Remembering roller skating


Along with drive-in movies and licorice malts, the roller skating rink of my youth is part of ever-growing nostalgia. I haven't seen a kid roller skating down our street since I found my last brown hair tucked among the gray.

Although roller skating rinks are still around in larger cities, those in small town America mostly have been closed with the buildings abandoned or used for other business activity.

Even though growing up on a farm, we had a sidewalk going from the front of the house to the back. It was there that I earned my roller skating stripes and received many a bruised and bloodied knee.

Every Friday night my dad took my brother and me roller skating at the roller skating rink in the big city of 14,000. Not only did he take us, he joined us.

Dad was a darn good roller skater and, as I think back, I wonder why it didn't embarrass this adolescent to have her dad roller skating in public.

Although rock 'n' roll was finding great favor back in the fifties when roller skating may have been at its peak, we roller skated to wonderful pipe organ music. I seldom hear that sound without feeling a sense of freedom and acceleration.

Flying around the rink, sweeping around the curves leaning far to the left or the right, skating in sync with a partner during a couple skate or doing the Bunny Hop roller style left me yearning for more and hopeful that the night would never end.

The rink not only was a place for great exercise, it was a social experience for this farm girl, for there seemed to be no distinction between rural and urban, if you can call a town of 14,000 urban.

It was a time before Facebook and other forms of today's social media. In fact, for some of us, it was a time before the telephone.

There are times, especially in the warm days of summer, when I have pleasant thoughts of drive-in movies and roller skating.

But licorice malts, not so much.


Joyce Ore

Joyce Ore writes delightful stories about life with a dose of humor and sprinkle of nostalgia. Her column appears Saturday in the Tribune.

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