Time Rolls On

Privacy Level: Public (Green)
Date: 6 Mar 2020 [unknown]
Location: North Bay, Ontario, Canadamap
Profile manager: Nicole Boorse private message [send private message]
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A memoir by Nicole Duchesne, written March 2020


Remember the song Brand New Key by Melanie also known as The Rollerskate Song? The line that has never left my memory goes: “Well, I got a brand new pair of roller skates you got a brand new key”.

For those of you who don’t know, the roller skate in this song refers to the steel adjustable kind that required a strap at the heel and a key to adjust the jaws that clamped to the toes of your shoes.

Roller skates-web image

That song came 10 years too late for my roller skating days, and every time that line comes to mind I’m taken back some many years.

I remember:

The steel wheels on paved surface rattled my teeth while I sped with the wind to my imaginary places.

The length adjustability was a marvel of engineering as the skate shrank or grew to a k-jillion sizes! That was a bonus because it allowed me to share my adventures with my friends who didn’t have that gift of travel.

The leather strap to the ankle was easy to adjust. When they were brand new, those straps were too long, so Dad cut them to length: the remainder was looped for safety.

The proper footwear for those skates had to be chosen with care to which I became expert. My shoes were chosen with the maximum welt (yup had to look that up), that’s the strip of material that joins the upper to the sole. The thicker the welt, the better the grip of jaws at the toes. I do remember a pair of saddle shoes in there.... thee optimum choice!

Shoes and skates-web image

The toe jaws kept the skate secured to your shoe. They tightened and loosened with the aid of a key.

And the key… a very important piece of equipment which I learned early on, and the hard way, never to lose your Key. Losing your key meant a day’s fun lost. I can attest neither tightening the jaws with my little fingers worked nor did using a pair of uncooperative pliers. Losing the key necessitated a hunt until said key was found.

My key looked like this-web image

Now here I am, 50 and then some, years later, remembering that song and being flooded with these memories by a picture in hand, it brings me back to 1962. Yup, there I am in my roller skates, at the playground, which had a paved surface, and hanging around my neck, on a ribbon, is my key.

Me -1962

You know… I found a key, though my husband adamantly claims it is his. Doesn’t matter… Does anyone have a pair of roller skates? I have a well-used key!

The key


Comments: 2

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Great page! Thanks for sharing those memories.
posted by Mindy Silva
I love that song, and does the same for me, I had a pair with the key! it was my very first pair of skates. I still have roller skates, and still love to do it. Thanks for the memories! great page!
posted by Arora (G) Anonymous