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Clean Underwear and Ibuprofen…

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

and the Joy of Good Clean Fun - August 2017.

Story by Laurie Grathen

Growing up in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, some of my most vivid good memories of my teen years involved the Rollaire Roller Skating Rink. It was just a few blocks from my house, and as a preteen and teen, it was the place to hang out, be with friends, listen to great music and just have lots of good, clean fun. It’s been YEARS since I’ve roller skated, but every memory I have of roller skating is a good one.

So, when my church announced a couple of weeks ago that they’d rented a local roller rink for a private party, I longed to go.

Mind you, I didn’t just WANT to go, I LONGED to go. I YEARNED to recreate, if just for a couple of hours, that carefree time in my life. I wanted to feel the breeze blowing my hair back as I FLEW around that rink on wheels faster than I could ever think of moving by myself or in a motorized vehicle. Well, at least I wanted to see if it was still possible for me to do that.

Randy was shocked that I wanted to go to a roller-skating party. In fact, he said he’d never imagine in a million years I’d want to do that. Most of my original roller-skating years were pre-Randy, I guess. He said he used to wear metal clamp-on roller-skates, skating on the sidewalk in front of his house. But he was game, too.

Seeing as how I’m older and wiser now, that I'm 61 years old and I’ve learned to think 2 steps ahead, I did a quick run though before we left the house and headed for the skating party.

1. Long, heavy socks to wear inside the skates – check.

2. Looser jeans for better mobility – check.

3. Refill the ibuprofen container in my purse – check.

4. Clean underwear in case I ended up in the Emergency Room – check.

Did I mention I was 61? And Randy was 63? I’m packing enough ibuprofen for both of us these days. And emergency rooms and roller rinks seems to naturally go together at our age.


We were, I’m sure, the oldest couple who actually put on skates. And it wasn’t bad at all. We were able to move around just fine.

Then we transitioned from the carpet to the skating floor.

Yikes, what the heck happened to our stability? How could a quarter inch thick layer of carpet make such a big difference between moving normally and feeling like a piece of spaghetti walking a tightrope. I can’t remember ever feeling so spastic in my life.

But we skated. Sort of. We each made it around the rink several times. Randy said skating was tempting fate but at one point I saw him skating backwards. Not because he’s that good, but because some kid ran into him and got him turned around. Every circuit around the track put him one revolution closer to doing a face-plant. His luck finally ran out the 6th time around. He said he didn’t know that two left feet could go in six different directions all at the same time, but his iPhone broke his fall. Thankfully, he didn’t break his phone. Randy said he knows God has a sense of humor so He must have been howling with laughter watching him.

I didn’t fall. But I didn’t fly around the rink in the manner I remembered either.

No matter. We had fun. Fun like we haven’t had for years. We laughed because we actually got out there and did it. We laughed because we weren’t able to get out there and do it like we used to. We were grinning like a couple of teen-agers when we went to Steak and Shake and ordered burgers, fries and malts. And asked for water so we could wash down the ibuprofen we needed. (I did mention that we’re in our early 60s, didn’t I?)

What a great day!

We all need to pretend to be kids again occasionally. I think that’s why adult coloring books are really the in thing right now.

What did you enjoy doing at a much more carefree time in your life, haven’t done for a long time, that would bring you great joy and delight by trying it again?

Go do it! And tell us about it.

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