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 A few days ago, I sent an open letter to several friends with whom I skated as a child and to those whom I know have skated competitively. Here's my latest response to them:

Hi Ms. S -- and Everyone,

I'm really glad you responded!

What a great story about Ronnie's house! His memory lives on in many ways. It would be great to see that house, or at least photos of it. I was in complete shock when my mom told me Ronnie had died. It had been years since I spoke with him. Living so far away from CA is my excuse, though not a good one. My mom was great at keeping in touch with him. I wish I had bugged her more about contacting him AND you and Ms. O and Ms. P and Ms. J. There are others, too. Though I know you can never go back. But I loved those times. Even with all the torture I received. I know I deserved some of it. :D

In a previous email, Ms. S., you mentioned you live near Sasha Cohen. I don't recall what you said about her personality off the ice, but I LOVE her skating. I can imagine she is a typical prima donna.

It's terrible to hear that the rink near you is disgusting. That can happen. It seems like Ronnie's Ice Palace went that way after he sold it to the Carlos. In Grand Rapids, all the rinks are clean and well-maintained. I believe one reason is because so many people use them, the rinks must be doing well financially.

I understand the whole "not going skating" phenom. Like I said it's been at least eight years since I skated. What fun is it to skate at a public session when you're not allowed to do jumps and spins? And who wants to spend a ton of money to join a club just to have fun once a week or every two weeks? Club membership here in ABQ is high.

Today I picked up my freshly sharpened skates and tested them out during a quiet late afternoon session. The crowd level was great with only a few taking lessons and training. But I have A LONG WAY to go before feeling comfortable on skates. It's the oddest feeling. Having weak ankles and thighs is typical. But the blades still feel bizarre. I try to do a small hockey stop and it's a major production. No T-stop. Three-turns aren't easy. I don't dare do anything more than a waltz jump at this point. No spread eagles or Nina Bowers(sp?). Doing a scratch spin was a little better today than Saturday. For some reason doing backwards crossovers is the most comfortable movement of all.

I hope I'm not boring you all. Each of us has figure skating embedded in our bones and souls and muscles. I wanted to share some AND still hope the rest of you respond with your own stories.

Annie

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