Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Do You Remember

Skating when you were a kid?

I loved it. Not inline skates. I tried those once a few years ago and landed right square on my . . . well, I landed hard! 

The kind of skates I had were the ones with four wheels–two in front and two in back–and a key. (For anyone too young to remember, the key didn’t start an engine on the skates. It made them tight enough to stay on your shoes.)

Remember these? They were what made these

stay on your feet. One-size-fits-all. 🙂

My neighbor, Marsha, and I skated on our sidewalk, back and forth, and on our porch (we had a big front porch) but never on the driveway. Mom had the cement guy who poured it put a broom finish on it, and that’s way too bumpy for a good ride.

But after Grandmother and Grandad built the house next door, we could roll down the connecting sidewalk and skate on her nice, smooth double-wide driveway–if all the pickups, cars and trucks were gone to work.

We couldn’t skate in the street. Not because we had a lot of traffic in our Small Town World but because our streets in the summertime were hot, sticky and nearly liquid tarry stuff. If we’d tried skating on them, we would have been stuck fast. (Think the La Brea tar pits.)

On Sunday nights in the winter, our church rented the local skating rink and we’d all skate for free. The rink was right behind the Dari Diner (if you haven’t been there, you’re missing a real C-Town treat!) in a quonset hut.

This is a quonset hut, not THE building where our skate rink was. I don’t know why it was there or who owned it, but I remember lots of nights, skating with our church and having a ball. 

The floor wasn’t perfect. It was wood and fairly smooth, except in one place on the return leg of the big circuit we skated. I don’t remember if the floor changed height or if it didn’t quite come together, but you had to watch for it or it would grab your toe and jerk you down.

One night I was working hard to stay in front of a herd that had bunched up as they skated to “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands” and I forgot about that toe trap. I fell so hard, it knocked the breath out of me. There I was, unable to see or gasp or even think and sprawled in front of what seemed like a million little wheels that I was sure would make mince meat out of me.

But rather than smash me, someone scooped me off the floor and carried me out of the way. I don’t remember if it was Dad or the preacher or who saved me, but I was very happy they did. 

That old skating rink has been gone for a long time now. In its place is our post office, which isn’t nearly as much fun as that skating rink was and not nearly as beautiful as the old post office.

I need to go to Ebay and see if I can buy a pair of those skates before they all disappear from the face of the earth. Someday I want to be able to show them my grandchildren and tell them all about it. When I have grandchildren, that is.

Hint. Hint.