newlogoJan06.jpg (38154 bytes)

This Day in My History

  Alphabet Soup
I Am Woman, Hear Me Scream

 Why Medical Staff Goes Grey
2004:  A Good Loss

Comedy and Tragedy

Check out our Frappr!

"And the Dream Goes On"

"Here Come the Elephants"

Muttsm.jpg (29199 bytes)

Flash version is here.

Master list of links to (most) videos
by Mefeedia


17 January 2006

You may have seen that some journals writers are doing entries which  list five random things that people might not know about them.  After nearly 6 years of baring my soul in this journal, it's difficult to think that there might be anything I've left out (that I'm willing to go public with), but I thought I'd take a crack at it.

1.  I participated in a "voice choir" in high school.  This wasn't singing, it was speaking, and it was the brainchild of Mary B. Gavin, my English and French teacher.  We all spoke in chorus and I we were performing something that Mrs. Gavin had written.  I believe that it was written in honor of her son, who died--he may have been killed in war.   I'm not sure about that part.  I was one of the soloists, though, and my line -- I still remember it so vividly -- was "Why?  Why MY son?"  I thought about the irony of that a lot during the days following David's death.

Gavin.jpg (15615 bytes)(Mrs. Gavin died several years ago.  I saw the obituary in the newspaper.  She must have died in an auto accident, since the obituary also listed her son as dying on the same day.  She was a strange woman, very precise, very "proper."  She spoke like someone who had gone to "finishing school."  I liked her a lot.  We both enjoyed diagramming sentences.  I became a French major in college because of her, but because of her many eccentricities she was the sort of teacher that students love to make fun of.)

2.  I danced the polka the night before Jeri was born.  Yes--dance. I danced.  We were at a party, probably given at Newman Hall in Berkeley.  The polka was one of those dances that I used to enjoy (because I knew the steps and it didn't involve any "interpolation" or self expression). 

I was already two weeks late with this baby, who was due to arrive April 19 and just seemed to have decided to stay where she was until she was ready for high school.  So when our friend Andrij invited me to dance and promised me it would help labor start, I agreed.  Whether that was what did it or not, the next night, I was off to the hospital and Jeri made her entrance into the world a few years prior to adolescence.

3.  At one time I did really fancy package wrapping.  When someone invented "stick-to-itself" ribbon, I learned how to make ribbon roses and was really quite good at it.  I was the designated package wrapper in our house, when someone needed something fancy to be presented.

We lived in a flat in San Francisco which had a dirt basement.  You went down this long narrow set of steps and entered something that resembled a narrow cave (duck, so you don't hit your head).   Before any gift giving occasion, my father, my sister and I would disappear downstairs into the basement where we would wrap gifts for my mother.  My father always had me wrap his gift for him (he always gave her lingerie).  When I think back, it is the only thing I remember his seeming to think that I had a talent for doing.   (I'm sure there were other things, but this is the only one I can think of.)

4.  I was an unwed mother.  That should come as a shock to everyone, especially my children.  

StEliz.jpg (15256 bytes)Actually, I was a faux unwed mother.  At one time, a television station in San Francisco was doing a documentary about St. Elizabeth's Home for Unwed Mothers, which was run by the Daughters of Charity (who taught at the school I attended).  They needed to keep the anonymity of the girls at the home, of course, and so never filmed anybody's face, but they wanted to end the program with a choir singing and needed to have faces it would be OK to film.  I was a member of the high school choir at the time and so we all trooped over to Masonic Avenue to the imposing red brick building, went behind the iron gates, and they dressed us all in maternity smocks so we could be the home's choir.  Little did I realize when I put on that maternity smock that I would practically LIVE in such tents for about ten years!

5.  I took ice skating lessons from champion skater, Harris Legg, with my Girl Scout troop.  I was terrible at it and probably wouldn't think it worth mentioning here, but I decided to do some research on Harris Legg and what I found at the Cambridge Sports Hall of Fame was so fascinating, I decided to reprint it.  So this is my poor, long-suffering skating teacher:

legg1.jpg (10546 bytes)Regarded as one of the greatest athletes to ever come out of Galt, Harris Legg could do it all on skates.

He began as a speed skater, honing his skills on the Grand River ice in winter and at Galt Arena Gardens, and rose to the top, qualifying for the 1936 Winter Olympics. Like all speed skaters in those days, he was expected to pay his own way to the Games, so he never went. Instead, he joined the American-based Ice Follies and began thrilling crowds throughout the world.

Legg was an accomplished cyclist, riding from Galt to Lake Placid in the early 1930s to compete in his first Silver Skate speed skating competition.

As founder of the Galt Speed Skating Club, Legg encouraged many youngsters to take up the sport.

As a high school student at Galt Collegiate he was a champion marksman, captaining both the rifle-shooting team and the gymnastics squad. Years later he donated a trophy, in his name, to GCI's annual rifle-shooting champion.

Prior to his career with the Ice Follies he became famous in southern Ontario and in the northern U.S. for his trick skating, especially his barrel-jumping, something he honed to perfection on the river ice above the dam each winter.

Legg, who retained his U.S. citizenship after coming to Galt as a young boy from New England - he was a descendant of writer Nathaniel Hawthorne - served in the U.S. Navy during the Second World War, spending most of his time in the South Pacific.

He returned to the Ice Follies after the war, resuming his stilt-skating performances with his wife, Phyllis, and improving his revolving hoop circle-of-fire manoeuvre. By then he was firmly entrenched as the star performer of the Ice Follies, and gained wide acclaim.

He also set a world barrel-jumping record, at the Boston Garden, after the war.

Legg retired from the Ice Follies in 1957, a year after making a triumphant return to Galt for the figure skating club's annual ice show. Presented with a key to the city, he was given a warm reception. While he was here, staying with his parents George and Maud, the mayor of San Francisco sent Legg a telegram congratulating him on his return home.

Following his retirement the Leggs operated a couple of skating rinks in San Francisco. He also served on the organizing committee for the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics.

He loved speed skating all his life, and counted among his friends Olympic legend Eric Heiden.

Legg and his sister Mildred were arguably the best brother-sister speed skating combination the country ever produced until Kevin and Cindy Overland came along - ironically enough they were out of the Cambridge club - three generations later.

Legg, as a 70-year-old, was still fit, still vital. He rode his bicycle, alone, across North America in the summer of 1981, arriving in Cambridge from San Raphael, California.

He died in Florida in February of 1996.

* * *

Gee...and I just thought he was a guy who gave ice skating lessons!


hiding.jpg (42870 bytes)

Canola field
Photo by Claire Amy Atkins


powered by


<--previous | next-->

Journal home | bio | cast | archive | links | awardsFlickr | Bev's Home Page




Search WWW Search Funny the World