Rollerskating mistakes in junior high

Published 11:34 pm Friday, August 25, 2017

When I was in junior high, roller-skating was all the rage. It was a fad all over, and there were even magazines devoted to skating, featuring girls and boys in satin short-shorts and knee socks, roller-boogying beneath glimmering disco balls.

In LaGrange we didn’t have disco lights, and we sure didn’t have any satin shorts, but we did have a couple of places to skate.

I loved skating with my friends, because I could stand in the middle of them and kind of slide along, clandestinely keeping my balance by holding on to the person on either side of me, but I was a klutz on my own.

I’d done okay as a kid with the old-fashioned metal skates that attached to my shoes, but I just never got the hang of big girl skates.

All my friends had pretty white boot skates with colorful pompoms on the laces. I had to borrow my brother’s, which were two sizes too large and black!

One night I was sitting on one of the folding metal chairs that lined the wall at our local rink, my borrowed skates tucked as far under the chair as I could get them and still be sitting upright, minding my own business, when a couples’ skate was announced.

A cute fellow rolled up in front of me and tossing his blond bangs out of his eyes.

“Hey. Wanna skate with me?” he said.

I declined, using all sorts of excuses, but he just stood there grinning until I finally told him the truth— I just couldn’t skate.

He promised not to let me fall, and so I stood up and wobbled into his pubescent embrace, and side-by-side, we skated for, oh, about ten yards before he had to steady me.

I tripped and I clomped and stumbled, and he smiled patiently. But when my feet began to get farther and farther apart, I looked at him and saw panic behind his bangs.

Slowly I slid lower and lower, my legs out to the sides. I was doing a skating split!

My knight in Clearasil thought fast and grabbed my by the armpits, and pushed me along until we got back to my chair. He helped me sit down and then rolled off into the throng of kids and the roar of rubber wheels on hardwood.

I hadn’t thought about that night for years until I heard that LaGrange will have an ice-skating rink this winter.

I can see it now— rosy cheeked kids gliding effortlessly around; couples holding hands and canoodling as they circle the rink; and me, a little round lady sitting on the ice, calling Amazon to order an airdrop of Bengay right in the parking lot.

Pepper Ellis Hagebak is a resident of LaGrange.