Roll On Down The Floor

Around, ‘round, and ‘round the Riverside High School building: That’s where Phil Reed, who was a student in the late 1950s, traveled on his roller skates for one entire school day.

Phil Reed in a 1999 photo. (submitted by family)

Phil was one of seven brothers and two sisters in the Reed family of Grand River. Five of the brothers, Clifford, Bob, Tom, Phil and Larry frequented Walton’s Roller Rink in Mentor-on-the-Lake,  and when not skating there, worked for Mr. Walton making hot dogs and mopping floors. All the Reed children attended Merrick Hutchinson Elementary School, where skating was, for at least a while,  permitted in the halls.

Although all were skilled skaters, it was Phil who brought the “clown” aspect to the sport (as he did to many of his other activities); one day he decided he’d just roll up and down the halls in place of attending classes, and he even negotiated the stairways on his skates.

True to his kindly nature and belief in making any punishment appropriate to a student’s offence, when Principal George Inscho encountered the skater, he was sent outside to make circles around the school on the sidewalks and pavement. Many hours later, Phil was still skating. Mr. Inscho’s son Doug has said his dad just forgot Phil was out there, and maybe Phil had to ask permission to quit.  It was very clear, however, that the wooden rollers on his skates were ruined and for sure he heard plenty from Mom Reed about the incident.

Also a certainty is that the punishment was more than worth it to Phil, who reveled in telling the story for the rest of his life.

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2 Thoughts to “Roll On Down The Floor”

  1. Mary K. Zmece,-Lette

    Great story. I remember watching Phil skate when he did not have other duties either cleaning, making hot dogs or handing out rental skates. It was great watching Phil and other regulars when they could get out on the floor and “show off” a bit ! This is where I met my future husband……fond memories. Thanks for the look back.

  2. Hi Gretchen!
    What a great story. I see that your gift for painting vivid stories with words has not eluded you. I loved this story because, four years ago, my twin 11 year olds started their rollerskating journey at Walton’s (now Mentor Skateland – 108 years old). They still take artistic lessons there, but they also compete on City Skate Center’s speed team in Painesville. Both were season points champions in their respective divisions and, next month, will compete in the American Championships in Colorado Springs.

    I hope that you are well.

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