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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Bill Pekarski: Day 286, Living life on my terms

Bill Pekarski Jim Linn with Bessie Bamberger, the original jacket from Richard Long days, and a very young Steve Kelly.

Day 286, Living life on my terms.

So Beth and I are making a conscious effort to go through things that we don’t use and to put them aside for a yard sale. It is amazing to me that we went from a fairly small apartment to a fairly large house and we have accumulated a whole lot of, well; let’s just say “stuff.” I was going to use another word that begins with s but I thought I should keep it clean.

Among the stuff that my wife feels should be in the sell pile is my roller skates. I have a little problem with letting them go, even though there is zero chance that I will ever be able to roller skate again since my back surgery a few years ago. The problem is I custom built those skates with precision wheels and bearings, heavy duty trucks and plates, and a size 15 shoe. I mean really, how many people would they even fit?

Then there is the fact that I have so many memories attached to roller skating that I have a hard time of letting go of my last tangible reminder. I did the better part of my growing up and formative years at Magic Valley Skateland. I fell in love just about every weekend; I learned all about music and being a DJ; I taught scores of kids how to skate; and it really was one of the best times of my life.

Come to think of it, I really miss Saturdays at the rink. I used to be there early in the morning for the tiny-tot session, then the matinee from 1:30-4, and lastly the evening session from 7-11. Then there were the nights we did the lock in until 6 or 7 the next morning. It was exhausting to say the least, but it was fun going from little kids all the way up to the evening session which was predominantly teenagers.

Back when Craig Bamberger was there, we would get a couple of milk shakes and a pizza from Erway’s between the afternoon and evening. We always ordered what we called the “garbage pizza.” That is a pizza with everything but the kitchen sink, and boy did they know how to make it! There was always lots of pepperoni, sausage, kielbasa, and Canadian bacon to go with a multitude of veggies. Each slice probably weighed in at about 2 lbs.

We would vacuum and mop all of the high traffic areas and I would dust-mop the skating floor. With skates on, it only took about 5 minutes to do the entire floor. Then, before you knew it, 200 to 300 people would come through the door for the evening session. It was always busy and it was actually kind of hard work keeping a group that size under control while making sure everyone has a good time.

I also had the privilege to work with some great people over the years; Larry Grigsby Sr. and Jr.; Jim Linn, Dax Daisley, David and Sue Reese, John Pierce, Kevin Huss, Scott Boucher, my sister Anne, and many others. Craig and Bessie were also really great to work for back then. Bessie always killed me because she never lost that southern drawl; whenever she spoke, you knew she was not born and raised as a local.

I could go on and on about stories from our old rink days. Like the times when we would finish the Saturday session and decide to road rally up to Olean and go to Perkin’s for omelets. The waitresses used to love us because we were all pretty good tippers.

We also used to have the best Christmas parties. That was always the one time of the year when Craig would actually put on a pair of skates. I have to say however, he was a terrible skater. The only way he would put on skates was after a couple of beers and a shot or two of Rumplemintz.

Today I want to dedicate my progress to all of my old roller rink workmates. They were wonderful times with wonderful people.

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