Dancing on Wheels

Boys rollerskating. "i took a lot of pann...

Image via Wikipedia

SWANK

“There will be a skating party this Thursday night at the “Swank Roller Rink”, came the announcement over the P.A. during Mr. Mills’ class.

What is a skating Party? I wondered to myself. I had to find out. During the lunch break, my friends told me about roller skating.  It seems I was living in a cocoon all by myself.  Most of the kids knew of the Swank Roller Rink, they knew where it was, and they had been there before.  I never heard of indoor roller skating before.

The rink was at 111th and Western.  It was one bus ride down 111th to get there from Roseland.  Many of the boys who attended Mendel lived in Roseland.  I made up my mind to go just to find out what it was all about.  For me, the trip to 111th & Western Avenue seemed like the end of the world.  After all, Western Avenue was the West border of the city.  From my house the total distance was seven miles and three streetcars.  It took me an hour to get there with waiting and all.

The cost to get into the party was 50 cents, plus skate rental.  When I arrived, a big crowd of kids were already there. The girls surprised me the most, I didn’t expect that.  It was a mob scene with kids lined up to rent skates; others were already skating on the big open floor.  They skated in a big circle around the outside walls of the ring.

I got my shoe skates and sat on a bench to put them on.  For a long while, I just sat there afraid to get up.  Finally, one of my buddies saw me and coaxed me to stand up and try.  Whenever I clamped my steel wheel skates to my shoes, I was stable, and when I had my ice skates on I was great, but these shoe skates were different.  Shoe skates had wide wooden wheels and the rink floor was super smooth.  The combination just looked too slippery.

I sat there watching other kids like me get up and fall on their asses.  Others were walking on the skates, holding onto the rails or whatever was near by.  It was hard to look ‘cool’ when your legs were slipping out from under you and you were on your backside every few steps.

I finally got up enough nerve to get out into the action.  At first, I stayed around the edges to be close to a grab point.  The good skaters stayed away from the outside, so it seemed safer there.  It wasn’t too long before I felt comfortable and was skating with ease.  Then I noticed some of my buddies going around backwards.  They could switch back and forth from forward to backward and look good doing it.  Where was I all these years while these guys were skating at the Swank?

A whistle blew and the music stopped.  “Clear the Floor” came the announcement.  Thank God, I thought, “couples only”.  Bunches of couples stayed on the floor.  I was amazed at their ability.  Some of the girls wore short skating skirts.  The organist, who sat in one corner of the room, played a waltz.  The lights dimmed and the couples got to have fun.  I never saw so many talented people gliding around in total synchronization to the music.  It was impressed by the beauty of it al.  At the same time, I was thinking that I’d never be able to do that.

The dancers flowed around the floor to the music.  Guys moving forward, girls backward with spins that ended in a side-by-side swinging glide.  It was fun just watching.  Soon the music ended and the lights came up and the “All Skate” announcement came.

The traffic on the floor during an all skate was thick.  Some were skating backward, couples were dancing, some were racing and then there were guys like me all holding on for dear life trying not to fall down and get run over.  The idea of falling down and getting my hands run over by skaters kept me concentrating on my balance.  Skaters did fall, but when that happened a safety marshal blew his whistle and skated to where you were to help you up.  At least three of these guys skated in the center of the oval waiting for an accident to happen.  They also made sure that skaters weren’t doing things to make it unsafe for others.  Just like a cop in a squad car, the Marshal came to get you if you were skating too fast, playing tag, weaving, or just being a jerk.  It was their job to keep things fun, without injury.

I really enjoyed the dances and looked forward to the chance to sit and watch.  The fox trot was a cool dance, as was the jitterbug.  By the end of the night I was wishing that I could dance and look cool too, not to mention having a girl partner to skate with.

At 10:00 the party ended and the rush to get out began.  The trip home took longer because the street cars didn’t run as often that late.  I’d get home around 11:30; Mom waiting for me, and Dad snored away.

The next day, at school, everyone had a great time talking about each other’s ungraceful falls and their awkward attempts to make contact with girls.

Mendel scheduled skating parties twice a year, but announcements for parties sponsored by other schools came often.

CITY FARM

My family lived on South Avalon Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. They call the neighborhood Burnside.  Mom and Dad raised us in a small house, with a porch across the front. The property was small, only twenty-five feet wide, and one-hundred twenty feet long. It was a typical city lot. Our house was a small, wood framed, two-story with seven steps that led from the porch to the city sidewalk.  Between the porch and the sidewalk, was a narrow bed of flowers, and a patch of grass.  The parkway between the sidewalk and the street had grass. Sometimes there was a tree there too.

All of the houses were very close to each other. The narrow space between houses called a gang-way was only wide enough for one person to walk through.  On the end of the gangway, at the back of the house, Dad installed a gate to close off the back yard.  At the back of the house we had another porch which Dad walled in to make a three-season room.  Behind the house, was Mom’s farm. It extended between a very small lawn surrounded by flower beds, and vegetables that extended to the garage and chicken coop.

At the end of the lot stood Dad’s one car garage. He built it directly on the ground without a foundation. It had a dirt floor.  Ma’s chicken coop hung off one side. Together the garage and the coop stretched across the lot.  The chickens roamed in a small space in front of the coop.

