1924: French Olympic Ice

Maison Baldwin, guest writer


Boarding the S.S. Paris, stands Audrey Clarence and her new husband, Alfred. Timidly following right behind Alfred, Audrey tries to stay away from interacting with any independent New Yorkers and get to room 72 to relax. Socializing was more her husband’s forte. He had experienced much difficulty in convincing Audrey to attend the Winter Olympics that “take off in style at Chamonix in the French Alps”(history) to see him compete. However, due to his incessant pestering, she gave in. Now in the process of traveling to Chamonix, France, and leaving their delicate white farm house with blue shutters surrounded by tall grassy fields in Montana, Audrey was second guessing herself.

Once in their elegant cabin aboard the ship, Audrey quickly unpacked her paint and brushes hoping she had not missed the breathtaking icy sunset happening outside.

“Darling, I need to discuss the skating routines with Hazel, I will be back within the hour,” Alfred says, tenderly kissing her cheek.

“Be careful, and don’t you forget your coat.”

Stepping into the cold New York breeze, Audrey takes every ounce of the sun she can get to guide her paintbrush to replicate what she sees before the sun sets and they depart for France.




On January 25, 1924, Audrey hugs Alfred one last time before he takes to the huge ice rink with his partner, Hazel Heartly. Audrey wandered around the immense Olympic stadium to find her folded up seat without asking for assistance. All around her, flags of all colors were waving in the air, as everyone was supporting his country. Cameras scattering from angle to angle as announcers describe the routines in their own language. Loud noises and crowds weren’t her cup of tea, but Alfred meant the world to her. The song “Hold Me” by Art Hickman came on, sending Hazel and Alfred hand in hand into their routine. Gliding across the ice, the couple spun in circles followed with Hazel being tossed in the air. Alfred catches her and puts her down so they can both attempt a toe loop. Alfred successfully lands a triple axel as Hazel glides in circles around him.

Audrey has seen this routine a couple times prior and knew this was the best they had ever performed it. She was ecstatic for her husband, and maybe a little bit happy for Hazel as well. The pair bows as the routine ends and nervously await their score. Audrey crosses her fingers and pray they can advance to the next competition. The judges announces the score . . . 75.34! The crowd whoops and hollers as that was one of the highest scores anyone has ever seen.

Alfred and Hazel burst with excitement and engage one another in a huge hug. Walking off the ice, Alfred makes his way over to Audrey.

“I’m so proud of you! That was the best one you’ve ever done, Alfred!”

“Thank you darling, I love you!”

“Alfred, come meet my friends from Italy,” Hazel flirtatiously proclaims and pulls Alfred away. Audrey quietly waits at the gate opening of the ice rink for Alfred to soon come back. Hazel always butt in and took Alfred away like she owned him or perhaps loved him. Any chance she got, she would be cozying up to Alfred.  Audrey was wishing she would had the courage to stand up to her one day.

Once she had left the stadium, Audrey went back to grab her paints. She knew the perfect spot to get away from the world and focus on her paintings. This little abandoned cottage she saw up the road surrounded by a small frozen pond. She couldn’t get over France and how different it was from anything she had every seen before. Cottages lined the roads with cute white picket fences. Everything was simple and dainty here even their fat bikes were painted pastel colors. While it was cold, the snow added just the right detail to the scenery. With very light strokes, water color appeared on her blank sheet in the outline of a cottage covered in snow.


Dressed in a yellow two-piece wool flannel outfit covered in a white diamond weave coat, sat Audrey Clarence dining with the American Olympians at a warm and cozy 18th century barn named L’Olympique. As fumes of freshly baked bread surrounded her, Audrey sat quietly in the corner as the athletes laugh and enjoy themselves. Why had she come on the trip? Alfred made it clear that it would be unbearable if she did not go with him. But since they arrived, he hadn’t paid much attention to her, it was all about Hazel. And of course, Hazel was in love the attention.

“How are you enjoying your food, Love?” Alfred says interrupting Audrey’s thoughts.

