Ice skating on the pond – #atozchallenge

Ice skating on the pond. Ninth of twenty-six posts in the April 2017 Blogging From A to Z Challenge on the theme “Whispering Chimneys: My Altamont childhood” — where my genealogy journey began. Wish me luck!

Children in upstate New York learn to ice skate right after they learn to walk. Whispering Chimneys had a pond that froze over in winter — so my skating lessons began early.

I started out with little double-bladed skates that buckled on  over my boots — tottering around on the ice while my parents yelled, “Slide, slide!”

It took a while to get the hang of it, but eventually I was sliding along with the children of my parents’ friends who visited our farm for multi-family skating parties.

The beauty of skating on the Altamont farm — and pretty much anywhere in upstate New York — was that all you needed was bitterly cold weather and ice skates, and you were good to go.

Preparing the rink

Vintage figure skates. Children in upstate New York learn to ice skate right after they  learn to walk. I learned on the frozen pond at Whispering Chimneys. By: Samantha Marx

Mom and Dad grew up in the Adirondack foothills, so they knew the drill. First up was clearing snow off the pond — usually by pushing a shovel along the surface of the ice.

Once the rough clearing was done, out came the long broom to fine dust and finish the job.

Then, for the comfort of guests, a fallen tree was hauled onto the ice to provide a log seat to rest on. Refreshments were packed up and toted along — avoiding a long walk back to the farmhouse — and the skating rink was ready!

Of course, ice skating had to be done carefully — which my Dad learned the hard way by trying a creative leap over the log. He spent the next two days in bed sitting on a hot water bottle.

Figure skates

However, I kept at it — and soon enough I graduated to single-bladed figure skates. So did my little friend Kris, who was in my dance class.

In the winter, when my parents visited Kris’s mom and dad — friends of theirs from college — Kris and I would repair to the creek across the street from her house for some serious skating.

We’d sit on a rock and lace up our skates. Then we’d scoot back and forth on the frozen creek — practicing our stops and teaching each other maneuvers — until our parents called us in.

Cold air, exercise and gliding, dance-like moves — an invigorating  foundation for a young girl to build on.

Up nextJets overhead promise and portend. Please stop back!

© 2017 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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18 thoughts on “Ice skating on the pond – #atozchallenge”

  1. I lived in the city when I was growing up and was a teenager when I learned to skate on a rink at our school. Later, when my own children were young, we lived on a lake in Michigan and they learned to skate on the lake. In later years, the lake didn’t freeze up as well and we would get thawing and freezing which made for poor skating. All the kids were grown and gone by then.

    Finding Eliza

    1. There is no clearer evidence of global warming than what you describe — the failure of northern likes to freeze over as they once did. My dad told me he and his brothers used to drive a car out on the lakes in the Adirondack foothills so they could hit the brakes and spin it around. I doubt the ice gets hard enough nowadays to do the same.

  2. What fun! I grew up on an island in Puget Sound, so didn’t usually have frozen ponds to skate on. However, two years in a row when I was in high school, we had enough cold weather for long enough to freeze the ponds, and we repaired to one of them for ice skating (for some reason, my mom owned skates, and they fit me well enough). I loved the freedom of skating on a pond, rather than in a rink, so much!

  3. We used to go as teenagers to the local ice rink. I so enjoyed your post with the ice preparation and skating on streams.

  4. Growing up on a farm in Minnesota, I also started skated young. Those double blades sound heavenly. I learned on hockey skates because it is what my older (male) cousins had outgrown. Much of my time was spent on my behind 🙂

    Emily | My Life In Ecuador | Iguanas at our bedroom window

    1. Ouch…hockey skates were the worst! No toe grips and those rounded blades. Though I do remember envying the frosty skid-stops the of the hockey players!

  5. Wow, it sounds so romantic. Growing up in Hawaii, I didn’t learn to ice skate. I’ve tried a couple of times, but the opportunity doesn’t present itself here. There is a roller skating rink on island, so maybe one day when I feel like falling a lot, I’ll check it out.
    Maui Jungalow

    1. Roller skating can be fun, too, especially the four-wheel (versus roller blade) variety. Wood is far less punishing than ice in a fall!

  6. I too have only skated on ice rinks and probably a dozen times in my life at the most. I really enjoyed it but there was never enough room on the rink to really play as it were. Too many people so you just ended up going round and round rather than doing anything really special.

    1. I’m with you on rinks. They can be awfully crowded, with amateur skaters careening here and there. At Bryant Park in Manhattan, I saw a cute innovation for children — little penguins or snowmen with handles on each side that they can push in front of them to keep their balance. Would have loved this when I first went to single blades!

  7. How fun! I’ve only been ice skating once. It was… interesting. Let’s just say I would have benefited from having double bladed skates, rather than single ones. 😉

    1. Smile…yes, they are easier to learn on! You start with super-wide — then there are intermediate narrower ones. But I remember going straight to single blade and toughing it out with lots of falls 🙂

  8. Envy you dear! All that we get to skate on…is usually at an ice rink in a upscale mall. Skating on a frozen pond…oh my my… What a luck!
    You have articulated your memory so well that felt as if I was accompanying you and Kris.
    Anagha from Team MocktailMommies
    Collage Of Life

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