“Can You Name This?”


Why would an eleven year old girl have one of these on a string around her neck all summer long? I think you have to be a certain age to answer this question, though I am not sure what that age might be.

My grandparents’ house in Buffalo, New York had blocks and blocks of flat sidewalks. I lived in an area without them, so I was thrilled by the joys opened to me when we went East. I particularly fell in love with roller skating up and down the walks for hours.

In those days, roller skates went on over your shoes and were adjustable to fit various shoe sizes. That was certainly practical when there were so many children in families making it prohibitive to buy skates for each one. The object above is a skate key, allowing you to adjust the sliding sections back and forth by first loosening and then tightening the nuts. The other end was needed to tighten other parts on the skate, especially over the toe.

Metal skates like the ones I wore

The skates were bone jarring, since the wheels were metal. They constantly loosened and had to be retightened. I continually fell over, skinning my knees. But in those days, every one I knew had skinned knees. There were a sure sign that you were a kid and it was summer!

16 thoughts on ““Can You Name This?”

  1. Ugh, I had a pair of those as a kid, and they were awful! We didn’t have side walks, and there wasn’t a piece of pavement smooth or flat enough to get those wheels to roll.


  2. A roller skate key! The skates we had were so treacherous that I don’t recall ever actually standing up in them, but I can indeed see the physical metal skates in my mind, and that others bravely tried them and some did well–


      1. One of the joys of my life was when my dad intentionally flooded our backyard so we could skate on it one time. I did rather poorly, but there were trees and fences to hold onto. What fun. I was always nervous about falling down and did not pursue any more skating, but it was great for those couple of days–


        1. Nah, Noo Joisey, and my dad had grown up in upstate NY, where he learned that trick. It was back when the seasons were reliable.


  3. Now I understand the song: “I have a brand new pair of roller skates, you have a brand new key”. I had roller skates but not like these. And they didn’t need a key. Clearly a later generation of skates!


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