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Fleeing The Nazis at The Riverdale Ice Skating Rink
I spent my childhood being terrified of Nazis. Oh, I was afraid of the Cossacks my grandparents ran from, and from the Russians who had missiles aimed right at my elementary school desk, but really it was my parents’ terror that haunted me the most. So, Nazis.
Being a practical child, I did fantasize solutions. Where would I hide? How would I run? Every Sunday morning, in winter, for many years, my father took us to the ice skating rink in Riverdale. I loved it there–the ice, the music, the hot chocolate, the bells and pompoms on my toes. Thanks to a weekly lesson with a guy named Vinnie, I was a pretty good ice skater.
So what did I think about as I skated round and round? Not a figure skating competition with me in an outfit. Not Holland, where I’d glide with Hans Brinker and his silver skates. No, Nazis. I’d skate to the music, all the while fleeing from storm-troopers. Of course, on an ice skating rink, you can’t really escape. So, mind following feet, I was trapped in a loop.
Once, coming back from the rink when I was nine, we heard the report– Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald. There was an ad on the radio–”Who was the first to conquer space? Castro convertible!” Only years later did I realize the joke. We lived in a prim world where beds were beds and couches did not open. But Castro I knew, on an island that had missiles pointing at it or from it…It didn’t surprise me that he was now in the furniture business.
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