When I was five years old, I received the prettiest pair of skates for my birthday. It was white and it had butteflies on the exterior, right where the ankle bone is. (Similar to the picture except the wheels were purple and there were pink and purple butterflies.) I remember my father taking me way out to Ala Moana Shopping Center to get them. Back then, the journey to Ala Moana took about an hour. And for a five year old, that means FOREVER!
I was so proud of those skates. I would roll down the hill right outside the house. At my birhtday party, I rolled around on my skates through out the entire party. You just couldn't sit me down. When I blew out the candles on my birthday cake, I did them in my lil skates! (Look at me with my favorite pink top, big cheeks, and all that hair!) My parents carport is maybe 16'x20' and you couldn't tell me that it wasn't my own roller rink. I couldn't wait to join my older cousins at the real roller rink.
The big kids went to Great America. That was the name of the roller rink! It was located in Kaneohe, behind what is currently Windward Mall. I was so proud to have my own pair of skates to take. I don't even remember getting out of the car. All I recall is approaching the entrance with my parents. The music was blaring and it sounded so good. Circa 1980, the world was making its way out of the disco era but still playing it loud and proud. I think that's when I fell for the Bee Gee's. Sing with me...
...Oh say you'll always be my baby
We can make it shine,
We can take forever
Just a minute at a time
More than a woman, more than a woman to me
More than a woman, more than a woman to me...
The dimly lit rink/ dance floor was bathed in red, orange, green, and blue lights. The disco ball in the middle of the floor took my breath away with its sparkling mirrors. Even now as I think back on it, I'm awash in emotions; feeling those brand new emotions that come with new experiences.
The teenagers skated around in pairs and it looked liked they were disco-ing. It looked like so much fun. I looked forward to growing up and learning to skate like they did and pairing off with a really handsome guy that could MOVE. I anxiously put on my skates, laced them up, and stood against the bannister. I was good at skating, could keep my balance, was really quick on my feet yet I felt so intimidated with so many skaters around.
As soon as More Than A Woman faded. The DJ comes over the speakers and anounces the evenings first contest. It was a race! The distinct bass line of Another One Bites the Dust hits the eardrums, and the crowd goes wild! Of course, that was the first time I had heard the song but it made quite an impression on me as I associate that song specifically to Great America. I don't think I won the contest that night. It didn't even matter. I was taking the whole, new experience in.
As I look back on that first experience at the roller rink, it is a great reminder of my innocense. I once was a young girl, without a worry in the world. EVERYTHING was BRAND NEW! The rink closed soon after my one and only experience there. I think they turned the place into an old warehouse or storage facility. Every time I drive past it, I look at the corrugated tin roof that is still atop the building, and remember the ME that didn't have to make so many grown-up decisions.
In my perfect world, I run a roller rink. I serve as the DJ and owner. My doors are open to young and old, alike, helping them find their innocense again. Suddenly, will play a couple times throughout the evening. (The song is a fave from the wonderful 80's. Thank the movie XANADU.) I cry everytime I hear Suddenly. It reminds me of how exciting life used to be and can still be.
Have you been roller skating?
**Skates Photo Credit