The Girls’ Club, Highland Heights, Silver City… if you grew up in Taunton, MA in the late 70’s through the 80’s this was the natural progression of roller skating (and the music that went with it—to this day I can’t hear Grand Funk’s “Locomotion” without thinking of The Girls’ Club).
On some of the school bus charters I drive for during the summer, I’m able to take my kids with me. Today, I drove a camp group to a roller rink and took my 9 year old daughter. It was the first time I’d been on roller skates in about 10 years (the last time, I was with my other daughter, who was about that same age, I think). Before that, I hadn’t been on skates since high school.
My daughter hasn’t skated much; we went around the loop twice hugging the wall before I saw that the rink rented those walkers-on-wheels. What a difference that made! She enjoyed herself even more than I thought she would—and it showed on her face! It was great.
And I enjoyed myself, too. I remember how much I enjoyed those skate nights. I remember how good it felt to build up speed and then coast around the corner…and it all came back. The carpet covered spools at Highland Heights that you never sat on—you always ‘landed’ on them…always tripping as you went up the stairs to the booths at Silver City…taffy at the Girls’ Club. Whizzing by a friend and tapping them on the opposite shoulder…laughing at each other if anyone fell. The rough going skating on the rug until you got to the smooth floor and you would just glide, the breeze from your speed on your face and through your hair. Sitting at the snack bar booths and feeling the vibration from all the wheels on the floor and the music. Holding sweaty hands with a boy when you got to skate with him. When your favorite song came on…
It was a teensy bit of a bummer to not get more of the full experience—the wrong music was playing. They did play “YMCA”, though; I got a little bit of a tingle.
…all of it. You put your skates on once, and they didn’t come off until you were done—even if you had a blister. How heavy your feet felt in the skates when you sat down one more time before your last skate. And when you took your skates off that blister was THROBBING, but you could still feel yourself gliding as you walked in your socks to return the skates.
It was almost like it used to be…almost. This time I was not able to skate as freely with my inexperienced daughter on wheels. She begged to go around by herself, and I let her. I got half way around on my own before she fell (we all knew that would happen). But it reminded me that I want to do it more often. And I even still want to get myself some rollerblades and skate on my own outside—I don’t care if it’s not trendy anymore. God knows one day I’m really going to have to start exercising, anyway, and I really do enjoy skating. Besides, all the roller-bladers have the greatest legs, don’t they? It’s been on my not-so-bucket list for about 10 years, anyway (bucket lists are for one-time events; not-so-bucket lists are for things you want to do more than once). I’m going to get some before my 48th birthday–someone please check back with me before October 2, 2015 to make sure I finally did.
Those skating days were fun…so free. And today was fun, too, until I was brought sharply out of my reverie when a little girl fell near us. I ended up on the floor with her trying to console her until her chaperone came over. Afterwards, I’m struggling to my feet (it’s been a while) and my daughter came over to whisper in my ear, “Mom, your butt crack was showing.”
Jeans were higher back then, weren’t they?