Posted tagged ‘roller skates’

“The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind.”

October 19, 2017

I admit it. I am addicted to YouTube’s black and white science fiction movies from the 50’s. No more MSNBC for me. Give me flying saucers, creatures from other worlds, space ships, really bad special effects and even a Nazi scientist. He was in The Yesterday Machine and unsurprisingly, wanted to save Hitler. The opening scene in that movie is a majorette twirling a baton, and that’s a highlight. I’m got to break this addiction. Library here I come.

Today is beautiful, the first in a string of beautiful days. It will be in the high 60’s, even reaching 70 by next week. Despite that near week of rain and clouds, this fall has been a delight.

When I was a kid, I had all the kid things every other kid had. I had a bike, roller skates, ice skates and a sled, something for every season. My bike was my favorite. It took me all over town and even far out of town. Unless there was snow, I could ride. My first bike was blue. It had a wire basket in the front and a bell on the handle bars. I loved that bike.

I remember a tingling on the soles of my feet when I roller-skated. I remember the sound of the skates. They were the loudest on the street and the quietest on the tar parking lot near my house. I carried the key on a rope around my neck. I’d sit on the curb to reattach the skate to my shoe. The skates were heavy.

Like every other girl, I had white ice skates. We all carried our skates tied together on our shoulders, one skate in the front, the other in the back. The trick to skating was always to make sure the laces were tight or I’d have to stop to retie them. My best skill was skating backwards.

When I was in Ghana, kids played with hoops and sticks. They’d use the sticks to roll the hoops. The first time I saw the kids playing, I remembered seeing the same game in old pictures. I never saw bought toys there. I saw cars and planes made from tin cans. Ghanaian kids are ingenious. I did see bicycles, lots of bicycles, but mostly adults rode the bikes as they were dear, expensive. I would borrow a bike to go market. It was an easy ride downhill from my school compound, but going home uphill was, at first, difficult. I had to walk part of the way pushing the bike loaded down as I was with vegetables, fruit and even a chicken from the market, but soon enough I could ride all the way home.

I have a bike but haven’t ridden it in a long while. It has gears. It doesn’t have a basket or a bell. It’s a good bike, but I’m still partial to back pedal brakes and no gears. They were more than enough to whisk me away!

“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.”

April 25, 2016

The day started grey but it is now sunny, not bright but sunny. It is also noisy with birds singing and calling. Monday always seems quiet to me. It’s the day to recuperate from the weekend and all the errands and chores and evenings with friends. I spent the morning with my neighbor. We chatted in English to improve her skills. The have/has problem is the one she can’t seem to shake. I explain it. She thinks about it, repeats it a few times, then a bit later says she have when telling me a story. I want to bang my head on the table. Maybe she’ll connect my head banging with has.

When I was a kid, it was easy to be happy. I had everything I wanted. I had a bike, ice skates, regular skates and a sled. The library was a good walk away but worth the walk. It was filled with books so I never wanted for something to read. I liked school so going every day was no big deal. I loved learning new things. My friends were neighborhood friends so we saw each other even day walking to and from school and on Saturdays for whatever we decided to do. I think it was when I was a teenager that I started to want more.

Clothes became important when I was older. We all wanted to look alike without looking alike. It was a strange conundrum. Transistor radios were a must, the smaller the better. Saddle shoes were in for a while, and I still have a pair of them. Maybe I ought to wear them. My Easter bonnet was a hit so maybe the shoes will be too. Back then only white sneakers would do. We wanted more. Discontentment replaced happiness. Envy was big.

I went through a few more transitions. One of my favorites was my overalls-flannel shirt phase. I wore them with high tops, pink high tops. Individuality had become more important.

I think the Peace Corps made me brave. I was living in a far different culture where I had to do most things on my own including traveling. I learned to be self-sufficient and a bit daring. When I told my family I was going to Morocco by myself, they chatted among themselves and were quite nervous. They even designated my brother-in-law Rod as the rescue person should I break a leg or need saving for some reason. They told me this when I got home. I thought it was pretty funny. I think, though, I should be thankful for a family with emergency back-ups plans for me when I travel. You never know!

“Sounds are three-dimensional, just like images. They come at you from every direction.”

June 23, 2015

Mother Nature is being deceptive. The morning is lovely with sun glinting through the leafy boughs of the trees I can see right outside my window. Patches of blue sky spread across the sky. The breeze is just right. Mother Nature, though, is toying with us. This afternoon and evening we’ll have thunder storms. The night will be chilly and damp.

Even as a kid I was never afraid of thunder or lightning. The louder and more dramatic the storm, the more I liked it. I remember how the house shook when thunder boomed right overhead. The jagged bolts of lightning brightened the sky. I remember clapping for the best in show.

