Howard Straps on His Blades - from the archives

December 15, 2015


 “Howard skating on Lake Alice – all the snow is gone!"       "Looking toward Franklin Ave"       "February 22, 1930" 


I love it when people write dates and other information on the backs of pictures - especially old pictures.  I think I have my Grandma Hogan to thank for the details on this one.

Howard is my dad.  He grew up across the street from Lake Alice.  And he was a good skater.  He was 19 years old when this picture was taken.

When I was born, my family lived about half a block from the southeast corner of Lake Alice, a small (1 mile around) lake in the middle of town.  A few years later, we moved to the north side of the lake.  Ice skating on Lake Alice was a big part of my life in the winter.  It was such a treat to skate when the ice was clear (as in this picture).

When I was a kid, the city maintained a skating rink on the southwest corner of the lake.  They cleared the snow, “flooded” it from time to time, and kept a small warming house open.  There was a big pot-belly stove in the warming house, a concession stand, Selmer (thanks for your memory, Sue!) to  help us lace up our skates, and the smell of wet wool.  The people who operated the concession stand also had a speaker system to broadcast music out to the rink.  We could hear this music clearly as it came across the lake to our house in the cold night air.  Whenever I hear Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" I'm transported back to a December night in the 1950's in our yard or at the rink.

When there was snow on the ice, I walked across the lake to the rink, knowing I could find my pals there.  But what a joy it was to skate across when the ice was clear.