Friday, January 12, 2018

Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink: photographs by Bill Yates

Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink
photographs by Bill Yates
Six Mile Creek, Hillsborough County, Tampa, Florida 1972 - 1973
"It was all rock and roll and muscle cars out in the orange groves.”

This is a fascinating series of black-and-white photographs taken of the young patrons of a Florida roller skating rink in 1972 - 1973.

This is an era when the Sun Belt was just beginning to take shape. Central air conditioning in individual homes and businesses still was relatively rare. This is the South that you see in 70s Burt Reynolds movies like White Lightning and Gator : two-lane blacktop roads; small towns roasting in the heat; soda in bottles, not aluminum cans; people driving cars with the windows down (because there is no A/C); and people sweating..........constantly.

And at the roller rink, plenty of people, even 'tweener' -aged kids, smoke............!
Many of these kids are behaving much older than they are; they aspire to adulthood. They want to be independent. This is a time when the concepts of the 'helicopter parent', or 'My Mom is My Best Friend', didn't really exist. 

An interesting look at American culture, particularly when comparing kids back then, with those of today.

As writer Jean M. Twenge observes in her September, 2017 article in The Atlantic:

The rink was a place where kids could get away from their parents and inhabit a world of their own, a world where they could drink, smoke, and make out in the backs of their cars. In stark black-and-white, the adolescent Boomers gaze at Yates’s camera with the self-confidence born of making your own choices—even if, perhaps especially if, your parents wouldn’t think they were the right ones. 

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