Talking It Over: Memories on wheels
Rollerskating is a lot like riding a bike. You never forget how but after a while, your body protests every time you do it.
I grew up doing both sports regularly. I enjoyed biking but I really looked forward to the few opportunities each year to go rollerskating. It was always lots of fun, involved family and friends and seemed quite romantic in my young mind.
I learned to rollerskate at Perkins roller rink located north of Morris on Pomme de Terre Lake. The building is still there but was converted to a camp some years ago.
In this roller rink there was a room set off to the side for beginners. I like to think of it as a rubber room as you bounced off the walls and floors a lot as you learned how to balance on those skates.
The Perkins rink was where my family spent most Memorial Days, picnicking with family and enjoying the activities. We also traveled once a year to Lake Shetak near Slayton for a family reunion and another park with a roller rink.
It was at Lake Shetak that rollerskating took on a different tone for me. The skating was especially fun there with the music, lights and glittering mirror ball. During one particular dance, I noticed a handsome young man and was skating behind him when the song "Turn around, look at me" began. To my surprise he did turn around, took my hand and we skated together for the rest of the song. We were both pretty young and didn't see each other again, but rollerskating started to feel more romantic from that day on.
Over the years I joined groups, friends and even dates at various rinks in the area. We often went to the Benson and Morris armories for rollerskating and later to the new rink built in Morris. We continued to skate at Perkins until it closed. Even after I was married and had children, we spent a few birthdays and other special events rollerskating.
It was so much fun to watch and participate in the 'couples skate' or 'all skate' times. I even took part in a few rope dances on skates, being careful to not be on the end where you would swung around into all kinds of objects and people. I also enjoyed watching the skaters who could dance while skating, skate backwards and do other tricks while rolling around the rink.
It has been a long time now since I laced up skates and hit the floor (literally) at a roller rink. I'm not sure if I would still be able to skate as well as in the past but it sure would be fun to try. The sad part is that skating is becoming a thing of the past. The big rinks are closing down, probably because it would cost so much simply in utilities and upkeep to keep them running.
It is probably for the best as far as my body is concerned but I would love to think that my children, grandchildren and future descendants would be able to enjoy this sport as much as I did.
After all, there is nothing more fun or romantic than gliding around a large, dimly lit room, hand-in-hand with a beau, listening to beautiful music. It just doesn't get any better than that.