I’m celebrating my birthday today! And most of you don’t know it, but I was famous — at least for a few minutes — when I was born.
I was born in such a small town that it took six days for the first baby of the New Year to make its debut. But finally on January 6th, 1958 I found my way into the world. I was my Mom’s second baby and she told me that by the time she got to the hospital I was coming so fast that I was almost born in the hallway. So I was the New Year’s Baby of 1958 at Hart County Hospital — I still have the memory book with all the congratulatory letters from the merchants in that small town. And when I was 15 I got my first job working after school and on Saturdays at the photography studio owned by the man who took the photo for the newspaper. I like to think I helped him get started in his career. The newspaper must have been so excited to finally have the news to report that they got the date wrong, so my news clipping has a “6” written on top of the incorrect number.
When I was born, my parents owned a roller skating rink. It was the kind with smooth wooden floors, and open on the sides with big canvas curtains that were closed in cold weather but could be rolled up when the weather was warm. I’ll never forget skating in that rink with the cross breezes flowing through, adding to the rush of wind that passed over me as I rolled across the floor. People would park their cars along the side and watch the skaters go by, round and round in the never-ending oval. It was the place to hang out, because there wasn’t much else to do….small town life entertainment.
Since this was my parent’s business, they would take me and my older sister with them when they were working at the rink. So when I turned one year old and started walking, they put me in skates and that was that. I don’t know if I ever “learned” to skate, all I know is that as I grew older it was just as natural to me as walking. I’d lace up my skates and off I’d go, never giving it a second thought, it was just like breathing to me. The adults gave me the nickname “Speedy,” because I’d zip around on my eight wheels, passing those who were learning to skate at a much older age, who were always timid because they were afraid they would fall. When someone did fall, I’d skate over to them to ask if they were hurt, so I’d know if I needed to go alert my mom or dad.
In those early days they played records of organ music to skate to (can you imagine teenagers doing that now?), which transitioned to become the Top 40 hits of popular music. My mom would listen to the radio and then go buy records of the most popular songs. Growing up on skates in the late 50s and 60s, to this day I adore that era of music. Play me some oldies or Motown and I’m ready to rock and roll on down the road, preferably with my skates on.
I’ve decided that I need to add more “fun” exercise into my routine for 2017. Who’s ready to go skating with me? Surely there’s a rink with an Oldies night playing somewhere. Time to find out if anyone can still call me Speedy.