The hot place to be back when
I was a kid (in the mid fifties,) was the "Kings" roller skating rink in Franklin.
This skating rink was built in 1948 while I was still
School. At the time it was just known as "King's." The person who built the Skate Rink was the father of a
rather popular kid in my school named Danny, who was one grade behind
me and one year younger. It is
now called King's Skate Country and it actually has it's own web page.
Friday night I am going to go skating there just to feel the wood floor
as I roll along at less then warp speed, a speed tempered by my
body and significantly slower then my youthful speed.
Danny King's family was also the first home to have their
in swimming pool. The only other pool was in Elk Grove and not
within biking distance as Danny's pool was. This pool was also
in Franklin at the very edges of the south most border of town.
(Actually, this is not saying much distance wise as it only took five minutes to walk
from one end of town to the other in any direction.) This
swimming pool quickly became a GREAT alternative to the
swimming hole located on the Snodgrass Slough. I suspect that it
was more popular because Danny's pool had fewer fish and turtles and a much less of a
chance of drowning.
The main difference between the Franklin of the mid fifties
and now, is
King's used to be located in "Franklin" but now it is known to be
located in Elk Grove. Go
figure. I would have never guessed that Elk Grove would have
gobbled up Franklin
in a hundred years much less fifty.
what I recall, there were three principal business's in Franklin
besides King's Skate
Country. One of these business's is a service station now turned
into a beer bar
and pool hall called Gils. I don't remember the original brand of
here. I believe this station was vacant for several years (late 50s early 60s) until
being taken over by a retired couple to become the pool hall de jour
for the locals.
My school buddy friend Darrell actually developed a tiny bit of
trying to sucker me into a couple of pool games.
Shown above, a
watering hole (bar) called Otto's, has now been turned into a high end
park eatery, complete with a picnic table furnished patio.
Although the building is unchanged from it's fifties look, there is one notable improvement.
The entrance way is paved now. In the fifties, it only had a base of peanut and pistachio nut
shells and gravel.
Back in the early fifties when I was a kid, our family used to go to Otto's on Sundays for a newspaper and an ice cream cone.
Wesley my stepfather,
would bring me and my two step brothers Curtis and Donnie, a single
scoop ice cream cone
out to the car. He would also purchase a Sunday paper and we
would head back home.
the way home, a five to seven minute ride, it became a contest to relish
and eat our ice
cream. The last one to finish would make special finesse of the
last licks and enjoyment of having the last bite while the rest of us
looked on with great envy
Being the older one I especially enjoyed torturing my two younger
step brothers. This particular time, while they weren't looking, I hid
and held my
unfinished ice cream cone out
of sight behind my back. Donnie finished his, and then Curtis
began the long slow licks while eying us and enjoying the moment of
"having won." After he finished his and before the smirk could
disappear, I pulled out my unfinished cone and proceed to make one of
the longest, smackinest licks, a kid could make.
What I didn't expect was the fuss Curtis would make when he discovered
he had been duped. The noise and protest he made was loud enough
to draw the unwanted attention of my step father who quickly came to a halt and
was left trying to figure out what the fuss was all about.
Finally Curtis had to admit he had been duped and Wesley just shrugged
it off and proceeded on down the road. For a heart stopping
moment, I believed I would be the unlucky recipient of the
back hand. I quickly made haste of that Ice Cream cone learning
another one of life's lessons, think ahead to the consequences. Cont.