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Remembering steel-wheeled skates and Christmas decorations


With Christmas coming to a stop and all the pretty lights coming down for another year, the blahs are rapidly approaching. It is always sad to me when the holiday spirits starts leaving, for I begin to ask myself, “Will this be the last time I get to enjoy the pretty lights?”

Anyway, I did enjoy them this year. The City Utility Department did a wonderful job installing the reconditioned pole decorations. There was probably not another town anywhere, which had any prettier decorations, and all the city workers who helped with the pole decorations, you deserve a big “Thank you”.

There were some pretty yard and house decorations this year again also. Coach Gault did his magic again with all his displays and Jerral and Lynn Cooper did a superb job decorating with their laser light display. If there is anyone else who enjoys the pretty lights more than I, then you really enjoy them.

Now I would like to mention something else, which came to my mind this Christmas afternoon while riding around with our grandson, William.

The weather was perfect, but not at all like what Christmas weather should be. While riding, I was thinking about the Christmas days on the Lydia village when I was a youngster. Just as soon as us young villagers got up Christmas morning and saw what Santa left us we hit the streets.

Many of the youngsters would be lucky enough to receive a new bike, but a lot of us would get new steel-wheel roller skates. These skates were sidewalk classics and in no way would they compare to the nylon, roller bearing skates of today.

Our skates were made for cement sidewalks and the oval skating rink behind the old Providence School. I do not remember what year the skating rink was built, but I do remember how much us youngsters enjoyed it. The rink was another example of how the “Mill Company” provided for mill workers and their families.

Clinton Mills had one also near the corner of Jefferson and Sloan Streets, but I doubt that it was enjoyed as much as ours at Lydia. I seriously doubt that only a very few children received skates from Santa this year, and with all certainty, no one received a pair of the steel-wheel ones.

There is a pair of the old skates and a skate key hanging in my wife’s out building, and each time I stop and look at them, memories of my childhood skating starts to flow.

As William and I were riding, I thought how nice it would be for him and his brother, Michael, and all of the other young children of today to be able to experience the joy, which the old steel wheelers brought to us young mill villagers.

Still remembering,

(Tommy Kitchens lives in Clinton.)