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Spring Rollers: 1941

Spring Rollers: 1941

March 1941. "A miscellany of pictures in overcrowded Navy towns. Housing in Portsmouth, Virginia." Medium format acetate negative by John Vachon. View full size.


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Our first taste of vehicle freedom

With clamp-ons we now could get to the park or the corner confectionery in half the time. We could have races around the block to see who was the fastest and the bestest. Shin guards, knee guards and helmets were unknown to us and even if they were around the guys and I would say only sissies and girls would wear them.

After a while the thrill would go away and we would raid the corner grocery store for used wooden veggie and fruit crates and scouted out construction sites for used 2x4s. The skates would be taken apart and nailed to the 2x4s front and back which in turn would be nailed to the crates and voila we had racing cars now. No brakes or steering of course but then we probably thought they were stuff once again for sissies and girls.


No, the worst was having the skate come off your shoe mid-stride, and still have it strapped on your ankle whereby you lacerated and bruised the other ankle with it!

Naval Housing in Hampton Roads

When my wife and I got married, we rented a small home near the Norfolk Naval Station. It was a small home built for naval housing at the start of WWII.

If you read the biography of Joseph Levitt, of Levittown fame, he got his start building homes in Norfolk at around this time. I have wondered if he built the home that we lived in down there.

Clamp-on wheels

My siblings and I all had those clamp on roller skates as kids in the '70s
The worst thing was falling off the front porch into the evergreen bushes.

What a flashback

I recognize those houses! Small world.

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