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Thursday, October 24, 2019

Skating and Me

That's me on the frozen lake behind the house where I grew up. I loved to ice skate. I used to go backward and twirl around until I was dizzy. However, I never jumped. I never took lessons. I just watched other people and then I would imitate their moves. Maybe if an Olympic ice skating star lived in the neighborhood, I could have been a better skater. Nevertheless, I couldn't wait for the lake to freeze over so I could tie on my skates and glide smoothly around the ice as I hummed "The Skater's Waltz."

My mother made platters of homemade doughnuts for the entire neighborhood as well as homemade hot chocolate. My father put a floodlight on the back of the house and directed the beam of light on the ice so we could skate in the long, dark winter evenings. Everyone skated. Everyone was outdoors in the cold weather. The internet had not been invented yet--nor had cable TV come about. We had time to play outdoors--after we finished our homework and our chores.

I grew up, got married and moved twelve miles away from home. I still loved skating. Whenever the lake froze over, I packed up the kids and went to my parents' house to skate. I am guessing I'm in my late thirties in the photo above. (No date on the back of the picture, but I remember the coat.) My daughters went skating, too. Hubby went with us but he never liked it. He was afraid he would fall.

I fell millions of times. I probably fell at least once every time I was out on the ice. It never bothered me--until several years ago when the doctor told me I have osteopenia, the precursor of osteoporsis. Then I also wound up with wonky knees. No fun!

So now I don't skate because I'm afraid I'll fall and break a bone, which is really sad. But I do have memories and I can still hum "The Skater's Waltz," so if I close my eyes I can pretend I'm twirling around on the ice.

It's also the reason I decided to write Clear as Ice. The heroine in the book was once an Olympic skater. The setting is that little lake back home where sometimes the ice freezes so clear you can see the turtles resting in suspended animation beneath the ice. It's rather magical--or at least, I think so.

Pre-Order it now at Amazon!


MarkD60 said...

If you can skate backwards, you are an excellent skater. I roller skated for a few years as a kid but could never go backwards. It took me the whole skating session to get warmed up so that I could skate forward decently. Then my friends and I would play roller derby.
Plus you're a good looking girl! I'da loved to skate with you when the disco light ball was spinning!

MarkD60 said...

Oh yeah,
screwit. If you want to skate, skate. Can't worry about falling down. You'll be OK.

Unknown said...

I too skated my whole life, when my kids started scouting, some of our field trips were to the local ice skating rink. Unfortunately, there wasn't any pond for us to skate on, but, and this is really wild... We would skate on the frozen driveway in the wintertime! LOL The garage was on the same level as the house, set at the back of my parents property. The driveway dipped in a decline and about half of it would collect water and freeze over to street level. Later I took lessons, I could pirouette, snowplow stop, lunge, do several other tricks, never well, but good enough to skate without falling. Then, I broke my ankle falling in the parking lot of my school and did permanent damage, my skating days are long over, but I still love watching it!

Dottie :)

Penelope Marzec said...


I went roller skating and thought it was much harder than ice skating. The roller skates were heavy! Of course, roller blades had not been invented yet when I was young.

I really liked being out on the lake, skating at an indoor rink was confining. On the lake, I had a lot more freedom.

Penelope Marzec said...


Too bad about the broken ankle. :^(

But skating on a frozen driveway had to be great fun.

Once, the Little League ball field in town froze over. It was a perfect sheet of glass. I had fun skating there!

grace graupe-pillard said...

Love this skating story. I too ice skated in NYC at Wollman Memorial Rink in Central Park.

Penelope Marzec said...


Sure wish you had a photo of you as a youngster at the rink. :^)

Anita Klumpers said...

I love this memory! And that you used it as a springboard for your story. It looks so good!

Penelope Marzec said...

I’m glad you enjoyed the memory. As far as using it for a springboard, it wasn’t hard because I really did love ice skating. :-)