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Monday, January 2, 2017

“Ice Castles”

“Ice Castles”
I recently ran across the ending of a movie on TV, “Ice Castles.”  A young competitive ice skater has an accident and loses all but a blurry part of her vision.  She is talked into competing anyway, and skates the performance of her life in front of a packed house that was not aware of her disability.  It is a sweet hokey tear jerker staring among others Robbie Benson whom I never liked…something about his voice and his acting.
I don’t think I ever watched anything but the ending of this movie, but the ending is what brings back this memory.
When my daughter was very young, barely walking, she had a clear love for music.  When we watched a movie and I went to change the channel as the credits were rolling she objected. 
“After the lucas!” She implored.  She was always intent on the music as the credits rolled. 
We should have recognized this interest and bought a piano and given her lessons, but money was kind of tight.  In retrospect we could have and should have found a way to support her obvious music love.
Years later, when Mary Beth was 9 or 10, we inherited an old out-of-tune  piano.  A popular movie on HBO at that time was “Ice Castles” and Mary Beth listened to the music from that movie again and again.  (In those days HBO only played a few movies over and over each month.)
One day I heard from our living room the theme to “Ice Castles” a very pretty piano tune.  Strange I thought, as the TV was not in the living room…but the piano was.
(suggest you play as you read)

Mary Beth who had never had a lesson, had learned to play the theme from “Ice Castles.”  She played it beautifully, with feeling, with chords, the right chords and just where they are played in the movie.  I was flabbergasted!  She did not just pick out the melody, she played the song just as it was played in the movie.
We did find a teacher and Mary Beth had lessons for a while, but her piano teacher turned out to be a complete looney bird.  She was convinced “They” were after her, and at some point, not far into instructions, she was gone…possibly taken away in a strait jacket from what we heard.
End of lessons.  Her parents were too lazy and the costs of lessons from a sane person turned out to be insane.  That was the end of piano for my daughter.  She did continue to play by ear, but it was not the same and her interest waned.
Many years and three Mary Beth grandchildren later, my very grown daughter purchased a piano for herself.  

She started lessons and has my grandchildren taking lessons.
She plays classical music, and she plays beautifully.  A few years ago I went to a recital where she and the grandchildren played.  The grandchildren were very good, but it was Mary Beth that I was the most proud of.
As an XX-year-old (over 35) she was the oldest performer in a field of children 5 to 17.  I know she was a bundle of nerves.  She played a classical piece much more complicated than “Ice Castles” but no less beautifully than she played that piece so many, many years before.
Listening today to the “lucas” at the end of “Ice Castles” brought back many memories.  My vision may have become a bit blurry.
Mrs. C thought the movie was sweet and perhaps she shed a tear or two, but she couldn’t understand why I was affected by it more than by any other “feel good” movies we watch.
And now Mrs. C, you know the REST of the story.


  1. Ohhh.. That is just the sweetest ever.. It's been years since I've seen that movie but it is a tear jerker and now I want to see it again. You're such a softie for a Jersey boy. :)

  2. Good for your daughter! From what I understand, taking up the piano at an "older" age is very hard to do. Kudos to her for doing so and sticking with it!

    Gosh I remember that movie from years ago. Tear jerker indeed!


  3. I've seen the movie a couple of times, but don't remember the music. I'll go to you tube and listen.
    Your daughter is very talented and I'm glad she eventually got herself a piano and lessons; for the grandchildren too.

  4. That could make a movie itself. Good for Mary Beth!

  5. Lovely story Joe (you old softie!).

  6. What a poignant and bittersweet story. I am sure it puts a tear in the eye of everyone who had to put aside a talent because of the economy of the times. Well told, Joe.

  7. Hooray for your daughter! And for you, going to her recital and realizing how much this all means to her, even after all these years.

  8. I'm so proud of your daughter. I took piano lessons as a child but I was never very good. Following your dream when you have so many responsibilities as an adult, is very challenging. Good for her.
    By the way, I had a terrible crush on Robbie after seeing Ice Castles.

  9. You gave Mary Beth HBO and she took it from there. The talent always was there, and she did some other living waiting to get around to it. Good for her, and nice she has interested children, too.

  10. So wonderful that she was finally able to indulge her dreams and take serious lessons from a non crazy eyes got a tad misty reading your story.

  11. Nice nod to Paul Harvey, one of my favorite people.

  12. Some people come by this talent naturally. Your daughter appears to be one of them. I'm happy she's finally living her passion.

    Have a fabulous day Joe. ☺

  13. I think my daughter had the same piano teacher. And our lessons with the crazy lady waned as did my daughter's interest in music. She has never picked it up again - probably because we are not a musically talented family.

    Who could not love Robby Benson in "Jory" along with BJ Thomas?!

  14. Good for Mary Beth! She took the initiative to get a piano and take lessons and also get the kids playing. As a person who first started tap-dancing at 70 (after a 65-year hiatus) I say brava!

  15. Waiting my turn at Best Buy Geek Squad to retrieve some photos on a hard drive. Just read your article to pass the time. Holding back tears, trying not to look like a lion myself. Next recital in early June. I'll practice hard Dad to make you proud.

  16. Wow, who knew such a sweetie lived in that crusty shell called Cranky. Loved this story Joe and seeing such a neat side of you. Mary Beth rocks and so do you.

  17. I don't know anything about "Ice Castles," but your story is very sweet and touching.

  18. That's impressive! I wonder what she could do with your guitar.

    On the other hand, there's a special word for people like you who don't appreciate Robby Benson! My favorite movie of his is "One on One," where he's a highly recruited basketball star who learns more than academics in college. Who knew Robby Benson was a surprisingly good basketball player?

  19. Nice story, Joe. I'm glad she still has that fire/desire to learn music. Keep it up Mary Beth. :)

  20. I don't know the movie "Ice Castles" or Robbie Benson, but I like the story about Mary Beth!


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