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Memories of a Skating Junkie

This short story is by English teacher Victoria Fontana. First: study the vocabulary in this activity: Memories Matching. Then, listen to the text in this activity and put the words in the order that you hear them in: Memories WebSequitur. After that, read and listen to the article in this interactive activity: Easy Memories Cloze or Difficult Memories Cloze. Finally, take this Memories Quiz.

Victoria Fontana

Victoria Fontana

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Story by
Victoria Fontana

I remember how they smelled. We weren’t extremely wealthy, so mine weren’t made of leather or anything like that. It was more of a plastic smell, mixed with the scent of summer and outside. I could smell them even before I put them on, and I can sense the aroma even now, 23 years later, as I reminisce. They were blue with one white and one red curvy stripe up each side. My mom got me some special glittery fat laces for them, so I didn’t have to use the plain old white ones. Mine were red and called attention to my fancy feet as I rolled up and down the street. That and two puffy white pompons laced in, one on each toe.

As I slid the boots onto my feet I was transformed. I became someone special, a star. No one else, no bullies, no catty classmates, no heckling brother, nobody could tell me what to do, how to do it or where – for a brief moment, I was my own boss, at ten. I pulled up my fancy laces. I hooked them into the eyelets, making sure that they firmly hugged my ankles, ‘cause that’s how I liked them to feel on my feet. And I started off.

They had just repaved our street, so I had the most professional surface to skate on. Up and down, I never stopped until the sun went down or my mother made me come in for dinner...whichever came first. Swirling around in circles, going fast and straight on, so fast that I could feel myself almost lose control, then slow and cool -and all the time thinking, and not thinking, imagining – imagining my fans watching me, figuring out a new way to skate better backwards, seeing how fast I could actually go, and preparing, for the day we went to the rink. OHHHH, the rink. Slick smooth wood floors, everything was so much easier – If you looked cool going up and down your street, man, you really looked cool at the rink. My purple unicorn shirt, my Jordash™ jeans (that I waited sooooooo long to have in my possession) my white and purple striped leg warmers awesome, mint skates. The music! Steve Miller Band, Joan Jett, Cyndi Lauper, Styx, Journey...maybe a boy would ask me to skate with him, his sweaty hand in mine as we swirled round and round. I remember that we would have to hold on tighter around the curves, so that our hands wouldn’t slide away. The boys always wore black skates – it wasn’t cool for them to wear colors or glitter or pompons, logically. Although, there was always one who did – either his mom made him borrow his sister’s skates, or he was just special, and would later become an artist, or singer or showman or something like that.

But most importantly, I remember the feeling of freedom and fun moments. So much that 23 years later I went out and bought myself some skates. Just some classic white ones – I skipped the glitter and the pompons, of course. And I sat down on my step, a familiar feeling of excitement filled my stomach as I laced them up. I had tried them on at the store, and it seemed that I still had it! Once laced up, I set off. My plan was to skate down to the end of my street where there is no traffic. The streets in Madrid aren’t like the streets in my home town. They haven’t been recently paved. They certainly aren’t flat. I started off down a hill...faster and faster....I saw all those years between 10 and 33 pass before my eyes, faster than the 10 line subway train. Oh my God!! I am a lot taller than I was at ten! As my legs froze, I gained speed, yet I was still lucid enough to recognize my two choices – a cement wall about 10 yards in front of me, or an old white parked car, 2 yards away....I went for the car. As I was sure that it would be much softer than the cement wall. Not much, but a bit softer it must have been. Even so, I am now sitting here, writing this with a beautiful bruise and a scrape along my left cheek (my face cheek, in case you were thinking otherwise) and a black and blue elbow with three beautiful scabs, covering up what was about 2 minutes of embarrassment, blood and pain. I do apologize to the owner of the now white and red car parked on the street. I never even got to my destination. And there sit my new white skates...waiting to be taken for a spin. Waiting to bring back some beautiful memories for me, yet still threatening me with the little splatter of blood that remains on the left one.


Practice the vocabulary: Memories Matching

wealthy – someone who possesses a lot property, companies, etc. (noun: wealth)
leather – this material is made from animal skin – it’s used for making purses, shoes, etc.
even – (this is a adverb which is used as an intensifier to indicate that something is unexpected)
reminisce - to recall and/or tell about past experiences or events in a nostalgic way.
curvy – a line that is arced, not straight. (noun: curve)
stripe - this is a thick (not thin) line (say, on clothing).
glittery – to be brilliant with small bits of light-reflecting material (noun: glitter)
laces – long thin things on shoes used to attach these shoes to your feet
fancy – highly decorated
puffy – inflated
pompons – a decorative ball for clothes and cheerleaders
bully– a cruel and cowardly person who likes to intimidate smaller and/or weaker people
catty – doing or saying something in a subtle, cruel and malicious way
heckle – trying to embarrass and annoy with irritating questions, comments, etc.
pull up – to put something on or pull in an upwards direction (synonym: perhaps to “put on”, in this context)
hook – to catch something with a hook-like part.
eyelets – small holes in clothes and shoes for a cord to pass through
hug – to hold closely, perhaps with your arms
repave – to pave or cover a street again in preparation for vehicles (basic verb: repave)
swirl – move in a circular or spiral direction
rink – an area covered with ice for ice skating and hockey.
slick – a smooth, glossy and slippery surface or area
smooth – having a surface with no irregularities
wood – a material produced from trees and used in construction
floor – the surface in a room on which people stand
cool – a little cold
unicorn – a mythical horse with a single horn in its head
leg warmers – big socks used to cover your legs and keep them warm
awesome – synonym of: remarkable, wonderful, incredible, etc.
mint – a light green color (in this context)
skates – sports shoes with little wheels, verb: to use those sports shoes.
sweaty – wet with perspiration (noun: sweat)
slide – to move over a surface smoothly and with continuous contact (past simple: slid)
borrow – to take something from someone with the intention of returning it.
skip – to intentionally fail to do something
freeze – to turn to ice
lucid – mentally rational in an especially clear and transparent way
bruise – a mark on the skin caused by a hematoma or broken blood vessel (verb: same)
scrape – a mark on the skin caused when the skin comes into contact with an object which removes some of the skin (verb: same)
cheek – the fleshy parts of the face directly beneath the eyes and on either side of the nose
elbow – the joint in the arm that joins the lower part of the arm to the upper part
scabs – little bits of dried blood and tissue that cover cuts in the body’s skin which help the healing process
apologize – to say you’re sorry
owner – the person to whom a piece of property belongs
take for a spin – a colloquial expression which means to take for ride in or on a vehicle
threaten – to give warning as a source of danger (in this context)
splatter – a small amount of a liquid on an object (verb: to splatter)

Spot a mistake? Let me know, please! at:

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(There are a few videos and texts that you can watch and/or listen to on the site.)

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