Did anyone have Walkie Rollie roller skates that converted from skates to sandals? If so let me know! Thanks!
Hey! Anyone else used to have those ugly rollerskates, usually with racing stripes, with HUGE orange wheels? I had blue ones with ORANGE stripes! I think they were hand-me-downs from my sister (I had them in the mid 80s-early 90s, until I finally got Rollerblades). I learned to rollerskate when I was about 6 or 7. They were big and heavy, and pretty clumsy, but a lot of fun to use. Mine got pretty worn out, I remember once, I was skating with a friend and suddenly, the axel and front wheels fell off my skate!! I got rollerblades pretty soon after that… The first time I went to the hospital (er) was because of those skates… I was rollerskating, and the ground got suddenly bumpy/gravelly, and I fell down and hurt my arm. It hurt a LOT and I couldn’t move it. I sat there yelling HELP for about 3 minutes until finally someone stopped… My parents drove me to the er. The whole time I was holding my arm strait, I couldn’t bend it at all. They x-rayed it, then a doctor came in, said it was just a bad sprain and forced my arm to bend! That HURRRRT. I guess it was so he could put a sling over it, but sheesh! The worst part, though, was when I went to school and these mean girls kept saying that I was lying and my arm wasn’t really hurt. Too bad it was my non-writing arm, though, so I could still do my school work, hehe… (Isn’t it always the wrong one? 🙂
As a Canadian who grew up in Toronto, I’ve always wondered about references to “stickball” that I’d see in stories about Brooklyn and the Bronx or mentions in stories about ballplayers, like Willie Mays, who still liked to play in the streets when they were major leaguers. The Canadian equivalent to stickball is what we in Toronto, back in the 5O!s called ball hockey–now the kids say “road hockey” or street hockey–especially in Toronto where the winters aren’t long enough or cold enough to provide many outdoor rinks for playing “real” hockey on ice. In ball hockey, you’d wear winter boots and hockey gloves and no other pieces of protective equipment. We’d usually have a ball glove, preferably a first baseman’s mitt, for the goalie and, around Christmas time, probably some kid would bet a proper goalie stick. When Toronto started building “outdoor artificial” ice rinks, that is open air rinks with a concrete floor and built in ice-making equipment, that only provided more ice time for organized league hockey. Ball hockey, like stickball, is “unorganized” by adults and the kids make up the rules on their own. Just as I’ve read in the wonderful stories on this site, neighbours would often complain about the noise and swearing that went on as we played in the street with homemade goals, nailed together from wooden slats and potato sacks, or scraped up frozen snow heaped into a pile to make goalposts. Sometimes, a disgrunted neighbour would call the police, and the cry of “cops” would ring in the cold air as we hustled our goalnets into driveways between the houses and hurled our hockey sticks and gloves under parked cars. Game action was often interrupted by the call of “car” as we’d reluctantly pause and allow just enough space for motororists to make their way through, usually to the accompaniement of curses and admonitions to “Get a move on, we got a game goin’ here fer Chrissakes!” In the summertime, we’d play softball at night in school playgrouds and touch football as the summer changed to fall, something that happens in September up here. But on hot summer afternoons, we played “wall ball” which was just like some of the games described by stickball players. We’d mark a strike zone on one side of a u-shaped section of our school where all the windows were protected by a heavy metal mesh. On the other side of the “u” there were different coloured bricks at different heights, and these would demarcate a single, at the lowest part of the wall, to home run, at the highest section under the roof. We used regular baseball or softball bats and if you knocked the tennis ball (no Spaldeens in Canada at that time) on the roof, it was an out. The school janitor would go up there about once a week and throw the balls back down to us. We also played a game called “zones,” on the regular baseball diamond in our schoolyard. If we didn’t have enough players for a full game, we’d either choose up teams of two or three, or simply rotate and keep individual scores. In zones, we’d draw an imaginary line from the plate through the pitcher’s box to a point against the chainlink fence around the outfield. Then we’d throw our jackets or anything that might be lying around on the ground along that line to mark the single, double, triple zones and over-the-fence homerun. < I think for us though, the ball hockey games were the best equivalent of your stickball. Make up the rules as you play, usually with a “bald” tennis ball, better to stickhandle with if frozen, on a street slick with frozen snow, and no adult supervision. From time to time, we’d hook up with kids from another street for games that got so intense we’d usually end up playing home and home, best four-out-of-seven, with frequent changes of venue to other streets, dragging the goalnets behind us, to keep one step ahead of the cops. For these big games, some kid would usually show up with a pair of old goalie pads. Occasionally, in the