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.