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Sleds and Skates and Lack of Grace



Trivia Question

What 1953 movie did Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell star in?


Sleds and Skates and Lack of Grace

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I have never declared myself to be a graceful person, for good reason. As a child, I loved being active, but I was more tomboy than ballerina, much to my mother's chagrin. After three boys she was hoping for a change. I learned to throw a dodgeball and field a grounder like my brothers, but, alas, I couldn't dance or jump rope or do gymnastics like my nimble girlfriends, try as I might. I was tall and gangly and would trip over my own two feet more often than not.

This was never more evident than in the winter, when sledding and ice skating were our favorite pastimes. My siblings and I were blessed to grow up on the edge of town, with a hill and a river bottom behind the garage that transformed into a winter playground for us every year. Our private park attracted kids from all over town whenever the snow fell and the river water froze. We were largely unsupervised, as most kids were back then, which led to many bumps, bruises, gashes and gouges, and a few close calls that now make me shudder as a mom. It was a time of risk-taking and double-dog dares that would astound today's bubble-wrapped generation. And I was always in on it.

The problem with my no-holds-barred involvement was the aforementioned lack of gracefulness and agility. If we played "crack the whip" on the ice, I was always the one on wobbly skates who went flying off into the snowbank. If we built ramps and jumped them with our sleds, I was the one who would land on my face, scraping off a layer of freckles much like Tamara Moran-Smith did in A Sledding Slip-Up in the January/February issue of Good Old Days. And if one of the boys needed a volunteer to pull behind the snowmobile through the trails, using some cheap plastic skis that strapped to our snow boots, I was the one who raised my hand. This (unsurprisingly) resulted in bone-jarring, "agony of defeat"-style wipeouts.

Eventually, I would have to drag my klutzy, battered self up the hill and take refuge in Mom's warm kitchen. She would raise a knowing eyebrow, fix a cup of hot chocolate and tend to whatever injury I had sustained that afternoon.

And then she would ask me again if I wanted to try ballerina lessons.

'Til next time,

Mary Beth Weisenburger,
Good Old Days® magazine

PS. What were you not so good at playing or doing in your Good Old Days, try as you might? We want to hear about it! Send a brief response to me at Editor@GoodOldDaysMagazine.com, and it could appear in a future update or in Good Old Days magazine! Below is an email response from the Nov. 28, 2018, update question: Did you get music lessons in your Good Old Days? Who taught you?

Kathy Patterson shared, "I never had the privilege of taking music lessons, as my mom couldn't carry a tune in a basket and didn't care. This was brought home to me as an adult when I looked at a wall in my childhood living room and commented that there would have been room for a piano there. The truth finally came out! My seven children, however, were all blessed with the 'World of John Thompson'; some followed his piano courses through eighth grade and some through high school and college. Two of them currently hold positions with our local symphony and the band department at our local high school. They didn't just take piano, though -- the oldest took clarinet, and then down the line we have an oboist, flutist, saxophonist, two percussionists and a trumpet/trombone/baritone player. For a while my motto was, 'Don't worry -- there IS life after fifth-grade band!' After enjoying all those concerts, I now look forward to my grandchildren's concerts. They play the French horn, trumpet, flute, cello and recorder!"


Mary Beth Weisenburger has been with Annie's since April 2011. She has 25 years of experience in the marketing, advertising and publishing fields. In addition to her job as editor of Good Old Days, she has been writing a family humor column for over a decade. She and her husband, two college-age kids, two dogs and various other critters live on five acres in the country, where she enjoys reading on the back porch, refinishing furniture, feeding the birds and digging in the dirt of her perennial gardens.


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Trivia Answer

Gentleman Prefer Blondes. Both Monroe and Russell play showgirls in the film. One of the best-known scenes is when Monroe sings Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend.

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