Thursday, June 07, 2007

Alice's Plaid Skating Costume

When Alice was in grammar school her Mother made her a plaid skating costume. For years, it was her favorite outfit. The other day, her Mother gave it to a family friend named Morgan who is a skater, too. Morgan recently cut off her long curls to make a wig for cancer patients. Mother thought she deserved the plaid costume for that.
The costume always makes Alice think of Sun Valley since that is where she and her sister had their photos taken one Summer in the early 1970's for figure skating competition programs and Christmas cards. Sister Catherine skated there twice at the Summer competition. Isn't her spread eagle great?! She had a fantastic delayed double axel. A jaw-dropping layback spin... She won a lovely silver plate one year for a win. Alice went along one Summer to watch the competition and wander around Sun Valley thinking about the Peggy Fleming TV show filmed there a couple of years before hand. Peggy skated on the pond in front of the Lodge instead of the outdoor rink out back where the big outdoor rink is still today. Alice spent a lot of time looking at the ducks in that pond that Summer thinking about how it would look in Winter. Peggy has always been one of Alice's favorite skaters. Her Mom, too, made all her competition outfits. Peggy was - and is still today - always graceful and elegant. Always feels the music. Powerful without apparent effort. Beautiful hands and arms. And, most often looking like she was having a lot of fun no matter how cold the ice and air might be. A real lady on and off the ice.Other favorites of Alice are Tenley Albright and Carol Heiss. Radiating joy and confidence on the ice. Fast and sleek. A sense of fun. Otto and Maria Jelinek are favorites, too. Alice has lost count of how many times she has read the book by their brother about how they escaped Communnist Prague and beat the Soviets years later in their own former hometown.
Jacqueline Du Bief and Sarah Hughes still have some of the best Falling Leaf jumps ever. Power and joy. Exuburance for life.
Jacqueline and Sarah make that Sun Valley poster from the 1940s look a little scary. That model.... needed to relax the face and neck.... a lot. Barbara Ann Scott and Sonja Henie are always fun to watch, but - have to say - the costumes of their day were quite weird with baggy pants and much too much bent legs on entrances and exits to jumps in Alice's humble opinion.
Well! Maybe Morgan will take the plaid skating costume back to Sun Valley and do a lovely thing on the ice. Or maybe to St. Moritz where Barbara Ann skated, or Grenoble for Peggy, Cortina for Tenley, Squaw Valley for Carole..... Maybe doing fast sitspins as Alice loved to do. Or a spiral. Or maybe even a falling leaf. A great one. With her own style.
Peggy in her "The Long Program" book wrote a credo that fits me perfectly everyday I walk outside with my leash pulling Alice along always forward while listening to the world. I'll bet with that plaid costume, Morgan will learn a credo, too, if she hasn't already.

I find a calm spot in the center of my soul.
I am gliding, moving free.
I feel as if I will never stop.
I push, floating on the music,
always becoming something new.