it was on this night, in 1992, that biff and i actually spoke to each other for the first time. we had been ice skating at christopher morley park for a few skating seasons. we always noticed each other while skating....yet, were both there to skate, not date.
actually, i was there to skate because i just wanted to do something i loved, since i was a little girl. i have sweet memories of my dad taking me to christopher morley skating rink to skate. i had never skated at a public rink before. i had only skated on polliwog pond, in manhasset, nearby.
polliwog was a neighborhood pond.....always filled with the neighborhood kids. we'd walk down to polliwog, sit on the most comfortable log we could find, lace up....in very cold weather, with freezing hands and feet.....before we even started to skate. no fire to warm up, no little hut, nothing.....but lots of kids playing pick up hockey games and others swirling and twirling about......no parents to hover over us, check our mittens, hats and coats or skates....no parents to observe proper play....no rules.....only the kids' unspoken rules....that took care of themselves. as far back as i can remember, we all had some generic skates or hand me downs......no high tech gear....no special socks....no goretex...no northface. just winter stuff! til we were so frozen, we could barely unlace our skates.....or we just walked home, with the skates on.
the only fancy pants accessory that i remember having were my bright pink, poofy pom poms on my skates. i remember my dad driving my best friend and i downtown to phil's sportshop, a local store with the owner in the store, selling local stuff like football, baseball jerseys of the local teams, he sold sneakers, socks, skates and the stuff of smalltown, mom n pop shops. we don't have many of those small time stores anymore....no local sports stores selling to the local community, knowing the names of the parents, the kids and the coaches. in fact, before the credit card days of today, phil let everyone buy on credit, if necessary.
so, it was during the winter of 1990 that i decided to get myself back on the ice....i had moved back to my hometown....i was "boyfriend free" at times. even the boyfriends that i dated at the time, never really wanted to skate with me. oh sure, there were a couple that i dragged out to the ice, as a romantic date, but there really wasn't that skater spark with those dates. that was o.k. because i had decided to just enjoy dating...just sampling a little of this and a little of that, like the bakery.
since i had such fond memories of ice skating, i decided to take my little niece skating. she was about 6 or so. we skated each winter and she was really a quick study...we had lots of fun...skating round and round and round....we were skating buddies. she was great company....mostly, better than some of my dates in those days....probably a better skater too!
thursday nights were our favorite nights to skate. i'd get home from the city after work, get changed, pick up my niece and lace up. we loved the music, the lights, the families and friends. we skated almost every thursday night, sometimes saturdays and sundays.
every thursday night, i noticed another skater. he was cute. he had hockey skates, nicely worn jeans, colorful windbreaker, baseball hat, horned rim glasses and a bushy mustache. i loved watching him zip by....every week. i really wasn't there to meet guys, so i would see him....and make up my own story about him...probably worked down the road at brooks brothers....gets out of work and stops by the rink.
he skated alone. i skated with my sweet niece.
to make a long story long, i'll wrap it up with the best part. i was clueless. our timing was perfect. on this night, 18 years ago, i was skating alone. my niece had a cold. i skated round and round. endorphins, the reason that kept me coming back, and the exercise that kept me in great shape. i skated til the end of the session, as usual. the brooks brothers guy was there, he skated til the end of the session, as usual.
i unlaced my skates. what a great feeling. skating gave me a natural high. i took my skates off, walked over to the towel, wiped off the blades, tossed them over my shoulder, and walked up the ramp toward the parking lot. and just at the top of the ramp, i looked up ahead, and my "brooks brothers" guy was there.....when he made eye contact he said, "where's your girl?"
our story has gotten exaggerated over the years. now, my "brooks brothers" guy, biff, says that i answered something to the effect of......."MY girl...that's NOT MY girl...that's my niece....i haven't had a date in ages"......not quite, maybe?
the best part of the story comes from biff.....it turns out, he was trying to talk to me since the last season...not session....season! he says that i was always busy talking to may niece.....he said, he was never sure if she was my daughter cuz we looked alike. he said i always wore gloves, so he couldn't see if i was wearing a wedding ring. we were engaged a year later....on the ice at rockefeller center!
he later said that he tied his sneakers twice....so our timing would be the same. so, our timing was great. i still thank my niece for staying home with her cold. it was the start of a fun skating and dating life....that still continues today.
we laugh, because it all started just because of biff's three words....."where's your girl?"