I have always loved to roller skate, from way back in the day when the skates clamped onto your shoes and you used a key to adjust the length. I skated up and down the sidewalks on Redbud Road where we lived, and on Heron Street, where my grandparents lived……both houses had inclined driveways, so…..I fell a lot! However, when you are 7, 8, 9 years old and weigh 50/60 pounds, falling really doesn’t hurt much!
In my early teen years, I graduated to the indoor roller rink, with the nice smooth hardwood floor and great music to skate to…..and some less than upstanding hoodlums as my new-found friends. For Christmas in 1969, all I wanted was my very own “professional” skates…..and I got them! There was one large box under the tree and I insisted it had my skates inside, even though my parents kept saying, no….but….I could SMELL the leather through the wrapping! I was so excited……yay! I was going to look so cool now at the rink, with my very own skates, and I had already started collecting the required pom poms to make me look even cooler!
Fast forward to 1979, I was married, had 2 kids, Kelly, 7 and Brian, 2…….and we all loved to skate. Brian was just learning, but Kelly was quite a good little skater. Kelly and I were even taking some lessons together at the rink in Mesquite, Texas where we lived at the time.
One Sunday evening, December 16, to be exact, we were at the rink, skating, having a wonderful time……Kelly and I had been practicing some of the things we were learning, and I was working on a particular jump that was easy for her. This jump consisted of skating backward, taking your left foot, putting your toe-stop down behind you, twisting left and turning mid-air and landing on your right foot gliding forward. Easy, right?
Insert maniacal laughter here: Hahahahaha…….my left foot went down, my body twisted left, but my left foot stayed firmly planted on the floor. My left leg twisted, broke my tibia and fibula in a spiral angulated fracture. Over the music and general noise of the rink, I heard my leg snap. I screamed a blood curdling scream, so loud that my husband heard me from across the building. Several people rushed to my rescue and tried to tell me, that my leg wasn’t broken, but it was swelling so badly, my laces had to be cut so my skate would come off. Oh yes, it was ever so broken!
I spent the next 5 days in the hospital following the surgery on Monday to set my leg. Luckily, I had already finished my Christmas shopping for the kids. The day I went home from the hospital, on crutches that I could barely navigate, my parents drove down and picked up my kids to keep until Christmas. This was highly unusual, because my parents had never kept my kids, never ever!
What made my broken leg even more special, was the fact that my cousin Gwen, had broken her leg 5 weeks before me, same leg, same type of fracture, except she fell in her garage. We were quite a sight for the next few weeks together with matching casts and crutches. And then every year for the next several years, we had our picture made together and called it our “annual leg show”…..
After my leg healed (10 weeks on crutches followed by 2 weeks in a walking cast), I did go skating again, but just a couple of times, and then I hung up my skates for good. Some things are just not meant to be, and I was not meant to be the Dorothy Hamill of the roller rink.
Every December 16, I recall the events of 1979…..and I wonder….what the heck was I thinking?
Merry Fractured Christmas!