I remember that first time I laced up roller skates in a rink.
It was at The Pyramid in Girardville. The floor was slightly dusty, Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff” blared through the speakers and a colorful portrait of King Tut hung on the back wall.
I fell many times. No bones broke, but I had bruises and sore muscles to last me for days. I eventually gained my balance, and the next time I went to a skating rink, I whizzed around without hesitation.
The Pyramid, like other rollerskating venues in Schuylkill County, is no more. It closed shortly after my first skating stint and was demolished years later. A single home stands on the spot today.
On Tuesday (April 7, 2020), the owner of The Roller Roost II in Pottsville announced that the establishment, which also features laser tag, a rock climbing wall and rooms for birthday parties, is closed forever. The news spread quickly through social media, generating laments, anger, sadness and thanks for many memories made there. No warning was issued, some still had parties booked and a roller derby group now needs a new place to call home for practices and competitions.
My children and I were there just a month ago for a cousin’s birthday party. I laced up skates and did a few rounds of the rink — without falling! It had been at least two years since I skated, so I braced myself for the possibility of landing on my butt. Happy yet slightly sore that I succeeded in remaining upright, I hoped to do it again soon.
Apparently, now Schuylkill County only has The Strand in McAdoo left as a skating rink. With the chaos of COVID-19, its doors are shuttered, like most leisure spots. Other rinks exist regionally, including Ozzy’s Family Fun Center in Leesport, Berks County, but those road trips need to wait for another day.
While sad that The Roller Roost will be sold and used for something other than a rink, I’m glad for the times that I spent there growing up and with my children years later. I’m grateful to have shared a local activity with them that I enjoyed as a child. Lord knows, things disappear over time due to retirements, damages, demolitions and closures (cue my childhood elementary school and church and high school), but we can cherish the memories and hope for better things to see and do when the time arrives — including a venture north to check out Schuylkill’s last roller rink.
The mom of a dancing teen and a scouting tween with whom she enjoys myriad activities and everything in between, Katie Campomizzi-Clews is a copy editor at The Republican-Herald. She began her career at The RH as a staff writer following graduation from Lycoming College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communication with a minor in psychology. She shares her experiences of balancing work and parenting and takes a look at issues, events and trends concerning parents and children.