheered on for so many years.

We have two daughters. Jennifer lives in Hollywood and just launched a cooking show, “Gen’s Guiltless Gourmet.” Lisa is a pastry chef who lives in Aspen and is the one who introduced us to Colorado while she was a pastry chef at The Hotel Jerome in Aspen.

We moved to The Roaring Fork Valley in Colorado in 2005; however, we return to ASU for homecoming, football and other special occasions. It is always a walk through memory lane to stroll through the campus and recall the “remember when’s.”

Where did these 50 years go? You know, people often quote “out of the worst of times come the best of times” and this love story is a good example of that. It wasn’t easy for either of us to have left our birth places and as teenagers move to Arizona. But, how fortunate for us that “fate” intervened, and both of us ended up as students at Arizona State College or this love story would just be another fictional story, a figment of someone’s imagination!

Of course, there is much more to be told, as Paul Harvey would say “stay tuned for the rest of the story.” Now, we are about to become grandparents on February 14 of this year. So, the love story continues. And, who knows, maybe we will be celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary with a 2 night stay at the Tempe Mission Palms!