Shakespeare on Roller Skates

Summer Memories

Summer skating Memories - Hokey Pokey by Shakespeare

Summer! During our pre-teen years (definition: we liked girls but didn’t know what to do with them), if we couldn’t be in the water, we were on wheels, going as fast as we could to stay cool–not that we were ever really cool, in any sense of the word.

If I wasn’t on my bike, I was on skates.

Which back then meant those heavy steel things you slid apart to fit your sneakers, and then clamped in place with thumbscrews (little known fact: they were adapted from Medieval torture devices). They virtually doubled our bodyweight. We’d roll a quarter of a mile per hour (Whee!) along the neighborhood sidewalks, surgically removing any cat’s tails we crossed, and stopping dead against garden hoses, face-planting and then sliding on rough concrete at five times the speed the skates went (Whee?).

Then we discovered The Roller Rink! There was one near us, and it not only had a smooth wooden floor, it had special rental booties with professional-ish looking rubbery-kind-of skate wheels built right onto them! And they played music while we skated, groovy rock-n-roll music just like what the real teenagers listened to!

But what I remember best was The Hokey Pokey. I thought the song was dorky. But I liked mockingly singing along while we all skated to the center of the rink, and then did the motions–putting our left skatey-foot in, shaking it all about, etc. Why? Because when I did it all goofy and snarky-like those sophisticated 12-year-old girls thought I was cool!

A few years later, as an official high school Drama Nerd, I discovered William Shakespeare. I not only loved his language (still do), but found I had a gift for Shakespeare-izing stuff, making everyday phrases sound like something the immortal Bard himself might have said back when he was impressing girls at the Stratford-on-Avon Roller Rink in 1597. Now I knew two ways to get girls’ attention! And that, as Will says,

’tis what it is all about!

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Culture, Humor, Memoir, Quips and Quotes and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Shakespeare on Roller Skates

  1. Ah, sweet memories of bygone days. Or should I say, days of yore? I, too, biked, skated, and Hokey Pokeyed. Those were the days, my friend. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ha! Love it! I wish I had seen this when I was teaching. We always had such fun with Shakespeare. Have you seen “Shakespearean Insults?” It has two columns of insulting adjectives and a column of insulting nouns. A kid would pick a word from each column, put them together, and hurl the insult at another student, who would respond in kind. Being rude was never so much fun.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow! That memoir takes a generation back in time. I was blessed to have many hours on a wooden skating rink too. Our local 4-H group had a monthly skate night at a nearby rink and Hokey Pokey was always on the rinks playlist.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nancy Ruegg says:

    Did your junior high have skates among its P. E. equipment? (They were the clunky clip-on variety, but made for a wood surface, not concrete.) Ours did. Every Friday the boys and girls met together in the small gym and we’d skate to music–just like at the roller rink. So much to learn, like skating side by side without tripping your partner, rounding the corners by crossing one foot over the other with each stroke without tripping yourself, and graciously accepting invitations to skate from…shall we kindly say, the strugglers(?), and more. Oh–and completing the Hokey Pokey without looking like a dork–the worst nightmare of any kid in junior high. Too bad it was so stressful; it could have been a lot of fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. revruss1220 says:

    Brilliant! But if memory serves, isn’t that version of the hokey-pokey from “Midsummer Night’s Dream? πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      Yes! Little known fact: A Midsummer Night’s Dream was The Breakfast Club of it’s time, based on Shakespeare’s awkward teen years. Bottom recites the Hokey Pokey at the prom.


  6. Kellie says:

    Oh I love the Shakespeare hokey pokey! And skating, I say bring it all back πŸ‘Œ

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pam Webb says:

    Mitchβ€”you have no doubt found the Pop Sonnets website? It’s made for the Shakesnerd thou dost incline towards.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It seems like it would take a lot longer to do the Hokey Pokey this way.

    Liked by 2 people

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  10. Hey, I nominated you! You are, by no means, required to participate, but I’d be more than honored if you did! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  11. c.f. leach says:

    Mitch: I don’t know what to say. Oh snap! I am just overwhelmed with the hilarity of this post. Memories light the corners of my mind—-misty watered colored memories of the way we were. I love the Bard, but I also love Barbra too. You are something else my friend (LOL). Blessings and Peace.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. This was really fun!! My skating adventures from junior high onward were on ice skates.

    Liked by 1 person

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