Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Eight wheels good.

Back in the 80s, when roller rinks were still en vogue, my friends and I skated away our weekend nights. We'd show up to the rink in our teenie-bopper uniform: tight tops and jeans, hair feathered to the max, eyelids marked with pink and grey eye shadow, and a dab of Jovan musk behind the ear.

The music of the day was rock. We skated to the likes of Journey, REO Speedwagon, Ozzy, Judas Priest, etc. I think Ozzy was actually reserved for ladies' fast skate where we girls would skate like mad around the rink either until the song was over or we rolled off the floor.

I recall once my middle school hosted a skate party at our local rink, Valle Vista, in Hayward, CA. A friend and I were photographed that year for the school year book. My feathered hair was a little bit droopy that day, but I was rocking a lavender London Fog jacket and a jersey with an image of a unicorn on the front, so I was feeling pretty cool. Alas, Valle Vista closed in 2003 & a fire gutted the building in 2008. The year book from '82 is also gone, so there is no photographic evidence to back my assertion of how fly I looked. Instead, I offer you the 2017 version of that girl still skate crazy, if however, a little less suave on wheels.

Already looking rather forlorn...
Me, lacing up for a quick skate around Old Oakland
Remains of Valle Vista

I bought the skates in the photo in Bayswater, London at a joint called London Skate Centre about four years ago. There was a local skating event at a bar (yes, alcohol & skates were a bad combo, thanks for asking) that I had wanted to attend, so with the help of Yelp I found the skate shop. Since 2013, I've worn these skates a total of five times. The last two skate outings took place in Golden Gate Park.

The Church of 8 Wheels, a local skate organization offering roller boogie nights at a church here in town, also puts on a wee spread Sundays in the park. A gaggle of us joined in a few weeks back. I was thrilled to be skating again & in such nice surroundings as the park. There was a sound system playing funky tunes, a host of costumed participants, and those of us in 'civilian' gear. Both inline and quad skaters were welcome. It was a joyous scene, to be sure.

Valle Vista, skate rink extraordinaire of yore, used to host skating competitions. This clip shows the beauty of quad skating. Of course, then as now, I could barely do a fourth of what this young girl was capable of. I'm lucky if I can still skate backwards in a straight line, but darn it, I'm going to keep at it!


  1. Oh what fun.
    We didn't have skate rinks. We roller skated - on the sidewalk and on the road. Falls were bloody affairs. Quite literally.
    Love that you have gone back to it.

    1. Thank you, E.C.! You lot have marsupials, we had roller rinks. ;)

  2. I used to skate when they had to be tightened every other minute with a key. Lots of skinned knees. Now, my feet would be up over my head. My daughters were children of the eighties. I remember them well.

    1. My first pair of skates needed a skate key to keep them tightened. They were not that fun to use. Falling down was certainly par for the course!

  3. You don't have a copy of that yearbook? How sad. I never did get into skating, but I know the era of which you speak. (I'm just a tad bit younger than you.)

    1. Yeah, in one of my many moves the yearbook must have gotten lost. Roller rinks were the shizz. There's still one here in the Bay Area, but I have sort of 'aged out' of that rink. (I feel like I could go if had children.)


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