Ice skates, roller blades and roller skates

The second graders talk of ice skating as they come through the door. Indoor ice skating especially and they really, really like it. When I was their age, I was told by a friend of my Moms that my ankles were too weak for ice skating. Not sure how and why that conversation took place but my Mom never took me ice skating. In fact, I never put a pair of ice skates on because of it.

When the weather is nice and tarmac is dry, I will sit outside to this day and watch my 30 year old daughter roller blade. Both son and daughter as kids learned roller blading but I did not try that either. Weak ankles??? In 1980, Scott and Brennan Olsen, two Minnesota brothers, discovered an older in-line skate in a sporting goods store and thought the design would be perfect for off-season hockey training. They improved the skate on their own and soon were manufacturing the first Rollerblade in-line skates in their parents’ basement.

No, I did not roller blade or ice skate but I did get to roller skate. Eventually, though, it did break up a friendship. Dad’s old 8 millimeter movies are the first recollection of roller skating down the neighborhood street with my best friend. Those were the skates that clamped over your shoes and you adjusted with a skate key to tighten or loosen though the discovery of shoe skates were not far behind. Especially those that you could rent at the the nearest roller rink.

In the early 1970’s, one of my close friends was an amazing skater. We had moved to the south/ southwest suburbs and together we discovered the Oaklawn Roller Rink. Oak Lawn Roller Rink was a popular rink where Chicagoan’s skated for over 40 years and was located at 91st and Cicero avenue. My friend was attractive and knew how to cross one foot over the other as well as spin to any song. I tended to let her go and hang by the rail. I was an awkward skater as well as awkward in appearance. And, of course, I was jealous at the males being more interested in her than me. I finally stopped going to the rink. She stopped asking and somehow we grew apart. However, she did meet her husband of many years at the rink.

One day I finally learned to cross one foot over the other without falling. That was enough for me. Just tell me your stories of rollar blades, roller skates and ice skates. I will be happy to come, sit and watch.

4 thoughts on “Ice skates, roller blades and roller skates”

  1. When I used to work in advertising, a group of us would rollerblade around town after work every Wednesday. We did this for 3 years and never got better but had a lot of fun

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Skating. Oh that brings back bad memories! My brothers and I were never allowed to go roller skating. Mother always said “I ain’t got the money for that foolishness!”. So, we never got to go. When I was in my teens and had my own job I went a few times. I was awkward; no balance, no grace, and I gave it up. Growing up in the south in those days, we didn’t have ice skating rinks either. Still today I’m envious of anyone who can skate. Thanks for sharing your story! I really enjoyed it!

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  3. I tried to ice skate in Murray Park. Then all grown up, I tried again on a lake in Mundelein. I was awful. I did the roller blade routine, outdoor on the street, with the adjusting key–and the song “I’ve got brand new roller skates, who’s got a roller skate key” is a delightful sexy ditty. Indoor skating boots helped at St Basil’s (long gone on the South Side). But here is the most important part of my life: I married a girl from Des Plaines, who ice skated with and was taught by Michael Kirby in Park Ridge. Her girl friend went on to the Ice Capades; she was too short (5 foot). Lucky for me. She ice skated throughout our marriage, competing with various groups and winning trophies for their age groups. A bad fall, a broken wrist, a sore hip–now the 75-year-old only skates occasionally here in Florida at indoor rinks (are there any other in Florida?!). And we watch ice skating; watch with us.

    Liked by 1 person

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