22 Jun Roll It Back Rollercade
Written by: Laura Nell Burton
Photography by: Christin Gish
Let it be known that I love to roller skate. And a few months after I turned 40, I had an excuse to buy my first adult skates (thanks Target online) for a costume I wore to a Hollywood-themed couples party…a size 11 pair similar to the pink and white version I owned before my age rolled into double digits…
Well, I got a brand new pair of rollerskates
You got a brand new key.
I think that we should get together
And try them out you see…
Seriously, can you get over that blinking, vintage, 6V battery-operated visor (#sourcing, I just adore Etsy!)? Janis Joplin would’ve approved…because Rollergirl wore those skates all Boogie Nights long. Admittedly, I did fall twice dancing with Jack Horner (source those Burt Reynolds hair pieces here), and spent the entire next day in bed on a hot pad dosed up on Advil…was it worth it? You bet your bottom tailbone…zero regrets.
As I dug through attic boxes for inspiration to write this Love Letter, I discovered stacks of photographs from not one, but two birthday parties my cute mother planned for me at none other than The Rollercade.
Carl and Velma Forsythe opened The Rollercade, then called Northporte Rollercade, in May of 1959. They also built or bought six other rinks in San Antonio, of which five remain. The Forsythes were inducted into the USA Roller Sports Hall of Fame, notoriety shared by their daughter Verna Quaranto, now Rollercade’s owner. Verna’s daughter and son, Brena and Vincent, cheerfully run day-to-day operations, and keep a third-generation Alamo City treasure rolling on. For more on The Rollercade’s history, read the March 2017 Express News story here.
Pictured Above (Adults) from Left: Vincent, Brena and Verna Quaranto, and Velma Forsythe
The Rollercade is time-frozen in a heavy 70s disco theme, complete with neon lights and trippy magic-carpet. Besides offering public skating, sign up for private lessons and book parties for young and old alike. Although some things have changed since I turned six, much has stayed the same, including the maple floors, the original lockers and the rental counter. The outside SKATE sign, erected in 1958, was later replicated in neon above the DJ pit which still plays the “Hokey Pokey,” “Monster Mash,” “Hey Mickey” and all the other the songs of my youth, along with Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and Justin Timberlake. Even the four party rooms remain more or less the same:
The Quarantos did recently remodel the large back room, featuring its own skate-up bar (designed with rad, red, reflective road stud #details) and starring huge black and white retro photographs of none other than lovebirds Carl and Velma skating their sweet hearts out.
Indeed, Rollercade is a San Antonio childhood right of passage, and both my daughters celebrated their seventh birthdays under the same disco ball that magically illuminated me more than three decades ago.
The moral of this story is: it’s impossible to outgrow The Rollercade! And, truth be told, we’re itching to plan a grown-up, glow-in-the-dark skating party there…
Glow-in-the-dark tablescape featured on B. Lovely Events.
We’re dreaming of your favorite 80s cover band center rink and cocktails that light up the night…if you’re already feelin’ thirsty, check out our “Glow Big or Go Home” Pinterest board full of party details (and don’t forget to follow us while you’re there). P.S. We’re dying to track down the glow stick man from now-closed Sharkey’s (formerly the best bar in the Red Neck Riviera) to liven up the party…
The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades…