Heinlein wrote and submitted the story to show that he was capable of breaking into markets other than science fiction.
The story is very similar in style and tone to Heinlein's story, The Menace from Earth. Maureen, or "Puddin'", a strong-willed, intelligent teenage girl, observes the interplay between her parents over the mother's new-found enthusiasm for ice dancing, and manages to turn it to her advantage. Maureen's father is an unworldly university professor, while her mother is a practical polymath who, amongst other accomplishments, designed and built the family home.
Her father goes on a fishing trip. On his return, he announces that ice dancing is a simple matter of applied physics, and anybody can do it. A competent skater herself, Maureen watches in horror as he puts on skates and ventures out on the ice with a partner. As he approaches the critical first turn, she prepares herself, as she puts it, to "identify the body". However, her father negotiates the hazard and finishes the dance, not without a few wobbles.
Later Maureen announces to her father that she has solved the puzzle. His "fishing trip" was really a crash course in ice dancing. He could not stand to see his wife dancing with other, younger men, but was too proud to learn at home. She could, however, keep it to herself, given enough reason. Her father, a typical Heinlein disciplinarian, tells her she is still young enough to "paddle", but since he's feeling generous, perhaps she should say what's on her mind. She responds that a pair of famous-name skates will do.
The House ' Is Decrepit, and I Sense It Is Bitter and Holds Grudges. It Is Haunted, and I Know What Haunts It. ' SHORT STORY Tales from the Midlands: THE ICE AGE
Dec 19, 2010; Byline: Lorne Jackson IT was a big house, and an old house, and it stood on its own, five miles from the nearest village. Some...