Thursday, March 17, 2016

Black Bird singing in the dead of night.

Yesterday, and I don't know how, a black bird (my generic term for this creature--I'm not a "birder" or even a "bird watcher") somehow got inside our house and flew upstairs to our bedroom.  We vainly attempted to coax Mr. Bird out via any number of opened windows but our terrified visitor instead flew into my bedroom closet which is stuffed to the gunnels with my treasured junque.  After carefully removing lots of boxes (boy were they dusty!) we finally managed to trap our avian friend (unharmed) in a waste paper basket.  I then succeeded in taking this outdoors and released our birdy back to where he belongs.  What, you may ask, does any of this have to do with a skating blot?  The answer, my friends, while not blown on the wind, is contained inside one of those dusty boxes brought to the light of day from the depths of my "archive".

Yep, 1976.  Some of the skaters at my home rink weren't even born then!  I was still 29 on the 8th of May so you can trust me--this really is my card.  I wonder what is the meaning "IST" Gamma?  First? Gamma?  Is that like being First Trumpet?  Perhaps it distinguishes this early gamma success from my more recent re-passing of that milestone a couple years ago.  Perhaps now I'm merely 2nd gamma.  I may never know.  I wonder if the requirements for gamma have changed over the years?
 When I earned this card I was less than a year out of the service (I was discharged in July of '75) and back studying at the University of Delaware.  Ice skating at UDEL was not particularly well known in those pre-Johnny Weir/Kimmie Meissner days.  The Skating Club of Wilmington had yet to join forces with the University's skating club but, even in those prehistoric days, figure skating was listed as one of a handful of "activities" which students could sign up for as part of the student activity fee--a fee which we all had to pay.  Fresh out of the service and living on the slim combination of a graduate stipend and VA benefits, I was bound and determined to get something back for the fee collected so figure skating it was.  That ancient history can be revisited here  

This was our textbook.  Still useful reading.

It amazes me that my old gamma card has survived several moves of house.  It shows just how infrequently I revisit the contents of the particular box it was in.  I had completely forgotten it.  On a whim I sent the pix of my old card to ISI and asked them if their records go back this far.  ISI itself was still a "teenager" in 1976 (founded in 1959). If their records are intact I wonder if they have a record of me passing Delta.  Didn't find that card.  I do remember working on FS-1 elements before leaving Delaware.

Opening an old box introduces so many questions.  I still don't know how that bird got into the house.


  1. George, I enjoyed seeing this card and reading the past entry about your re-entry into skating in 2012. It's an auspicious sign, since you are preparing for that dance competition. Go, Canasta Tango, go! You were only waiting for this moment to be free!

  2. Thanks Jo. Much to my surprise after I emailed that photo of my old card to ISI down in Texas asking them about whether or not my old records still existed, they contacted the skating director at our rink wanting to know if I'd agree to allow them to post the photo of the old card on their Face Book page. I told them to be my guest. Who knows what others have tucked away in boxes with accompanying stories in their memory banks that could be shared on-line?