As the evenings get chillier with the coming of fall, our activities moved from outdoors to indoors, particularly when it was not yet cold enough to ice skate. One of the fun and inexpensive hangouts when we were growing up was Boardman Rollercade on E. Midlothian Boulevard.
I didn’t start going there until I was dating a girl in junior high school who liked to skate. We met at the Wick Ice Rink during the winter and when the weather warmed up, we switched over to the Boardman Rollercade. I forget what skate rentals were when I went there but at one point, they were something like $.35. A couple bucks would cover skate rentals and food. The Rollercade was run by the Kalasky family and it seems everyone has a good word to say about them.
I never got very good skating because the relationship didn’t last too long after I learned to roller skate. Mostly I remember watching out for the people moving much faster than I was and that it seemed every time we went there we heard “Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum over the PA. I also remember the wood slatted benches and wood floors on the other side of the rink wall where you could lace up your skates.
Skating then wasn’t with the cool inline skates they use today. The skates had rollers that could slip out from under you and leave you on your fanny at a moment’s notice, usually to your maximum embarrassment.
I think I might have gone there a few other times with church groups so I have to honestly say this was never a big part of my social life. My other girl friends weren’t into rollerskating. My wife grew up just down the street from there but never really went. But many grew up going there regularly. Parents would drop off kids on Saturday mornings to go skating. Weekend nights were for teens. The one challenge then was avoiding the fights that young guys liked to get into, whether a girl was involved or not.
The Rollercade just seemed to fit working class Youngstown. Open to anyone, inexpensive, loud music, a place to go for a date. It’s history now. Schwebel’s bread took over the building and the letters S-c-h-w-e-b-e-l-‘-s perfectly filled the blocks that once spelled out R-o-l-l-e-r-c-a-d-e.
What were your memories of rollerskating at the Boardman Rollercade?