My Memories of Ecorse Skating Rink
By Diane St. Aubin (McQueen)
Boy can I remember the skating rink; it was never enclosed when I used it and in some ways I’m glad it wasn’t. There just, was something about skating in the outdoors during the winter months that seems so right. I remember them playing songs for us skaters and how often it would stir me to either grab a partner to skate with or just skate all alone in my fantasy as a famous skater – trying all the tricks I knew at the time!!!
Here I am off to the skating rink from Ninth Street…..was a long walk and I always took the back way; not going the route of Outer Drive to High Street, but to the area where there was a street that dead ended behind Schwayder Brothers. I can still remember those high hills with the railway tracks and a big dip in the middle…..really a great place for someone to lurk if they ever wanted to grab a person; never happened tho. How often there would be a slow moving train coming that I would ‘beat’ to get to the other side in order to skate that evening. I always made sure there was only one train coming and not two from opposite directions, sure didn’t want to scare those engineers too badly!!! Just got to say I rarely had to ‘beat’ a train tho.
A lot of times I would then go to Frankie’s store (nope not Frankie’s Bar which was just down the street, also where you could buy a great pizza), and get my skates sharpened – he had an electric grinder wheel just for that reason and could he put a sharp edge on my Canadian Flyers!!! Had those skates even until after I married!!!! Just hated to part with those wonderful skates. Can’t even remember how much he changed to sharpen my skates but it couldn’t have been much because I really didn’t have much money those days.
IF I can remember right the skating rink was free to use when it opened and maybe later they decided to charge 50 cents. I loved to skate and was at the rink every chance I could. Often times I would meet my friends there and even boyfriends as well. Those were the good ole days. I just don’t remember ever having a car to drive there (like they would now). Can’t even remember IF I would call a friend to see if they were going skating; they were either there or not, but there always seemed to be someone I knew skating and I would join in.
It wasn’t often I would rest but if I did I’d grab hold of the side fence rail that circled the rink; at times just to see who else was there skating. Watching for my boyfriend to arrive or even maybe Rich would show up; he always wore men figure skates instead of hockey skates that the guys would wear. We’d tear up the ice, skating as a team and then part, as new people would arrive. It most certainly was a place us kids could gather to spend quality time and not just ‘hang’ doing nothing or making trouble.
What fun that rink was. What memories I still have.
(It’s really a thrill to have Diane contribute this memory. Would everyone please write some Ecorse memories? They can be short and sweet, and it is really sweet to get them! Does anyone else remember going to Frankie’s Market? He sold penny candy and popsickles, so I was a regular customer as well!
And the railroad tracks beside the Trunk Factory. I remember how I could go up and down the hills and cross at least six sets of tracks to get over to Clark’s Candy Store on Cicotte Street and then to Beach Street where my Grandmother Robson – Ruth Spanger Robson lived! Please send me your memories.