I heard one of those songs on the radio the other day that took me back in time, to a childhood in rural Western NY, where one of my favorite activities was the monthly roller skating party that took place in our high school gym. (NOTE - this is NOT a personal photo here - I googled to find this one.)
There was a roller skating company that had a big truck with racks and racks of brown roller skates in various sizes, and a sound system. They would come and set up, and we would be there, all eager to get our skates and get out on the floor. We really envied those kids who had their own skates, but since I had a gravel driveway and lived on a gravel and tarred road with no sidewalks, owning my own skates really was not practical.
There was an additional aura of excitement - for we were mere elementary schoolers and here we were doing something in the big gym (of course the school was K-12 in one building, so we're talking the other end of a long hall here).
I can nearly recreate the atmosphere in my head. The smell of the skates and of the popcorn that one of the clubs sold out of the equipment closet next to the gym. The sound of kids bumping into the metal gates that the school used to close us off from the areas we were not allowed to be in. The feeling of being taller. The hysterical antics of rolling down to the bathroom and trying to be graceful. The overflowing pile of coats, hats and gloves on one dinky little coat rack in the entryway of school. The long line of cars of parents waiting to pick us up when it was over.
My neighbor and best buddy S. and I would go to these skating parties together. Limbo, Hokey Pokey, Reverse Skate, Pairs Skate, Crack the Whip -we would do it all. The DJ got to where he recognized us, and knowing S's affinity for the Bay City Rollers, would always play S A T U R D A Y Night for us.
And then there was the Moonlight Skate - very romantic for 4th graders "in love".
I went to a commercial roller skating rink once when I was in high school - but it was just not the same. Skating with strangers was not as fun as seeing your friends, neighbors, classmates and schoolmates roll, tumble, show off and laugh. Seeing the little kindergarten kids just learning to skate and their older siblings helping them. Seeing just how low 6 foot tall R could go in the limbo (he was amazing!). Seeing who would skate with who for that last Moonlight Skate.
Hokey Pokey anyone?