I am not one easily to anger and am someone quick to forgive, but I must confess there is one grudge I have held against my husband all the years I have known him. Dorothy Hamill is the reason for this grudge.
Dorothy Hamill meant the world to me. She was the reason my parents spent countless dollars and endless hours in support of my love of ice skating. Figures in the stillness of pre-dawn hours, lessons for jumps and spins, practice for perfection long after the sun had set. Olympic glory for one young girl, a person to emulate for another.
Wedged hair and over-sized glasses, white mittens and boots to match. The fastest skater, the highest jumper, I strove to skate like Dorothy. The freedom of movement gliding across the ice to beautiful music let others observe a confidence I couldn't see in myself.
It was this revealed confidence that one special hockey player saw in me, planting the seeds for True Love to bloom. That love found me on the ice I owe to Dorothy Hamill and for sheltered immaturity, I owe to her as well.
Hours dedicated to skating didn't allow for time with peers. Overly sensitive to words not understood or looks that seemed disapproving made navigating First Love so difficult for me. Break-ups and make-ups seemed to fill my days.
How could my heart possibly forgive my boyfriend for taking another to watch Dorothy Hamill on ice during one of our break-ups. She meant everything to me.
In the days leading up to my surgery, I distracted myself by reading a memoir penned by Dorothy Hamill, "A Skater's Life". I was so surprised to learn that she too found relief from crippling shyness through the freedom of movement on ice, but as well found her heart isolated from maturity. There is so much about our life's stories that are the same.
When the time came to be released from the hospital, I refused the nurses help to dress but found I couldn't put on my own shoes. I motioned my husband close and whispered in his ear, "Will you help me with my shoes?" As he kneeled on the floor before me, his hair now silver with age, the knowledge that he knows of my confidence not always seen by others, washed over my heart and forever erased my one and only grudge. Dorothy Hamill, you remain my hero!