Dad's Memories

Roller Skates in Brooklyn

- 08 May 98 - 08 May 98

All the kids had roller skates, and one cold winters day we decided to go exploring. We skated all the way down Flatbush Ave to the very end -2 or 3 miles- down to Gerritsen Beach. This is kind of an inlet off Jamaica Bay. It was cold enuff for ice to be around the shore, and of course the kids had to take off the skates and walk out on the ice. Lots of fun, 'till the icy crust gave way and I plunked down, up to my chest in black muck under the crust. I involuntarily threw out my arms to stop from going down any further, and the others scooted back to shore. Art was then a Boy Scout, and luckily had gone thru a class on how to rescue a person who fell thru ice. He and Harold Jost, our closest friend and neighbor on Lloyd St., grabbed some branches and sticks and slid out to me with these to keep them from going thru the ice too. They were able to pull me back up, and we got out of there pronto. I was all over black goo up above my belt buckle, so we scraped off a lot of gunk, put on the skates, and hightailed for home.

Mom had to know what happened, -gave Art a scolding for not knowing better, - gave us both a big hug, told us to "drink this hot cocoa right now before you catch your death of cold, and take a hot bath - right now". Yes Mama.

Roller Scooters were a big thing. The skates were adjustable, you could make them longer -or shorter- to fit your shoes. You could also take them apart to get a pair - of Front and Back wheels - which you nailed to a board maybe 2 or 3 feet long, a wooden box nailed up front on the board and you had a Scooter. Roller skates had a rubber "pad" cushioning the wheels, it let you turn as you leaned in or out on the skates. If you removed this pad it made the scooter more maneuverable, you could turn just great.

So, one fine day, chasing after an ice wagon to hitch a ride, -the skate wheels ran into a stone in the road, -pitching me head over teakettle over the front of the scooter. When I got up my arm had a strange bend and it hurt. Art said " you better get on home". Left the scooter there and ran home.

Mom & I took the trolley up to our family Dr's house, all the Dr's worked out of their homes then, and Dr Sherman had me lay the arm on a table in his office, took hold of my hand and pulled it out to "get the bones lined up right again". Put a splint under the arm, wrapped a lot of gauze around it, mixed up some Plaster of Paris, soaked the bandages good, gave me a lollipop, and said "now you sit quiet and when you finish that lollipop that'll be hard enuff that you can go home". So much for todays Hi-tech Emergency Rooms!

While I still had the cast on - My cousin Russell Hartley, about ten years older, lived two blocks away on Martense St.- showed up at our house on a motorized bicycle. Had a third wheel attached to the back wheel an it had a motor that drove it along pretty fast. Pop happened to be home when Russ came by, and Russ talked him into trying the bike. So, hop on and away he went down Lloyd St - lickety split. Going fine, 'till there were a bunch of kids in the road near the other corner, and the bike wouldn't stop. so nuthin' to do but dump before running into the kids. Came up with a broken shoulder--and now we got two in the family wearing slings. Russ apologized for not warning that the bike didn't stop too good--never did see any more of that motorized bike.

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