Mr. Rossbach!

Mr. Rossbach. We hadn't seen each other since 1978

 I received these pictures a few days ago and asked mrs. R if I could post them to facebook, "sure" she says.... LOL Little did she know I changed my mind and want to post them on here for a wider audience to appreciate and not get lost in the FB fray. The gentleman above is Mr. Charles Rossbach, he was my childhood ice skating coach from Cleveland.  Coaches and teachers through most of our lives come and go. Or at worst can't remember their names at all, which is the case for most of my teachers. But in rare instances some just  stick around in the back of your being, because their influence was memorable. In this instance, not only do I remember Mr. R but he was probably the most influential male figure in my early life.

I used to live in Cleveland, born there. At age 7 ish I started to ice skate. Not the weekend kind of skate. It seemed I had some promise (they all say that)  and we skated before school, at lunch, after school, and all day saturdays/sundays. Before school!!! wake up at 4 am skate till 8 am, go to school,  return to the rink that evening.  In the summers we went to rinks that were open, sometimes driving hours. I spent most of my young years at the rink, on the ice, and being taught by this man. When I think of my childhood, It's always with skates on, in the rink, doing figures, jumps, competitions, and Mr. Rossbach. When I think of my skills, talent, past athletic ability I think back to these days to how it started.

I'm the long legged one in the middle.

Because of extenuating "fatherly" reasons... we moved  to Florida in the Late 70's  :( I was upset,  I remember trying to make deals with mom.... couldn't I stay and live with the Rossbach's. Not that they ever asked- just that I wanted to stay. The day we moved to Florida was the day my "ice skating" career ended. Life was over. no more ice skating. In 1978 the closest rink was down off Bird Road in Miami, it was awful. My mother finally relented in taking me the hour or so drive away. I remember the cardboard feel of the ice, the rickety walls. the terrible neighborhood, leaving the rink and it was 90˚ outside.  My grandmother tried to assuage me by saying the Fountain Bleu hotel had a rink and its much closer... ack! it was the size of a small swimming pool and perfectly round, you can't skate on that! That was it. There were no other rinks. So that ended Ice skating. When I turned 16 and got my first car, I saved to get new skates and would trek to the rink out West in Sunrise, but by then, volleyball, horseback riding, beaches, flip flops, and fun were my life. I tried. It just never was the same. The equation needed Mr. R.

My 4 legged mentors meeting Mr. R.!

What didn't end was my appreciation, awe, respect, all those good things you remember of a mentor, and in a deeper instance a father figure. My days were consumed on ice. Mr. R was the only positive father figure I remember so prominently.  It's remained with me all these years. Only recently when I saw him again did all this make me think back and the dedication toward something I loved -where it all started. I still have that drive and dedication. Now its just in the form of dairying. ;)

Me and Mrs. R

I reconnected with Mrs. R a few years ago [thanks FB] and follow their son Chip in his fun adventures as a World Class Coach- just like his dad.  I get a call from them a few weeks ago saying they were in Florida would I like to have a visit?


Mrs. R and I banter back and forth on FB and chit chat about her gardening, their monstrous RV, the trips they take, Mr. R, ice skating, Chip,  and I get to see as an adult how cool this family really is.  They've literally dedicated their lives to this amazing sport.

Mr. R is 80 years old, I couldn't believe it. He's just like I remember, except without the beard and sans skates. I don't think I ever saw him without them on. :) He  mastered the ginormous RV backing it in to the neighbors yard with aplomb. He's still coaching too! Though they said they could only stay awhile, I knew with some prodding at least the night! And what fun it was to catch up. To reminisce. To get to know them all over again. I got to teach the teacher all about goats, milking, who is who, what I do here, and what got me here. We talked about Cleveland days, the rink, the competitions, that life. We hadn't seen each other in 35 years there was so much to catch up on. That evening after dinner I brought some goats milk, eggs and soap for them to have. All the while thinking how I could keep them here another day!

My life has taken odd turns from those beginning days of Cleveland, all girl prep schools,  field hockey, privileged days, ugh! cold mornings and ice skating. It always makes me wonder what if we never left? Which really is one of the JOYS of life!

Thank you Mr. and Mrs R for the fun day, the visit, and thinking to come visit me. It was truly a treat and such an honor to see you two again. I can't wait till the next visit! Maybe I'll find a rink nearby (as they are EVERYWHERE now),  and just for old times sake get a lesson from Mr. R. I haven't been on the ice in 20 years. That should be fun! or disastrous!

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