summer time we’d play on the old-fashioned roller skates–not the in-line fancy skates of today–but the kind with rollers that had adjustable fittings to slip on over street shoes. Often, these were borrowed from girls on the street because street roller-skating was more popular with girls in those days. But these games were infrequent, because hockey is really a cold weather sport and it would become unbearably hot to play ball hockey in the summer time. We also played, girls included, a street ball game, like baseball, that we called “rounders.” The batter would bounce a tennis ball and hit it with the palm of his/her hand, and the bases were marked out as described by many of your writers about stickball. As I watched my own fully-equipped sons playing Little League ball or “organized” hockey with coaches and parents yelling, “stay on your wing, backcheck, take the body,etc” I realized that kids now don’t get many chances to enjoy the unregulated play we did when we played ball hockey or “shinny”–on skates on outdoor rinks and ponds–and that a lot of the fun came from settling arguments among ourselves about whether a goal was scored or not, or whether the ball was fair or foul. I guess inner city schoolyard basketball is the last remnant of that kind of free play, without parents having to drive kids for 7AM practice at a rink half way across the city. Free play–ball hockey or touch football or “wall ball” or “zones”–we had it all. Although I played organized hockey and football right through my university days, my best memories and feelings about sports remain those “unorganized” games on streets and schoolyards. Long live stickball and its counterparts. (I guess in most of the world, a soccer ball is all that kids need to have similar experiences.) Love …
Hooray for anything that can pepetuate the sound of roller skates! My scooter was built for me by my next-door-neighbor, Harry Schwartz, who used making it, I think, as a diversion from studying for the PA bar exam. He even painted it pink for me. Harry, if you’re out there, I am still grateful.Nobody built anything for me as fun as that scooter!
Statues! Sure, I remember that game and loved it. We played it in the 50s and 60s growing up in Queens. I hope kids are still playing it. As for the ball bearing roller skates, they were the best! If you couldn’t skate very well, they had enough resistance to hold you up and keep you from falling on your face, at least long enough to grab onto a fence post, lamppost or side of a building. I loved the sound they made, the little yellow “hubcaps” that were actually the ball bearings, and the ritual of tightening up the clamps to fit just so around your sneaker. I also loved wearing the key around my neck and feeling it swing back and forth as I went.
I grew up in Bensonhurst,Brooklyn in the 40’s and 50’s. Both of these games were played in the middle of the street. There were not all that many cars then. Both boys and girls participated. Does anyone else remember these games and how exactly they were played?In Statues the leader closed his or her eyes and counted to three. The players moved toward the leader as quickly as possible but when the leader looked you had to be frozen as a statue. If you got caught moving you were out. The one who could tag the leader won.I can’t seen to remember Three Feet Off the Ice But I believe we played it on roller skates. Does anyon remember ball bearing skates.
For my tenth birthday, in 1946, my parents surprised me with the best gift of my life, a second-hand bicycle which my older brother had painted bright yellow with red racing stripes. It enabled me to graduate from my well-worn roller skates and to travel beyond the sidewalks. My world had expanded! This priceless bike had no gears or manual brakes, but, with that bike I could join the older kids who would gather at dusk and play hide and go seek …in and out of the alleys that cut through our neighborhood, behind Wilson High in Washington, DC. Open garages were safe spots to hide back then. One summer we made the game a bit more interesting by taking a piece of chalk along and leaving a trail of arrows on sidewalks, trees, and telephone poles… as clues to be followed. An “X” marked the final hiding area, and the game was over when it was too dark to play. A few years later my bike was stolen one night from our garage, and it wasn’t until I bought myself another bike after many years had passed, that I realized once again the joy a bicycle can be….and still is.
Being born in the 1970 I was blessed to have enjoyed BOTH Metal skates (and yes! I remember having to drag that lose skate over to a bench so I could redo it!) and white boot, orange rubber wheeled ones. I also remember the sneaker skates! I thought those were the coolest! I got stuck with the white, blister causing boots. And you couldn’t have any scuffs on those white boots….Noooooo! As soon as they got scuffed, you busted out the white liquid shoe polish! I polished mine so much that I rubbed off the foam applicator tip on the liquid polish bottle. 🙂 I have a friend who sill has her brown suede skates. She used to show them off but rarely skated with them lest she mess them up. Waste of money if you ask me…. I got some rollerblades a couple of years back. But because I learned to skate on 4 wheels with the stopper at the toe, I have soooo much trouble stopping it’s not funny!!!