Roller skating makes a comeback

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Tillsonburg's Coriene Matthews remembers roller skating in the late 1970s.

"I was 16... and it was right here," said Matthews, who had a chance to relive some of those memories Saturday at the Kinsmen Memorial Arena during Turtlefest.

For a $3 fee, people could rent roller skates from Doug Chaplin's Roller Sk8s R Us from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Chaplin set up the skates in a dressing room, providing every size from children's size 8 to adult 14.

"This is what we would do back then on a Friday night," said 53-year-old Matthews, who had skated while in high school. "This is where you would meet your friends – it was a lot of fun. The music would be playing, just like this, and at the end they would turn the lights down and you skated with your girlfriend or boyfriend. Just like a dance... on roller skates."

But roller skates rolled out of style many years ago and Matthews hasn't been on roller skates since her school days.

"It just faded out. I guess the young people got older, got jobs, had kids. And then other stuff came in."

She was still on her first lap Saturday afternoon when she fell. But she got back up ("it's roller skating, you keep going"), continued on her way, and loved every minute of it.

"It's a good workout," she laughed.

Matthews, who brought her son and some of his friends, said he also seemed to like it.

"I really think they should do this again," she said.

Chaplin estimated about 100 people tried roller skating on Saturday. He rented 91 pairs of skates, and some brought their own.



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