Toe-Stop Sally: 60s Queen of the Roller Rink
by Brenda K Oswalt
In the sixties, roller skating was hot and I mean really hot. None of those wimpy inline skates like we have today. No sir, our skates had whole “big wheels” and real toe stops.
Fast Sally Knew How to Use 'em
Sally Kendrich was the fastest chick in the 10th grade at Madison High School in Mansfield, Ohio. Everyone knew who she was, but when they referred to her as "Fast Sally," it wasn't because of her sexual habits; it was due to her skating abilities.
Roller skating was totally cool in the sixties, and each school had their own "roller derby queens." Some were racers, some were dancers, some were jumpers and some were twirlers, but they all excelled at the fine art of skilled skating. Why, if there had been a course at school called Roller Rink Skating, every girl would have taken it. But, Sally was the best-looking chick in the litter.
No White Roller Skates for Sally
Any Wednesday or Friday night, half of the teenage population of Madison High could be found at North Lake Park Roller Rink. Most of the skaters were girls, but sprinkled in the pile, here and there, were a few suave guys with slicked-back hair, flashing their cigarette packs rolled up into the sleeves of their shirts. No guy bought short-sleeved shirts in those days; it was a perfectly good waste of money, when any fool knew he could roll up the long-sleeved ones and look real "cool" with his cigi pack shoved in.
But, Sally was the queen. In her dazzling array of short skating skirts and matching dancing skates, she was the undisputed "Rink Mistress." Yes, she had colored skates. Like, nobody had colored skates. Back then, all skates were white, and you had to polish them once a month to keep them looking virginal. Scuffmarks were an ever-present issue.
Sally Could Style Skate 'Em
Toe-Stop Sally was born to be a star, unlike the rest of us, who were pumping our arms and listing right and left, like cross-country skiers on snowshoes. Let’s face it; we were just hoping to eke our way around the wooden-floored rink without embarrassing ourselves. And, as always, Sally would come whisking by us, backwards no less, waving one hand back and forth, like the Queen of England saying, “Hi, you minions," to all of us lowly commoners.
Sally flipped, she turned, she jived to the crusty old organist's vain attempts at converting a recycled, church-revival instrument into a purveyor of rock and roll rhythm. Hey, Sally even made the organist look good, and he swung his shoulders back and forth to the cobbled tunes of "Blue Suede Shoes" or "At the Hop" as his chubby fingers furiously banged away at the old ivories.
When Hairy met Sally
Now, there was one skater guy who had hairy arms so long he could scratch the bottoms of his feet while he was standing straight up. And, from the first day this hairy dude hit the planks, going about 30 mph with his ape-like circle formations, Sally realized she had met her match. Well, no one knew where Hairy came from, but he was there, showing up every Wednesday and Friday night just like clockwork. (article continues)
Continue reading Queen of the Roller Rink on page two.