Sunday, November 25, 2007


I posted pictures of the city rink in downtown center. I rather wish I could skate there, if only briefly. But, I'd probably fall and break something .
I didn't learn to skate at a rink. I first learned to skate on a pond out in the lava beds in back of my Grandfather's meadow. We would all pile into either the pickup or old jeep. Then It was a rough and bumpy ride down the road, then through the barnyard. Out the cattle lane to the meadow and rattlety, humpetty, across the empty wheatfield to the lava rocks.
One Christmas My older brother and I asked for ice skates for Christmas. Because we had sort figured we might be able to find a pond we could use. We thought maybe the millpond. However, it never really froze over or deep enough. Too much turpentine and such in the water. Dad said we might be able to use a lava rocks pond. We would find a way to get to it. And we did. Some years there was snow on the ice, so my Dad and older brother made a big snow scraper out of wood. We just left it over there all the time. Rather than tote it back and forth.
It was always very cold of course, we tried to dress warm enough. One time I did get frost bitten on my hips, even with wool trousers. and a pair of my Dad's long undies. Just the leggings. I wore woolly under shirts in winter.
I believe I decided not to skate anymore that particular winter. My brother and some of my cousins did though. It's a guy thing.
I was never very good at skating. I seem to have a built in balance problem. I had quite a time trying change feet. The first year, I would glide on my left foot, and push myself with right foot. I just tried to get the feel of the ice and the skates. Other kids just put on their skates and take off. Maybe a fall or two. But otherwise, off they go. They would laugh at me. But I ignored them. They were only my stupid boy cousins anyway. Boys always laugh at girls. I did eventually get so I could change feet and sort of get a hang on the balance thing. No spins or twirls. Just straight skating.
When we went over to skate, Dad would throw on a big old truck tire on the vehicle to take over. When we got to the skate place, The tire would be set fire, and that's what we used for heat and light. The tire lasted about two hours or so. Just as long as we skated. You can't toast over that though. If we did have a sort of skating party with some other kids. Dad would build a small wood fire for us to toast over. We extinguished it as soon as the food was gone.
I am not sure how many years we skated or how often. Perhaps as long as I was in grammar school and when I was in high school. Then perhaps once a week. On weekends or Christmas.
There are pictures of some of those times. I thought I had a couple. But, I don't. I have to ask my oldest nephew to send me our family pics. I keep forgetting to.
So, here is a photo of the lake in fall, before the freeze. Where I'm standing was our skate landing.
The picture is very old and somewhat faded. Just a regular snapshot.

1 comment:

LauraHinNJ said...

I 'learned' to skate on a little pond as well, though I'm still not very good at it. Lots of fun though. Thanks for sharing these memories.

Where did you grow up?