Our precious Angel, 18 years old in her hospital bed, after a nasty fall during practice on the ice, required serious spinal surgery. As tears welled in her eyes, she looked into mine and asked a question that rocked our world. "Mom... What am I going to do now? All I know is how to skate." My heart sank as hers was breaking for the loss of a highly successful competitive figure skating career. Searching for words to ease her sorrow, these came to me. "Angel... You learned so much more from figure skating than just how to glide, spin and jump across the ice. Dedication, determination, hard work and most importantly, character building are life lessons acquired upon a sheet of competitive ice and are assets always to be carried forward." She must have taken those words to heart as six weeks later Angel earned the prestigious title of Vermont's Junior Miss 1989 and a forty-thousand-dollar college scholarship! Memories of those six weeks, from devastation to exhilaration, like a crazy roller coaster ride, take my breath to this day.
Strolling back through time in writing this blog, happiness abounds as I recall entering her in the Little Miss Fairbanks competition at only 13 months old. Hoping she could charm the judges with her good looks and happy demeanor, I lifted her up to the runway. In our matching, teeny-weenie, purple bikinis, she held my finger, walking confidently while casting her head turning beauty and charisma all about the crowd. Even back then Angel seemed to know where the judges were. Smiling, waving and blowing kisses, she captured the hearts of the judges and was justly rewarded with the title. Those pictures are deep in a box somewhere.
The Summer of '72 brought a transfer for our family from Fairbanks to Fort Richardson, Alaska. We discovered there really was, "Gold in Them Thar Hills," only 30 miles east, at Erickson's Gold Mine. The fever took hold. With the purchase of a small dredge and the $3.00 daily entry fee, our adventure began. From her Nip-er-nap overlooking our river prospecting site, Angel's Dad, Hugh, would shake, rattle, and roll a small jar of gold nuggets in front of her. Smiles and giggles erupted as she wiggled to the shaking rhythm. Maybe, Hugh's gold fever was the inspiration for Angel's lifelong attraction to glistening and sparkly things, such as the just introduced "Golden Dazzle Award!" Join us for great fun and stunning creations on Dazzle Live, Thursdays at 7:00pm est!
It wasn't all peaches and cream for sure, as most parents are aware. A subject of concern throughout Angel's school years was her great difficulty in spelling, reading, and comprehension. Her second-grade teacher first brought the stumbling block to our attention, citing Dyslexia. We observed the reversal of letters and numbers such as b and d, threes, sixes and nines leading to poor grades in writing, reading, and math. In 1978, Texas Instruments brought to market the Speak and Spell. It became our saving grace. Joyful hours were had as the three of us played with it. Rapid development in Angel's ability to spell and read were obvious. Another issue many teachers commented about is that she was regarded as a "Social Butterfly." They considered it problem. I understand the reason for concern, but still viewed it as an asset! How could anyone wish to quell the exuberance and charm of our always happy and outgoing child?
Throughout her amateur competitive figure skating days in Lake Placid, NY and Burlington, VT, Angel was a force to be reckoned with! Her exceptional talent captured many medals, culminating in a Silver from the North Atlantic Regional Championships. Perhaps it is costumes like this that gave Angel an eye for sun-catching wind-chimes that whirl and sparkle? That day, she was rewarded by her Dad with two rolls of quarters which were promptly deposited in her favorite arcade game, Pacman. Figure skating has been referred to as, "The Sport of Kings!" It's very expensive. We didn't have much money back then and needless to say, not much was left for a college fund. Imagine the relief we reveled in when she won a full ride Junior Miss Scholarship!
Angel is living proof that "Dazzling dreams really can come true!" I'm looking forward to writing next month's blog with highlights from, "The Mis-Adventures of Miss Naylor," along with a cute story about her time as the "TAU KAPPA EPSILON Fraternity Sweetheart" at Troy State University! Until then … Dazzle On! Fondly, Mama Dazzle