Illustration by Kurt Gnewuch
I was born in a place called Kew Gardens, NY. Back in the early 1950s, before the inven- tion of the skateboard, we rode scooter-boxes.
A scooter-box was made by taking apart a steel-wheeled skate, then affixing the wheels under the ends of a two-to-three foot long two by four. On the nose of the two by four, a wooden fruit crate was nailed upright on its end. And on top of that, two wing-like, wooden handles were secured for steering. Then, to customize our scooter-boxes, we nailed or glued bottle caps all over the fruit crate.
Daddy made me one when I was just a little fart. And because we owned a small delicatessen in Astoria on Long Island—above which we lived in an equally small apartment — there was a bevy of assorted bottle caps to trick-out my ride.
In 1957, we moved across the country to Pasadena, CA. I didn’t notice any west-coasters riding scooter-boxes, so I figured it was an east coast thing. In 1959, my parents bought our house on Mar Vista Avenue for $12,500. And like most north/south streets in Pasadena, it was hilly.
No, it wasn't Plan B or Element or Powell who invented the first skateboard - it was the Barkawitz Brothers - get the complete story with the latest issue of Our USA Magazine.