To Carl and Scott, Winter 1954-1955

I had known him for three months. If I wanted to see him on weekends, I’d have to learn to ski. My sister had size 12 ski boots she would loan to me. His high school classmate wanted to sell her old skis for $5. I emptied my piggy bank, went to the ski shop on Holly Street and bought a pair of ski pants. I had my cotton jacket that looked okay with the pants. I had my red plaid wool scarf and a pair of mittens. I was ready to go to the mountains with my boyfriend.

Lo and behold it snowed in Bellingham. When the snow started building to about six inches, my boyfriend said he’d take me to Fairhaven Park and teach me on the Bunny Hill. Stand straight. Keep your feet apart. Hold your poles like this. Let the skis slide a little. Down I sat, my legs tangled in my skis. Okay, let me help you up my boyfriend said. Don’t lean back. On and on went the instructions. Time after time I sat down. Finally, I sort of got the hang of it and it was time to learn how to herringbone uphill. After two sessions on the little slope, my boyfriend stated that everybody was skiing down Alabama Hill. Now that hill is a long, long hill. My whole body was stiff, my wobbly legs wouldn’t hold my skis right, but after two or three falls backward, sitting down and struggling to stand again, my skis carried me downhill.

My boyfriend figured I was ready to go to the mountains with him. He was a patrolman at Mount Baker and had work to do. I marveled at the long poles along the down-side of the road showing the depth of so much snow. His little green Chevy coupe made it around all the horseshoe curves up to the crowded parking lot. Fun and laughter! Skiers coming down the slopes and riding the chair lifts. All this was new to me. The cold brisk wind penetrated through my cotton jacket. But here I was—with my boyfriend. He said we’d take the rope tow up. My hands froze in my wet gloves. I fell off the rope at the top tangled in my skis. I sat down. It took effort to get up, sat down and got up again, and then again! Somehow, I made it to the bottom to where my boyfriend was waiting. He told me I should go up again while he was on patrol.

For several Saturdays or maybe a Sunday, I sat in the little green coupe with my boyfriend driving up to the ski lodge. He, being a ski patrolman meant I was left to myself and I spent a lot of time waiting in the cold lodge. I was always wet and cold in my little cotton jacket. One day my boyfriend said we’d ski over to Austin Pass. That was a long trip on the hillside. I never did learn to really ski. But I was with my boyfriend!

For several Saturdays or maybe a Sunday, I sat in the little green coupe with my boyfriend driving up to the ski lodge. He, being a ski patrolman meant I was left to myself and I spent a lot of time waiting in the cold lodge. I was always wet and cold in my little cotton jacket. One day my boyfriend said we’d ski over to Austin Pass. That was a long trip on the hillside. I never did learn to really ski. But I was with my boyfriend!

Love, Grandma Avis
Written on a snowy day on Whidbey Island, February 11, 2019.
Your grandpa has been my boyfriend for sixty-five years.

© Copyright 2019 Avis Rector. All rights reserved.


Avis Rector, now almost 86, is still living in the house in which she was born. Although it was moved by barge around Whidbey Island, WA and went under the beautiful Deception Pass Bridge—which is another story, She and her husband were both teachers and raised cattle on their farm. They’ve been retired for thirty or so years and have sold the cattle. Publishing her novel, Pauline, a New Beginning on Whidbey Island has been very rewarding, and her “readers” are eagerly waiting for the sequel.

2 Responses to To Carl and Scott, Winter 1954-1955

  1. The things we do for love, Avis!

    Bellingham has had so much snow lately, you two should go skiing again, maybe renew your wedding vows on skis.

    Ann

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