Mom and Dad – when they broke away from their responsibilities – sure knew how to give us a good time.
Our house stood on an extra large lot, giving Dad all kinds of excuses to create play areas for us. For three winters, Dad would build a rectangular frame, line it with heavy plastic, tamp the plastic to the inside of the frame, then nail it up and over the outside of the frame. The final touch was the many hours, over several nights, he spent spraying layer after layer of water, patiently waiting for each to freeze into a smooth surface before adding the next, until we had our very own ice skating rink.
All six of us had a pair of ice skates; none were new, but they fit well and had decent blades. Each night Mom fixed a hearty stew or hot soup, and we’d have trouble containing our enthusiasm long enough to eat and get the dishes washed. We’d bundle up, turn on the back porch light and be out on the ice until it was time to tumble into bed. Dad created a couple of makeshift hockey sticks, and we participated in hotly contested races, daring stunt maneuvers, and possibly even a little ice dancing.
What I know is my cheeks were frozen, my lips were chapped and I was having fun.
Comments on: "I is for Ice Skates" (38)
That is such an amazing story, really warmed my heart, what a lovely adorable father you have, gosh I don’t know that many would do that, a simply divine childhood memory x
Thank you, Justine. In some ways, he was just a kid himself. Having grown up quickly in his own hard-scrabble family and fighting in WWII at the age of 17, his own youth was cut short. Playing with us gave him some of that back. I love him so dearly.
Awe…that is just so adorable….you should write more on him 🙂
I plan to eventually 🙂
That’s amazing, what a magical memory x
Thank you, Lainey. Many times kids don’t recognize – at the time – what parents do for them, but with gestures like this, we knew.
Wonderfully remembered. Thank you!
Thanks, Maggie 🙂
What fun memories!
When I was a kid, I still remember one winter when the farmer’s field behind our house filled with water and then froze. The whole field turned into a giant skating rink! We went out there every single day for weeks. It’s amazing how those adventures stay with us. 🙂
Yes, they are pretty special ones. I’m glad you have similar memories. I sometimes was late coming home from school if we’d had an ice storm glaze over the snow because I couldn’t resist every tiny hill in someone’s yard on my walk home. Mom would be frantic, but I’d lost all sense of time.
What fabulous memories! I loved roller skating, but never went on ice. Always scared of cutting myself on the blades for some weird reason.
Jude, I was just the opposite. I had those rudimentary roller skates as a kid that fastened on your shoes, but the whole roller rink thing scared me!! We could have “wing-woman’d” each other through those fears.
Never had a roller rink – just skated along the pavements (and also with the skates that fastened to your shoes!). Plenty of scraped knees!
Ah, Sammy D., such memories. Spent every winter growing up ice skating on the ponds and sledding down the hills. We would come in long enough to get out of wet clothes, eat, and put dry clothes on, and back out we would go. And if the ice wasn’t ready, we built snow forts. I remember my mother had a pair of blue ice skates with blue pom poms on the end of the laces. As a little girl I though only a princess would wear such beautiful skates. Every year I would try them on hoping they would fit, like cinderella, and somehow transform me into princess. Eventually I my feet did grow enough to fit those “shoes” (skates), but having such big feet as a young teenager did not a princess make.
Thanks for all sharing all your great inspirations and memories.
Lindalh – thank you for sharing your memory! I’m so happy I could elicit that feeling from you. I shake my head at how absolutely soaked and frozen we’d be and STILL not want to come inside. One year Dad built an ice slide as well as the rink, complete with ice steps and a curve in the slide. It was amazing! And I had a friend who also had an outdoor rink in her yard. After we’d skate there, her mom would invite us in for raisin toast with our hot chocolate. I had never eaten raisin toast before. Still think of that family when I occasionally have it. I have never seen blue skates, and would have had the same imaginary longing as you wanting them to fit me. My big feet might not a princess make, but they’ve served me well for 63 years. I bet yours have done the same 🙂
How cool is that? We don’t have winters where anything freezes and everytime I hear stories like yours, I think we missed out. We did go visit the snow since it was only an hour away and we now take our teen to tube down the slopes. Still, how great to have an ice rink in your yard!
You might have missed out on skating, but I bet you had alternative activities that provide good memories. Kids do seem to love tubing these days; it’s good to get them outdoors for any kind of activity! Thanks for sharing.
I can’t imagine having a rink in our back yard. But, how fun is that? I might have to make one for next winter.
Thanks for stopping, Deb. Next winter’s bucket list 🙂
How awesome to have your very own skating rink! Some dad you had!
Yup, I love him for many reasons, and our childhood activities are certainly one of them.
Glad you added your hyperlink in comment for my other readers to find you. Am finding WordPress and BlogSpot work differently (and not always consistently!).
This is really cool, especially since we don’t have snow or ice in the winter where I live.
Thank you! I scurried over to see where you live 🙂 I am trying to look at everyone’s “about” page, but haven’t quite got everyone placed correctly yet. I liked snow better as a child than now; fortunately the mtns get more than we do in Denver.
Lovely pics and another great post. What a wonderful thing for you Dad to do. It probably kept you busy and active and sleepy by the sound of it. A very clever Dad me thinks.. Happy childhood memories are to treasure.
Thanks, Lynne. Indeed we slept well.
Wow, how fantastic. Your dad was amazing to do this for you. What lovely memories of your childhood.
Eileen @ In My Playroom (also doing the A to Z Challenge)
Eileen – thank you for stopping by. I couldn’t find your site the last time you commented, so I’m glad you returned and left your link. Your posts are so beautiful; I love seeing the photos you’ve posted and the dialect “lessons” are right up my alley. I am adding you to my “follow” list, and catching up on some of your past offerings.
sounds amazing. Your dad really knew how to entertain kids. I never learned how to skate, I guess it’s best learning when you are very young and fearless:)
Absolutely! I ice skated once as an adult and it killed my ankles. I never realized the stress to that when I was young and clueless!
You mean young and lumber. LOL.
I cannot ice-skate.
I cannot roller skate.
I cannot ride a bicycle.
And I don’t think it wise to add these to my as-yet-to-be-made bucket list… too stressful! LOL
Not even a bicycle? You can nix the other two, but I couldn’t live without my bicycle (even with all the crashes I’ve had). Maybe an adult tricycle or one of those low to the ground 2-wheelers?
Wow. It might be so interesting to have your own personal skating rink. Having lived in India and the middle East all my life, have never experienced snow or freezing temperatures. I wish I could!