Worked til’ 8:30pm tonight in downtown L.A. Didn’t really mind it. It is kicks working with Leonard. He is just a regular card, all the time cracking his jokes. He keeps me in stitches, I laugh my fool head off all the time. He took me home tonight with his wife, and Emma came along too. Emma invited me to a roller skating party that’s coming off in a couple weeks, I think I will go. Got home about quarter to ten.
Saturday March 1, 1952
Went to The Stomp tonight with Mary Alice and she stayed overnight with me. We both had a crazy time. Chuck Roberts the Roller Derby star was there and also the beast Jim Bakker. Me and Mary Alice came home together with a couple of guys. I came home with an absolute doll, name of Larry Mossman from Whittier and Mary Alice came home with Jim York, pretty cute if you ask me, but she was real mean to him. I felt sorry for the poor guy. Larry can really French, but he can’t kiss American style. He’s a pretty nice guy. Went to Carpenter’s after the dance and saw Jim Bakker there as usual. He says to me “You don’t like me do you Vilma?” And I played coy and says no, nothing like that.
Because it’s Lent, I didn’t have smokes until 12:00am sharp and I was dying! All the guys knew I was waiting, and so 12:00am comes, so I says to them “Quick give me a cigarette and quick light it”. Well the dumb thing wouldn’t light. Then Loreen says Quick! Quick! Light it quick! It still wouldn’t light, but then finally it got lit, and I let out a big “Ahhhh at last”, and I was finally satisfied. All of the guys got a big kick out of that too.
Sunday March 2, 1952
Ted and Roger came down tonight.
Monday March 3, 1952
Stayed in L.A. tonight after work and shopped a little. Got a new blouse, earrings, some angora, a scarf, a present for Mary Alice and a couple of other little things. I bought a good book for Mary Alice, I thought she’d like it.
Tuesday March 4, 1952
Gave Mary Alice her present tonight, she liked it. While I was gone Buella came over but then took off again. I got another raise at work today. It started on February 13th I think it was, and so I get the raise with my paycheck tomorrow. I now get $200.00 a month. Pretty average I must say.
Roller Skating! This was a huge deal, one of the most popular sporting events and forms of entertainment for the time. So let’s be whisked away to the past! We’ll take a closer look at the delightful world of skating that made for a fun night out on the town.
Vilma was sure a lucky girl to have lived in El Monte! The Legion Stadium was literally a few blocks away from her home on Esmerelda Avenue. The famous Legion Stadium was a venue that not only hosted major musical performers, but athletic events such as roller derby and boxing competitions as well. We have already explored “The Stomp”, better known as Cliffie Stone’s HomeTown Jamboree in my past post here.
Roller derby was among America's favorite sporting events for decades, filling arenas from coast to coast and even around the world. The crowds thronged to the arenas to cheer for their favorite team, and the Legion Stadium just happened to be the perfect place to see such a fine performance.
Roller Derby was a serious athletic competition, at that time it was considered under the realm of track and field sports. It was pretty big business too, the players were seasoned professionals who honed their skills and trained just like the big athletes. Hours of daily training were the norm before and even after each live professional game. There were even major Roller Derby stars that were comparable to the football and basketball stars of today.
Later, Vilma will be going out on a date with one of those Roller Derby stars, Chuck Roberts, who is pictured at the top. Unfortunately, more information could not be found on him, apparently there were numerous stars who have now taken their places in the Roller Derby black hole of history. Being the photography inclined woman that she was, Vilma had the above picture snapped on their date at the once well-known Hotel Statler’s “Terrace Room” in L.A.
If you were not attending a Roller Derby sporting event, then you were at the Roller Rink skating to your hearts content, reveling in the current sounds of swinging jazz standards, rock n’ roll, rockabilly and the classic crooners.
Ladies: Imagine skating in a big, full circle skirt with matching cardigan sweater, your hair in a sweet up do. Occasionally batting your eyelashes to the boys who would pass you by. Gentlemen: Imagine your crisp shirt with your rolled up Levi’s, hair slicked back in a classy coif, always a comb in your pocket to look good for the ladies. The iconic roller rink became the perfect date night, family fun night or a place to hang out with friends. Roller skating rinks primarily became phased out during the 1980’s, after the 1970’s disco craze exhausted its course in history!
I’m still amazed that the decade of the 1950’s is still remembered so fondly, the music is still as popular as ever and the fashions are new and fresh again. All things retro are on fire right now and have no signs of fading away! I have to stop and ponder that the popularity of this time reflects our current culture's longing for the refreshment of the good ol’ days. Of sweet, simpler charms of an era gone by. No, we can never return to those times, but at least “The Diary of Vilma” can do its part to keep the stories, memories and culture alive for future generations.