Recently a woman in her 40s asked me to come to her birthday party. I thought why not? It is a good reason for a celebration so I accepted the invitation. Cake, ice-cream, people, fun, music, sounds like a good time to me. Then this 40 plus-year-old announced her party would be at Skate Country and it got me thinking…
As a teenager, I used to enjoy skating and went to this skating rink often. When I walked into Skate Country I was surprised that the front area where you enter had not changed. The cashier windows were the same as they were over 30 some odd year ago. I then opened the doors to go inside, and memories began to flood me. I slowly looked around. Not much had changed. I thought for sure technology would have taken over and maybe even a Starbucks would be where the snack bar once stood, but for the most part, the roller rink remained unscathed by technology or commercialism.
I was about 19 or 20 the last time I walked into Skate Country. My boyfriend at the time liked to go skating there. After all, we met at the roller rink so we went often. Prior to him, I would walk into Skate Country several times a week with my girl friends from school.
We would pay our fee, lace up our boot skates and hit the floor. We always made sure we wore the correct attire because if your pants were too short, you looked like a dork, so preparing to go out and skate was always fun. We wanted to look perfect when it came to the lady’s choice dance. That did not change either as I watched the light dim and the DJ announce lady’s pick.
I found my friend’s table that was having her birthday and sat down telling her this is where I had met several young boys and fallen “in love”, and this is where I dumped a few young men. This is where I spent most my summers as a teenager and where we liked to go when we were bored.
As I was talking to her I listened and Jive Talkin’ by the Bee Gees then Shining Star by Earth Wind And Fire, and The Hustle by Van McCoy. I realized the skating rink was not the only thing that did not change. This was the same music I skated to as a teen in the mid 70s. The one thing I did not like as a teen was disco music. I loathed it, however, when it came time to lacing up the your boot skates and getting on the floor, disco was tolerable.
I turned to see the snack bar serving the same foods. I watched a few pizzas come out and saw how awful they looked. I remember during the summers my mother would give me and my cousin Tom a few bucks to go skating and eat pizza with pictures of coke, and she could get rid of us for the day for less than ten bucks.
As I looked around at the sights, the sounds, the smells I could not help but notice that it was as if this roller rink that opened in 1972 had frozen in time. Not much had changed at all. I will admit I did not put skates on, rather I sat and watched and just let the memories take over for a few.
Skate Country is still alive and well today and actually attracts quite a crowd. It is the only roller rink left in Tucson. I think once in a while I will walk in and sit and just watch. I doubt if I will put the skates on, however, the memories were so pleasant to me, it just reminded me that keeping it simple sure goes a long ways.
What are your memories of Skate country?