Neither one of us are skiers. What mattered to us was Jill's life toted up in the 1975 movie "The Other Side of the Mountain" when Anne and I were in high school. It was our beloved favorite, in the way young girls have of attaching themselves to sentimentalized accounts. Hope and determination were the themes of the movie, the account of Jill's ski accident in Utah that left her largely paralyzed from the neck down.
Anne and I booed in the same scene every time, where the boyfriend saw nothing miraculous about Jill finally managing to get a potato chip from a bowl to her mouth. There was a fiercely loyal friendship we connected with ourselves, between Jill and fellow-skier Audra, who caught polio and ended up in an iron lung. And we melted as the crinkly-eyed Beau Bridges stepped in to own her heart, then we cried when he died in a plane crash.
The movie gave us belief in the triumph of women and that decent men would love us. It told us that obstacles thrown in our path could be overcome. We haven't spoken in seven years, and I'm not even sure why. I may have guesses, but they may be wrong. Whatever Jill Kinmont did to knock over the obstacles, Anne and I have yet to learn.