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Neon dreams

Portraits from Skateland

Alaska and her mom, Heather, skate hand in hand

There’s a certain sound—a combination of click and clack—that skates make sliding across the counter. It’s a sound echoed as those skates hit the floor and send you gliding out onto the rink at Skateland on Route 66, the last roller rink in Tulsa, which turns 50 this year. That sound is the hallmark of youth, set against the giggles, laughter, and ridiculously danceable music pumping through the PA system. It’s birthday parties and young love. It’s adults holding hands, coolly cruising into a place of no responsibilities and pure fun. Skateland binds it all together in movement, snack food, and the brightest color of all your childhood memories. It’s a neon reminder that we’re all capable of losing ourselves in the act of skating, falling, and getting up again with little more than a smile.