MEMORIES OF YE OLDE MILL
Since I was a month short of my sixteenth birthday, my mother was opposed to me going on a date with a brash young soldier I had met a few days earlier. I can remember her turning a deaf ear when I explained that he had served 18 months overseas, had been part of Patton's army during the Battle of The Bulge, and was home awaiting orders to return to an as yet unknown army base for his discharge. Even adding that he was going to go school on the GI Bill didn't weaking her resolve to keep me away from him.
Although that was in another time and place, I can almost hear her almost persausive arguments that he was too old for me. Fortunately, my father overheard and asked where we planned to go. When I told him that we wanted to go skating at Ye Olde Mill close to Uticia with another couple, reason prevailed and I was allowed to go on that date. Although my father was familiar with the mill, that snowy January night was to be my first contact with the popular skating skating rink.
I can remember the bright light spilling through the upstairs windows when we stopped in the parking lot in front of a large rustic building and being surprised that it was actually a mill. I can remember my date opening the door of the bulding onto a stairway leading to the rink, and being welcomed by the blazing light and the sound of lively muscic coming from the large room at the top of the stairs. As my eyes adjusted to the brightness, I remember seeing people of all ages twirling around the floor to the popular music. I can also remember the young soldier's arm holding me up as we started to join the throng, and my skates seeming to to take on a life of their own. I also remember that before the last note was played and our skates removed, I had decided I was going to have to change my mother's mind about this young man. After all, five years wasn't that much difference in our ages. (As it turned out, after she got to know him, this proved to be surprisingly easy.)
After we became engaged, then married, Ye Olde Mill always held a special plce in our hearts and our memories. Over the years, the story of the date at Ye Olde Mill, that almost hadn't happened, became part of our family lore. Then the mill opened to the public at the same time our grandchildren started to appear. As they became old enough to go with us, we began to take them on trips to Ye Olde Mill for ice cream and to feed the ducks. While they enjoyed the ice cream and their surrooundings, we'd take our own trip down memory lane as we'd relive for them the exciting night at the skating rink above the mill where as the young couple who later beame their grandparents, we had taken our first steps toward our life together.
Now after over fifty years of marriage, when my husband Dick and I walk hand-in-hand on the bike trail as couples on modern roller blades zip by, we have fond memories of that night at Ye Olde Mill when we began skating into our future.