SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Ice skating and hot chocolate evokes memories

 

I can’t remember exactly when I laced up my first pair of ice skates. But I do recall I was ice skating by the time I was 8 years old and would often go with my older sister to skate at Bennett School, 10115 S. Prairie Ave., in Chicago.

Bennett was the first school I attended before transferring to St. John de La Salle. I do recall they had a large ice rink at Bennett that provided a lot of room for skaters.

Bennett was not far from home, about four blocks. Sometimes on the crowded weekends in January and February, I would go there with my older sister and my mother and father. My parents had no intention of skating. They would just watch and cheer us on.

The Bennett ice rink was probably not much different than other ice rinks at the time. Music could be heard over the loudspeaker. They were mostly show tunes, no rock ‘n roll that I could recall. But it was a festive atmosphere with little shacks set up where skaters could warm up on colder nights. They also sold hot chocolate.

I had a lot of fun and an amazing thing occurred. While frequently falling at first, I gradually improved. After a while, I would go up to skate with my younger sister and a couple of other friends from our block.

We moved from Roseland to 97th and Throop in October of 1963. I remember my older sister mentioning that we should go to Michael Kirby’s to skate. This was a new experience for me. You had to pay a fee to enter building. You could rent skates or bring your own. I had a pair of black figure skates at the time.

My father would drop us off at the closest Michael Kirby’s to our new home, at 79th Street and Loomis Avenue in Chicago. We would race around the rink for most of the afternoon until my father would come and pick us up. For the most adventurous and daring, venturing out to the middle of the rink is where the most experienced skaters would go. My sister would be among them, trying out different techniques and performing tricks.

I gained enough confidence to go out to the middle. I had always had problems skating backwards. But I would successfully do a few spins and was quite proud of myself. And then again, I would fall frequently. A little humility is good for us all.

The next winter, my father decided to freeze our yard for us to go ice skating. Our yard in the Washington Heights neighborhood was much larger than the one we had in Roseland. The surface was a iittle bumpy and it was a little uneven. The following year my father got the hose out again to freeze the yard. Our next door neighbors, three women who were related to each other in some way, came out to watch and even allowed my father to use their hose.

The three women were very jovial and were known to have a few cocktails on the weekends. I suppose their good humor was tested when they came over to inform my father that their basement was flooded. My dad ,of course, helped bail them out but our neighbors did not seem that concerned. Maybe it was cocktail night.

My father then came up with an alternative plan and purchased some wood that he shaped into a square in the middle of our yard. He then rolled out plastic for the surface and then brought out the hose to freeze it. The end result was that although the rink was not as large, it was smooth. The rink was still as large as some other backyards so that we could occasionally have hockey games.

I recall getting some pads on and freezing pucks in our freezer. Hockey pucks were commonly found near our ice trays. We would play hockey or just skate for hours. I recall being out there when it was about five degrees or even when the temps dipped below zero. We made sure to dress warm and as we continued to skate, we would warm up.

Heck, even if I did get a little cold, I was just few steps away from our side door. I would warm up and maybe even have a cup of hot chocolate or two.

After a couple of years, I did not go to Michael Kirby’s as often. Many other friends also froze their backyards. When I visited my cousins, who moved from Roseland to Crestwood in the early 1960s, we would occasionally ice skate at the creek. We would play some hockey as well.

I continued to skate over the years. I usually go to the Mount Greenwood rink because I can rent skates for a nominal fee and skate for a few hours if feel up to it.

Today, a few hours of skating and a cup of hot chocolate is fine by me.

Joe Boyle is the editor of The Reporter. He can be reached at [email protected]

Local News

Rich Jensen cuts the ribbon on November 17 at the new location for Pizza Castle. (Photos by Don Pointer)

Comings & Goings: Pizza Castle now open in Hickory Hills

By Bob Bong After almost five decades of serving pizzas from a small storefront in Chicago’s Gage Park neighborhood, Pizza Castle co-owner Richard Jensen had an opportunity to move into a bigger space and he jumped at the chance. So, Jensen packed up the family business and made the move a few miles south to…

Brookfield Zoo’s ring-tailed lemurs—Skinner (left) and Moses—were treated to an early Thanksgiving feast that featured all the trimmings. This annual tradition, now in its ninth year, takes place the day before the holiday. (Photo by Jim Schulz/Brookfield Zoo)

Ring-tailed Lemurs at Brookfield Zoo enjoy 9th annual Thanksgiving feast

The annual tradition of Brookfield Zoo’s ring-tailed lemurs receiving an early Thanksgiving feast took place today, November 23. Now, in its ninth year, the animal care staff prepared the meal for the primates that featured all the trimmings laid out on a fall-themed table setting. This year, the menu for the lemurs—15-year-old Moses and 12-year-old…

Palos Heights' Thomas Chong tags one of the hundreds of trees being sold by the Palos Lions Club. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Palos Lions trees have arrived and are ready for sale

By Jeff Vorva For more than three decades, the Palos Lions Club has been selling Christmas trees Close to 600 trees arrived at the lot on Harlem Avenue near 127th Street on Saturday. The only difference this year is that unlike in past years, there are no monster-sized trees available. “We can’t get the bigger…

Stickney Mayor Jeff Walik holds up a Veterans Parking Only sign that will be installed at various village locations (Photo by Carol McGowan)

Stickney to designate parking for veterans; will add more police officers

By Carol McGowan The Village of Stickney has approved the installation of parking signs to designate spots for veterans. At the November 15 Village Board meeting, Mayor Jeff Walik revealed the sign and explained why they were going up at various locations in the village. “I was recently at Jewel in the village, and saw…

