Saturday, May 24, 2014

Roller Skating

Bottom Left - The Girls' Friend Josie

How long has it been since you've roller skated? I'm trying to remember but don't know how long it had been for me. I have photographic evidence that I roller skated around the time of my twenty-first birthday, but surely it hadn't been nineteen years. Or maybe it had.

I found myself in a roller rink today because Clementine's and Charleigh's friend Lexi had invited them to celebrate her birthday there. My girls had never worn roller skates before and were hesitant to get out on the rink. I was going to rent skates, but turns out: my friend Jill wasn't using hers, and she and I wear the same size.

"It isn't like riding a bike," she said, handing me the skates. I put them on and felt tall, then tall and old. I wondered if I were going to fall and break my hip; I'm not even lying to you.

Left - Birthday Girl Lexi with Her Mom Lori; Right - Clementine

I went around the rink once by myself, then once with each daughter. Clementine proved a better skater than her little sister but also more trepidatious. Each girl was happy to head to the smaller (practice) rink after her lap with me. I went around twice more with Jill's daughters, then handed over the skates with relief: near falls, no falls.

Bottom Left - Charleigh; Top Right - Me & Char; Bottom Right - My Friend April (Josie's Mom)

Tell me: what are your memories of roller skating? Most of mine are from elementary school. I was never an excellent skater--at least in my own mind--because I couldn't spin the "turn yourself around" part of the "Hokey Pokey"; I had to skate a small circle, instead. I couldn't Limbo well or skate backwards, and I never mastered the crossover technique. Still, I remember feeling quite light and fast on my feet so long as I was skating forward.

I remember the pizza, popcorn, and--best of all!--soda pop (which we didn't drink, at home) of the roller rink. I remember the Madonna and Michael Jackson of the roller rink. Our Girl Scout troop visited fairly often, but I almost preferred to attend a birthday party or take a field trip there because, you know: couple skates.

I visited the roller rink just before my family moved to Tennessee and remember crossing my fingers that Darold Starliper would ask me to couple skate, but he didn't. I told myself it was only because he was very shy, and I marched right up to Bruce and asked him, instead. It felt like a very brave and scandalous thing to do because I was an eleven-year-old girl, and (although it was 1985 in south-central Pennsylvania) Bruce was the only African-American in our class.

I haven't seen Bruce for twenty-nine years. I don't remember his last name and know for well that I wouldn't recognize him on the street. But I smiled thinking of him, today (how he said yes), as I skated around the rink with a small, sweaty hand pressed into mine.


  1. I love the story of you as an eleven year old in this post!

  2. What a great post. Memory lane! I loved the roller skating rink and your so right I did feel freedom when I glided around the rink. Thank you for reminding me of that middle schooler who loved Friday night skate night.

  3. Oh the days of the roller rink, I have memories that are coming up right now as well. Oh the strobe light so romantic. Cracks me up, thanks for digging way deep for these memories. And yes, I thought I was going to break my head going around that thing with Jordan a time or two. I needed a helmet!

  4. I think I have been on roller skates exactly once, when I was very young...maybe 3rd or 4th grade? It's a fuzzy memory, but there. I like ice skating more, and did a bit more of that until we moved to SC when I started the 5th grade. Not been on ice since then, either!

    Glad the girls had a good time, and no bones were broken!

    Peace <3

  5. I remember roller skating - I could skate backwards - just not really good. I tried skating at a church New Year's Eve event - my mom and aunt were there visiting - and I was doing really really well till I fell. Falling at 40 really really hurts. I don't remember it ever feeling like that - but then maybe I didn't fall before. It sounds like you had a great time and sweet memories! I sent you an e-mail. Let me know when you're going to be in Knoxville!

  6. Oh my - this bring backs memories from about age 9-12 I spent a lot of Saturday afternoons at Skateland. I was not a great skater, and sadly, I never couple skated with a boy. But Skateland was about the only safe place a pre-teen could go on the weekends without parents. I felt so grown up to be dropped off there for two hours.

    (In college, there was a "night of the decades" our activities board hosted at the skate rink. I dressed in 80's-ish clothes and realized skating at 19 is so different than skating at 11!)

  7. This makes me smile. I love imagining you rolling around the rink! I have traumatic memories of the roller rink. One involving the bunny hop line and a flimsy green shirt with sparkles throughout it whose buttons popped off much too easily when the boy behind me fell and took my shirt with him. Thank goodness for those safety pins that came with the number for the skates.
    I"m behind on my visiting again. But summer is just around the corner. I wonder if we'll pass each other on the interstate again this year? Or maybe we'll get to actually meet up? Love you, girlie. You take the most gorgeous pictures. Makes me think I might want to try roller skating again and erase the trauma. Maybe.