Barbara Francesconi
May 2010

I began roller skating in 1958, I was 7 years old.  My parents gave my brother and me roller skates  for Christmas and that’s what started it all.

We first went to class lessons on Saturday at Levittown Roller Rink.  That is where we first met Carl Henderson who became our pro.  At first, I skated freestyle, dance,  and pairs with my brother Ronald.  He continued to skate until about 1962 when at that time he had to chose between sports in school and roller skating.

We won 2 National pairs champions from 1959-1960.  Starting with juvenile then sub-novice.  In 1961 we placed second in novice pairs.   I continued to skate and did very well, but I can’t seem to find any placements for my freestyle.

Around 1959 John Dayney moved to New York.  He was coming to join George Werner who was the head pro at Levittown.  When John came to New York we stayed with Carl as our pro.  I don’t remember what year Carl went to Bay Shore, but that’s when John became my pro.  It was a difficult decision for my parents to make.  My dad became best friends with George Petrone who was the manager of Levittown.  Our family was also very close to Carl.  My brother and I were flower girl and ring bearer at the wedding of Carl and Barbara Henderson.  At the first skating show Carl and Barbara had at Bay Shore they presented me with a poodle and I had that dog for 17 years.  Just to name a few other close friends such as Earl Roberts, who was our dance pro a few years.  We had friends like Marshall Rule, the Lessnes, I learned to swim in their pool, and of course the  Cochranes.  I was a junior brides-maid at Cheryl Werners wedding.  My first costumes were made by a woman named Mrs. White who we met through the Werners.  She told my mom that she had better learn to sew.  From that time on my mom made all my and my partners costumes. 

In 1964, I won Nationals in sub-novice ladies, novice ladies pairs with Ruth Brinkerhoff, and placed second in intermediate mixed pairs with Jack Dayney.

That was the year Levittown and Bay Shore clubs chartered a plane to California.  Does anyone remember that our plane only made it as far as Cleveland Ohio?  That was Jack Burtons first year as a professional.  Jack climbed in the cargo compartment just to bring my skates to me.  We borrowed costumes from other skaters. 

Since that year roller skating was very good to me. 
In 1965 Jack Dayney and I won Junior Pairs, I won Senior Ladies Pairs with Ruth Brinkerhoff and I won Novice Ladies.

1966 was again a great Nationals.  I won first in Senior Fours with Jack and the Brinkerhoffs, first in Senior Ladies Pairs with Ruth, third in Senior Pairs with Jack, and  I won Intermediate Ladies.  In 1968 I placed second in Junior Ladies.  In 1969 and 1970 I placed second in Senior Ladies and third in 1971.

In 1969 I participated in the world gold skate classic in New York City.  That was a great experience.  My room mate at that event was Susie Funch Smith.  Then in 1970 I was chosen for the world team.  I was the first U.S. lady to ever skate in the final group for freestyle.  I think I ended up sixth or seventh. 

In 1971 Larry Jo Dorsett moved to N.Y. to skate pairs with me.  What a fantastic experience that was for me.  We worked hard and were chosen for the world team.  We finished with a bronze medal. 

After the 1971 World’s I didn’t skate competitive any more.  I got married in 1973 and some of our best friends were my skating friends.  We would enjoy the company of Eddie Anderson and his wife Audrey, Billy and Claire Lessne, Vernon and Susie Smith, Jack Dayney and his wife Caryn, Burt and Sandy Brinkerhoff, and so on.  But my best friend from roller skating was Dot Cochrane.  We met the Cochranes way back in 1958.  Through the years we were very close.  At times we were also rivals, but when roller skating was over for both of us is when the real friendship bonded.  We were together for every holiday and special occasion.  My children called her “Aunt Dot”.  I owned a flower shop for 16 years and Dot would love to spend her days off from her job there, and she was a great flower designer.  It was very sad news when we lost her in 2000.

As I said I was married in 1973.  We had two daughters, Lisa born in 1978, and Tara was born in 1979.  My second daughter Tara passed away in 1983.  Then in 1985 we had another daughter, Amanda.

We moved to Florida in 1990 and soon after that we were divorced.  It’s all okay, we have remained friends.  I now have been with a great guy Steve for almost 17 years.  I retired from Red Lobster after 20 years.  I now work part time for the school system.

My both daughters are school teachers.  Lisa is married to Tony, also a school teacher, and they have two sons.  Anthony is 6 and Ashton is 3.  Amanda is also married to Tim, a financial analyst.  Their wedding was just this past July. 

May 2010