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said other communities can learn from the way Orland Park does business. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

After congressional loss, Pekau ready to keep Orland Park a ‘fantastic town’

By Jeff Vorva In Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau’s first board meeting since his loss to Sean Casten for a congressional seat, he expressed disappointment with the loss but said he was happy he is still running the village. At Monday’s meeting, Pekau said he was not happy with the way the elections turned out…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound November 23, 2022

Mary Stanek

‘Blue Mass’ coming to St. Nick’s

By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 284-7394 Happy shopping everyone. ‘Tis the season. I will be heading over the morning of Dec. 4 for 10:30 a.m. Mass, a “Blue Mass” at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church, 3721 W. 62nd St. The Mass is in…

Kathy Headley

Getting kids involved in the community

By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 Last week, the Southwest Organizing Project held its first in-person Action Council meeting since the start of the pandemic. This one was geared toward the youth of the area, and it was very well attended. The purpose of…

Peggy Zabicki

Food truly brings people together

By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place • (773) 504-9327 As we enjoy Thanksgiving leftovers, we look forward to Christmas. The holidays mean different things to different people, but it seems everyone celebrates with special holiday foods. Food does bring us all together. Christmas means, among other things, Christmas cookies. I got…

healing mass

Our Lady of the Ridge, St. Linus to host Mass of Healing on November 23

Our Lady of the Ridge-St. Linus Parish will host a Mass of Healing for Those Suffering from Addiction at the St. Linus Church worship site on Wednesday, Nov. 23, at 7 p.m. The Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, also known as Blackout Wednesday, can be one of the biggest binge drinking nights of the year. Father…

Neighbors

DVN JCs Restoration House Ad
Rich Jensen cuts the ribbon on November 17 at the new location for Pizza Castle. (Photos by Don Pointer)

Comings & Goings: Pizza Castle now open in Hickory Hills

By Bob Bong After almost five decades of serving pizzas from a small storefront in Chicago’s Gage Park neighborhood, Pizza Castle co-owner Richard Jensen had an opportunity to move into a bigger space and he jumped at the chance. So, Jensen packed up the family business and made the move a few miles south to…

Brookfield Zoo’s ring-tailed lemurs—Skinner (left) and Moses—were treated to an early Thanksgiving feast that featured all the trimmings. This annual tradition, now in its ninth year, takes place the day before the holiday. (Photo by Jim Schulz/Brookfield Zoo)

Ring-tailed Lemurs at Brookfield Zoo enjoy 9th annual Thanksgiving feast

The annual tradition of Brookfield Zoo’s ring-tailed lemurs receiving an early Thanksgiving feast took place today, November 23. Now, in its ninth year, the animal care staff prepared the meal for the primates that featured all the trimmings laid out on a fall-themed table setting. This year, the menu for the lemurs—15-year-old Moses and 12-year-old…

Palos Heights' Thomas Chong tags one of the hundreds of trees being sold by the Palos Lions Club. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Palos Lions trees have arrived and are ready for sale

By Jeff Vorva For more than three decades, the Palos Lions Club has been selling Christmas trees Close to 600 trees arrived at the lot on Harlem Avenue near 127th Street on Saturday. The only difference this year is that unlike in past years, there are no monster-sized trees available. “We can’t get the bigger…

Stickney Mayor Jeff Walik holds up a Veterans Parking Only sign that will be installed at various village locations (Photo by Carol McGowan)

Stickney to designate parking for veterans; will add more police officers

By Carol McGowan The Village of Stickney has approved the installation of parking signs to designate spots for veterans. At the November 15 Village Board meeting, Mayor Jeff Walik revealed the sign and explained why they were going up at various locations in the village. “I was recently at Jewel in the village, and saw…

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said other communities can learn from the way Orland Park does business. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

After congressional loss, Pekau ready to keep Orland Park a ‘fantastic town’

By Jeff Vorva In Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau’s first board meeting since his loss to Sean Casten for a congressional seat, he expressed disappointment with the loss but said he was happy he is still running the village. At Monday’s meeting, Pekau said he was not happy with the way the elections turned out…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound November 23, 2022

Mary Stanek

‘Blue Mass’ coming to St. Nick’s

By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 284-7394 Happy shopping everyone. ‘Tis the season. I will be heading over the morning of Dec. 4 for 10:30 a.m. Mass, a “Blue Mass” at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church, 3721 W. 62nd St. The Mass is in…

Kathy Headley

Getting kids involved in the community

By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 Last week, the Southwest Organizing Project held its first in-person Action Council meeting since the start of the pandemic. This one was geared toward the youth of the area, and it was very well attended. The purpose of…

Peggy Zabicki

Food truly brings people together

By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place • (773) 504-9327 As we enjoy Thanksgiving leftovers, we look forward to Christmas. The holidays mean different things to different people, but it seems everyone celebrates with special holiday foods. Food does bring us all together. Christmas means, among other things, Christmas cookies. I got…

healing mass

Our Lady of the Ridge, St. Linus to host Mass of Healing on November 23

Our Lady of the Ridge-St. Linus Parish will host a Mass of Healing for Those Suffering from Addiction at the St. Linus Church worship site on Wednesday, Nov. 23, at 7 p.m. The Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, also known as Blackout Wednesday, can be one of the biggest binge drinking nights of the year. Father…

DVN Damar Kaminski Funeral Home House Ad
CRR NH Obbies Pizza House Ad