In this precious plot of ground, Mom and Dad squeezed a front lawn with a flower bed, a three-bedroom house, a back lawn and flower bed, a good-sized vegetable garden, a chicken ranch, and a garage.

Mom grew most of what she needed to feed the family right in her backyard.   The garden produced tomatoes, onions, kohlrabi, cabbage, corn, beans, peas, lettuce, radishes, cucumbers and more.  What we couldn’t eat immediately, she preserved, by canning.  The chickens provided fresh eggs, and meat for Sunday dinners.

Mom grew flowers from seed she got from friends or by taking cuttings. In Spring she had tulips, and by Fall the same bed was a sea of chrysanthemums.  Mom had roses, snap dragons, petunias, dahlias, bleeding hearts, marigolds, zinnias, carnations, and pansies to add a mix of color.  She planted any flower that she could get, and propagated them to keep it going.

My love for flowers, came from watching Mom’s delight at seeing things grow. She loved bright colorful flowers, and grew as many as she could. Mom kept a garden on her father’s the farm too, but there it was mostly vegetables, fruit, and berries, as opposed to flowers.

Her knowledge of plants came from watching other gardeners, and by experimenting  with seeds. She never turned down an offer of new seeds or cuttings from friends. Her trial and error approach, taught her the best methods.

Mother kept her gardens going until she was into her eighties. When her heart began to slow, so did she. She began to lose her sight, and memory. Her gardens became smaller and smaller. The loss of energy killed her desire for the garden, and the city farm was no more.

A GITMO Proposal

Stella Dora Lilly

Stella Dora Lilly

Throughout the campaign for the presidency, liberals have advocated the closing of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp. The idea of locking up terrorists bent on destroying the United States has offended the sensibilities of these open minded people. They berated “W’ for denying these poor troubled souls from Afghanistan and Iraq their civil rights. What the liberals don’t understand is that these guys aren’t citizens of the USA nor are they immigrants. They have no rights in the USA.

I am always open to solving problems and find myself very creative at coming up with suggestions. Among the many reasons for not closing Guantanamo is that no one knows what to do with the remaining bad guys. None of our friends in the world want them. I doubt that the Arab world wants them. So there lies the problem, what to do with these people?

Here is my proposal. There is a very large home in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago that is currently empty. It belongs to our newly elected president. I suggest that the bad guys be brought to live in the empty home of our president. We place them in the hands of our toughest neighborhood gang to watch and to control. One of the neighbors, a retired terrorist himself, can act as their  mentor on life on the southside of Chicago. Another neighbor, Louis Farakhan could arm wrestle Jeremiah Wright for the priviledge of infusing them with a more rigorous hatred for America than they already have.

If we do this quickly, like today, the bad guys can taste some real torture in the form of our normal average winter weather; currently minus six degrees F and dropping. My guess is that they would reform quickly.

If the liberals think the torture of a Chicago winter is too harsh, I suggest they move to the north pole where all the heat from our cars is concentrated and it is much warmer these days. 

On the positive side: The bad guys would stay indoors to keep warm and avoid committing bad acts.

The president will receive a tidy rental for the use of his home. He could put the money away for his daughters’ college fund.

The gang in charge of keeping them in check would have some responsibility teaching these thugs some new techniques for terrorizing communities.

The neighborhood terrorist could occupy his time testing radical teaching methods on them.

The preacher who wins the arm wrestle will re-ignite them with Islam or Black Liberation Theology. 

 Of course all of this would most likely constitute  torture, thereby upsetting  the liberals once more. The final upshot could be the liberals assume the responsibility for reclaiming these lives. They will adopt the terrorists and bring them into their homes  all across the country.

Everyone will be happy again.

Bhutadarma

Nothing is impossible (at least that does not violate the laws of physics). When you can..violate the laws of physics!

I Know I Made You Smile

cartoons/humor/fiction/nonfiction

Attila Ovari

Loving Life and Inspiring Others

galesmind

Come take a journey through my mind

Nutsrok

The humor and humanity of storytelling.

Henry Game

The Next Testament

Gamintraveler

Travel Couple and Digital Nomads on a World Travel

summershaffer

A topnotch WordPress.com site

blogsense-by-barb

at the Re-Birth of America!

The Honking Goose

something to honk about

THE WAKING GIANT

United States Second Amendment Pitbull

Caustic Synergy

United and alone in the world

ELLIOT LAKE News

Political INcorrect Content & Forbidden Knowledge -- Yours To Discover

Aspiring Conservative

Conservative blog with articles about today's politics!

Conservative Kentucky

Reality From my Perspective

Hearing Aid News

HEAR it HERE first! The latest on developments in hearing aids and the hearing industry.

Socialism is not the Answer

Limited Government Is

leaf and twig

where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry

Just Cruisin 2

Where Intellectuals and Rednecks foregather.

allaboutlemon-All Around, In, And Out Of My Own Universe

Greed is an ugly default... Sharing is Caring

Nhan Fiction

"Hope is my catalyst."

prophetbrahmarishi

Just another WordPress.com site

NuVote Reach

Political Co-Dependency Intervention

The Baggage Handler

I made the impossible easy in both worlds!

David Emeron: Sonnets

If I swore not to describe my heart, would it stop beating forever?