“It is quite splendid, and how is yours?”

“Yes Alfred, how are you enjoying your food?” Hazel bursts.

“Will you excuse me?” whispers Audrey as she gets up from the table and leaves.


Today was the day. The championship for pairs figure skating at the Winter Olympics. Audrey had woken up way before Alfred and decided to look around town before the big night. Alfred would be practicing all day preparing for his final routine. Walking up and down the French streets, Audrey smiling at couples sipping coffee inside Café lilas. Snow covering the tops of the creme colored shops or maisons , as she soon found out it meant house. Countless footprints destroy the perfectly laid snow flakes. Time was lost when wandering in this captivating country.


People were silent. No breath was heard as Alfred flung Hazel flying through the air for their last jump in this championship routine. With a pit in her stomach, Audrey Clarence prays the landing would be crisp and clean. Then the crowd erupts in shouting and shuffling feet as everyone gets out of their seats. Down came Hazel in a beautiful catch by Alfred. Audrey burst into tears, knowing what this routine would do for Alfred. Alfred, a gold medalist- this thought never crossed anyone’s mind.



Home at last, was all Audrey wanted to say. Oh how she had missed her morning tea on the front porch. And her quiet afternoon paintings by the river. But her husband was a gold medalist now, so she supposed it was a trip worth going on. Her list of things to do gradually kept increasing with all the thoughts flying threw her mind.

“Alfred dear, would you like to join me this afternoon in going to the library?”

” You know I would, but Hazel insisted we practice today.”

“Who are you married to. . . Hazel or myself?” Audrey burst out then suddenly clasping her hands around her mouth.

“How can you even say that? I take care of you, I compete so you can have a well-off living.” Alfred says as his voice raises.

“You’re right, I’m sorry,” Audrey shyly tells him as she walks out the door.


Tears stream down her face. Her mind racing with millions of questions. Was she not good enough for him? Shuffling her feet, Audrey eventually found herself in the tiny library named Once upon a shelf located on the edge of town. Scanning the rows upon rows of magazines and encyclopedias, a plain white book with lavender writing caught her eye. With the words “Poems for you” written on the front, Audrey decided she craved guidance and love and proceeded to buy the book.

The salesman at the bookstore pauses. The phone had rung while Audrey handed him the book to purchase. He picked it up and got this stunned look on his face.

“It’s your husband, he’s been rushed to the nearest hospital,” he finally stammers out.

Her heart stops. Words she never thought of hearing. The world seemed like a blur as she drove to the nearest hospital. Everything felt as if it had been played in slow motion as she followed the nurse to his room. She prayed he had just broken his ankle but was still alive. She took one last breath before entering Alfred’s room. Turning the door handle and stepping through the door, she saw them.

“What do you think you are doing?!” She screamed at the pair.

“Darling. . .  I uhh. . . We were only uhh. . . ,” Alfred stammered.

“You injured yourself and thought, I’m going to kiss Hazel since I’ll probably die of this broken leg!”

“I never meant to hurt you!” Alfred pleaded.

“Don’t even bother, you guys are perfect for each other. Both pathetic, ungrateful brats,” said Audrey as she stomped off.




” And that’s the first time I stood up for myself and realized hiding behind my fears, did not help me,” Audrey said ending the story she had just been telling her costumer for the past half hour.

” So I moved out and quickly divorced him. Then I opened up this tea cafe, Jolie France, and have been independent ever since,” Audrey concludes, “oh where are my manners, would you care for sugar with that tea?”









Works Cited

History.com Staff. “1924 First Winter Olympics.” history.com. 2010. April 06, 2017.


Great Events from History: The 20th Century, 1915-1923. Robert F. Gorman, ed. 2007. 27 March            2017. Print.

“Historical Events in 1924.”On This Day, www.onthisday.com. Web. 22 March 2017.

“U.S. Timeline – The 1920s.”Americas Best History, americasbesthistory.com. Web. 27 March                   2017.