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In the Good Old Days

Trivia Question

What legendary highway was known as the "Mother Road"?

By Trial and Error

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In the May/June 2021 issue of Good Old Days, author E.M. Miller recounts her experience of learning how to roller skate in front of her row house in Baltimore, Md. The marble steps proved immeasurably helpful as she wobbled her way around them, gaining stability little by little. Eventually, E.M. mastered her new skates and ventured beyond the steps and around her block. Her parents watched with pride as E.M. advanced through trial and error.

When I was 7 years old, I discovered a pair of skates in our attic, where I frequently played. They weren't the metal kind like my brothers had. They were lace-up tan leather, with five wooden wheels on the bottom and puffy pompoms adorning the top. I decided they should be used instead of being stored in a box in a musty old attic. They were a bit too big for me, but that didn't stop me from slipping into them and careening around the block. Back then, only one street on our block had sidewalks, so I mostly skated on the road, across stones and sticks and through pits and potholes. My trial-and-error period was brief; I borrowed my brothers' skates often so it didn't take long for me to adjust to the newfound pair. What fun this was! For the next hour, I felt like Dorothy Hamill, with the wind in my hair and the road for my rink.

When I skated triumphantly back to our driveway, my mom looked up from digging in her flower bed and gasped. Her treasured roller skates, meant for indoor arena use only, were now irreparably damaged by my youthful indiscretion. I quickly realized Mom was not watching with pride, and that my error was about to cause a different kind of trial.

'Til next time,

Mary Beth Signature

Mary Beth Weisenburger,
Good Old Days® magazine

PS. Did you have a treasured pair of roller skates in your Good Old Days? We want to hear about it! Send a brief response to me at, and it could appear in a future update or in Good Old Days magazine!

Mary Beth Weisenburger has been with Annie's since April 2011. She has 25 years of experience in the marketing, advertising and publishing fields. In addition to her job as editor of Good Old Days, she has been writing a family humor column for over a decade. She and her husband, two college-age kids, two dogs and various other critters live on five acres in the country, where she enjoys reading on the back porch, refinishing furniture, feeding the birds and digging in the dirt of her perennial gardens.

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Trivia Answer

Route 66. The highway was established in 1926 and spanned 2,448 miles, from Chicago, Ill., to Santa Monica, Calif. During the 1950s, the route became known for the many colorful attractions along its roadside. The road even inspired the song (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66. Route 66 was removed from the highway system in 1985.

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