Tuesday, February 27, 2024

They were Granbury’s favorite babysitters

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BRIDGE STREET HISTORY CENTER

 

 

Roger Enlow grew up in Granbury, graduated from Granbury High School in 1973, and worked at the Hood County News from 1976-2021. He is a member of the Bridge Street History Center Museum’s Board of Directors.

 

Buddy and Doris Wisdom opened Granbury Skating Rink in 1977 to the delight of entertainment-starved Hood County youth. The friendly couple operated the rink for 40-odd years until Buddy passed away in 2018 at 86 years old.

Parents knew their children would be taken care of when they dropped them off on Friday and Saturday evenings. The Wisdoms understood the key ingredients for a successful entertainment business ... fun for all but no shenanigans.

After Buddy died, Granbury Police Chief Mitch Galvan offered this tribute: "Buddy Wisdom was one of the most loved and respected men in Granbury. He always had a smile on his face, and he loved kids. Sara and I, like so many parents in Granbury, knew we could take our kids to the skating rink without worry. Buddy ran a tight ship, and we knew they were in great hands."

The Wisdoms gave free candy and cold drinks, tied shoelaces, tended to scraped knees and gave words of encouragement. Hundreds ... maybe thousands ... of kids left the skating rink with a new pair of skates because of the Wisdoms' generosity.

The Wisdoms offered special skating events ... birthday parties, fundraisers, all-night lock-ins, family reunions and roller hockey. The field out back was popular during Easter when the Wisdoms would distribute thousands of eggs for their big annual hunt. Kids would skate during the 4th of July parade. One year the parade organizers made the mistake of positioning the skaters directly behind the horses.

Laura Lucas set this vivid scene when she wrote about the skating rink in 2002 in the Hood County News:

"All around, the rink is full of excitement. Children swarm from every direction. Most are rolling, but a few of the younger ones tramp around the concession area in socked feet.

"'Miss Doris,' a dusty, brown-haired girl called. 'Will you help me put on my skates?'

"The little girl's deep brown puppy-dog eyes stared into Doris' trusting face.

"'Just a second, hun.'

"Turing to grab the skates, Doris glanced around the rink. Every curve of it was surrounded with smiling children. Giggles filled the room."

Buddy and Doris met in White Settlement ... you guessed it ... at a skating rink. Doris was with another date, and he introduced her to Buddy. Doris admitted it wasn't love at first sight, but it wasn't long before the two could be found skating together.

They married and had two children who also became avid skaters and were the inspiration for Granbury Skating Rink. "They told us that they wanted us to build one," Buddy said in 2002. "We decided after looking at the situation that we wanted to put one in. It's just a chance that we took, and after 25 years it worked out."

The rink opened without air conditioning and no concession stand. Skaters didn't seem to mind the sweat because they were having a blast.

The skating rink still operates today in the same location ... on West Pearl Street near Granbury High School. Doris has turned over management to others, but she still makes regular visits.

Amanda Roderick was in second grade when she began rolling at the skating rink. She fell in love with the sport and skated whenever she could. Soon, she had a strange desire to help sweep the floor or wash the tables. Buddy saw her interest and before long offered her a job. She accepted and became a long-standing employee.

"They are like my second parents," Roderick said in 2002. "Buddy and Doris have both taught me responsibilities. They're such nice people. I couldn't imagine working for anyone better."