My childhood was filled with sounds, and I have a few favorites. Roller-skates created wonderfully different sounds depending on the surfaces where I roller skated. In the street my wheels rolling on the sand made a grating sound, a harsh sound, and small pebbles were cause for a less than smooth ride. Tar was the best surface on which to skate. The sound was gentle, almost a humming, and the ride was smooth. The sidewalk had small inclines leading to the gutter and the street. We used to roll down those inclines which gave us the momentum to keep going without any effort, but it was tar to street which took a bit of skill. The peepers at the swamp at night made the best sounds. I used to imagine aliens were landing because that was what the song of the peepers sounded like to me. It was a strange whistling, like the sound a ship might make moving swiftly through the air. Grasshoppers sang in the field below my house, and when we walked through the field, the sound got louder almost as if in alarm. The grasshoppers would jump in front of us sometimes three or four at a time. Theirs was a pretty song.

I remember the sounds of kids playing in the backyards all over the neighborhood. I remember the sound of my mother’s voice when she yelled out the back door. Sometimes it was a warning to stay away from the lines of drying laundry while other times it was an invitation to come inside for dinner. In my neighborhood fathers never yelled out the back door. That was always the job for mothers.

“I have recently taken up two new sports: roller skating and ankle spraining, in that order. I am getting quite good at both.

May 5, 2013

The day is chilly but still lovely with lots of sun and only a few clouds. On the way to breakfast I noticed trees with leaves and others with blossoms, some white and some pink. The flowers I saw in the front gardens as I drove by were bright and colorful. Yesterday I had a cardinal pair at my feeder. I hope they make the backyard a frequent stop. Gracie loves this weather and is outside a long time. Right now she is barking at something instead of being inside for her morning nap. The cats, though, are asleep. Nothing interrupts their morning snooze.

We aways called bikes with hand brakes and three gears English bikes though they weren’t made in England. My brother got the first one and his was a Schwinn. He got it for Christmas one year. It wasn’t under the tree but hidden in the kitchen to make it an added surprise. The first time he was sent to the kitchen, he didn’t turn on the light so he missed it. It was the second trip when he saw his new bike. His old bike had been one my parents bought second-hand. I remember the middle section was really thick and the bike was clunky so unlike the sleekness of the new bike. I’d get my own Schwinn a couple of years later. I remember trying to figure out when to use each gear. Three were difficult enough back then. I would never have been able to imagine ten or more.

Every kid I knew had three things: a bike, a sled and ice skates. Girls added one more: roller skates. I never saw boys with key skates you attached to your shoes, but I did see boys at the roller rink. I guess the rental skates seemed more masculine, a bit like hockey skates but with wheels.

When I skated around the neighborhood or in the parking lot at the top of the street, I never fell. Every now and then I’d have to stop to re-attach my skate to my shoe or to tighten it, but I was generally on my feet. A crack in the sidewalk sometimes did me in, but mostly I could skate for a long time without falling. The roller skating rink, though, was a different story. I fell all the time. I think it was the speed of the skates and the evenness of the floor. I’d go around maybe once or twice, if I was lucky, then I’d hit the floor. I was totally graceless when I fell. I went down hard. By the end of the evening, my pants were filthy from the frequent falls and my backside was a bit sore. I’d get home, and my mother would always ask if I had a good time. I always did falls notwithstanding.

“I have recently taken up two new sports: roller skating and ankle spraining, in that order. I am getting quite good at both.”

April 21, 2010

Mother Nature has countered her rain of last week with splendidly beautiful days this week. It will be sunny and in the 60’s again today. Earlier, I was on the deck looking out over the yard. I always feel a bit like the lady of the manor when I do that.

When I was growing up, only girls seemed to have roller skates. It was okay to roller skate at a rink if you were a boy, but boys never roller skated on the sidewalk. I had those skates which tightened around my shoe with a key. I could even make them longer or shorter by sliding the middle then tightening the screw to hold them at just the right length. They had leather straps which buckled across the tops of my feet. The straps always held better than the clamps. Lots of times I’d have to walk and lift my foot high in the air because my skate had come loose from my shoe and was dangling by the strap. When that happened, the routine was always the same: undo the strap, take the key from around my neck, loosen the clamp, put my foot back on the skate and tighten the clamp again. It was best done while sitting on the curb. The key was kept on a string around my neck because a pocket just wasn’t safe enough. The worst thing to happen was to lose a skate key.

I loved the sound of my skates on the sidewalk. It was a crunch sound, almost as if I were walking on snowy ice, but when I’d hit a break in the sidewalk, my skates would click. Skates on tar had a gentler sound and an easier ride.

I’d fall, and I’d sometimes skin my knee, especially in sand. Blood trails running down my leg were evidence of a fall or two, but blood never stopped me. Only little kids ran home crying.