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Roller Skating Is Back! … But It Never Really Went Away

by Beverly Aarons


Four wheels, five, three, and even two — inline, quads, or whatever suits you. Choose a rink and pump some tunes — the roller skating craze is in Seattle, too. 

When I first heard that roller skates were on back order and hard to find, I chuckled. First there was a run on toilet paper and now skates too? The pandemic gods have a great sense of humor. But then I began to remember some of my fondest childhood moments: Friday nights as a 1980s preteen rolling around the wooden floor of a local roller rink in Chicago. I felt a deep sense of nostalgia as I recalled the remixed and pumped-up James Brown songs that accompanied my wobbly skate legs. And I wondered: How has one of America’s most beloved pastimes fared 150 years after James Plimpton invented the modern roller skate and 50 years after its disco heyday? 

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