Hazel Roop Shares her experiences of being a roller derby star in the 1930s | blindfilmmaker.com


Hazel Roop Shares her experiences of being a roller derby star in the 1930s | blindfilmmaker.com.

Click the above link.

You will find this fascinating. David Block who is legally blind follows the history of Roller Derby and recently interviewed Hazel Roop who is 97 years olds and skated in Derby starting in 1936. Her granddaughter currently skates with Penn Jersey. Please read David’s other posts.

Because of women like Hazel there was developed a sport which has been passed down to you in its present form. Please read and share.

are you kidding me?


Two weeks from today I will reach an amazing birthday.

I was born in the depth of the Depression, and have lived under 13 presidents…..would have been more if Roosevelt hadn’t kept running.

Lived through at least 5 wars; I am not certain what counts as a war now.

And I have been around for the entire length of Roller Derby, and two things always surprise me:  those who think I created it (don’t worry, Leo, I keep correcting them), and those who think it is just 10 years old.

I have seen cures for polio and other diseases, the emergence of television, air conditioning, jet travel, flights to the moon, and so many other unbelievable things.  It is amazing to know that more changes have occurred during my lifetime than during the millions of the years previously.

For Roller Derby alone, I saw it change from a marathon to a game; I saw it become one of America’s leading attractions, its disappearance and most unlikely revival.

And I will live to see it attain its rightful place as one of the world’s leading sports.  There is way too much awareness and interest for it not to happen.  So let’s all get real busy.  I will be starting another page on facebook (oh no!) asking for everyone to help in making Roller Derby reach its proper position in the sports world; those who do not want it to happen, that is fine; for you it will stay the same.  For those who want to see a legitimate professional game with teams (why not some of the present ones) of paid skaters, let’s at least discuss it.

I know it is going to come about.  And I probably only have another 20 or 30 years to be a part of it.

Now for the wayback machine


I just watched the last program of the Prohibition series on PBS.  No I don’t remember Prohibition, but I was born around that era.

And when prohibition ended in December 5, 1932, I had just turned 6 months old and was fighting for my life.  I had come down with what appeared to be a severe case of dysentery, but ordinary treatment was not working.  And then the doctor (Dr. Bilderback) analyzed my system and determined that I had cholera, the only case reported in Portland, Oregon, in over 20 years, according to the report in the Oregonian (newspaper).

The only effective remedy was blood transfusion, and it had to be directly from a donor at that time.  My father’s partner in Portland had a son named Buster who gave me transfusions, and apparently I bounced back from death’s door.  I don’t ever recall meeting Buster, but I certainly owe him a lot.

So I grew up in Portland during the depression.  We lived a comfortable middle-class life and honestly I was never aware of the terrible effect it had on America.  Leo Seltzer was on the road with first walkathons and then the Roller Derby, both kind of traveling road shows, with very low prices and high appeal at this time when there just wasn’t much money.

Almost from my very first memories, I was aware of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, our president, who was pretty much revered and reviled at the same time.

You have to remember that Roosevelt declared a bank holiday – closing them all and then re-opening them with guarantees for the depositors –  and started a whole series of programs to help create jobs, including the conservation corps which put thousands to work rebuilding our infrastructure.  The bankers, big business and extremely wealthy hated him.

Yet, he was our only four-term president, although he died shortly after winning his fourth term, throwing an entirely unprepared Harry Truman into that high office.

Roosevelt had suffered severe polio as an adult, but he managed to keep the fact that he could not use his legs from the public.  There were never any pictures of him in a wheel chair or him struggling to walk.  The press fully cooperated; could you imagine that today.

But what I remember of Roosevelt was his marvelous speaking voice, his sense of humor, and his ability to reach all Americans without television, jet airplanes and certainly without social media.

I remember my third grade teacher asking our class who was the finest orator (I am not certain she used that word) in the country and we all knew it was our President.

Fireside Chat. Courtesy of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, Hyde Park, New York.

He held “fireside chats” in which he talked to all Americans by radio to let us know what the state of the country was, and what he was doing to make it and our lives better, as well as why it was necessary for us to go to war and why we all must sacrifice (which we did).

When I hear his voice today I know it doesn’t have the majesty or resonance I heard; certainly recordings weren’t capable of capturing the full essence.

Obviously, he was a man for the times, and his wife Eleanor, who I did get to hear speak in person, was the woman; the first first Lady who really expressed herself to America.  Quite a duo.

You should have been there.

Please like my fan page on facebook:  “Gerald Seltzer”.

I have a confession


Photo by CWMGary from stock.xchng.com.

I used to be a Republican.  In the first  national election in which I was eligible to vote,I voted for Dwight Eisenhower, and voted for him again for the second term.  I guess by today’s standards he would be a freaking liberal…..his farewell address was amazing “Beware of the Industrial-Military complex….”

But in 1960 I voted for John Kennedy;  I felt he represented the new necessary vitality for our country, and he was the first President born in the 20th Century.  And after that, I have consistently voted for the Democratic candidate as I have felt that the party and person represented my values more than the Republicans.

I grew up at a time when the Depression was ending, we were at war, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt was leading the country back to prosperity……and America appreciated him…..well, not all of America.  There were many who hated him and derisively called him Rosenfeld, that he was actually a Jew.  But I don’t remember such anger and non-participation between Republicans and Democrats.  They could usually come together for the good of the country.

Then when Nixon came on the scene you definitely felt there was something weird going on with him, and that certainly proved out.  You had the feeling that if he had an extra-marital (or even marital) sex life he might have loosened up…..a very bad man, no matter how they try to whitewash him.

And we all know about Ford (who really sacrificed himself by pardoning Nixon for what he felt was the good of the nation), who was really a decent man.  And then Carter, Reagan, senior Bush, Clinton, junior Bush, and now Obama.

What is so strange about America is that no matter how many bad things an administration will do, they are glorified in later years.  Reagan had the CIA in dope deals to supply arms to fight the Contras; over 100 people in his administration were accused of crimes, but today he is a god.  And Bush?  who will glorify him….Clinton fooled around in the White House, not the smartest thing but it seems almost the sexier the President, the more likable.  I actually know a woman who dated him when he was Governor and he and Hillary were separated who told me a fascinating story about an adventure they had in the White House during a Governor’s conference, but once again, I divert.

So it seem that almost no matter how much a party screws up, they have a chance of winning.  look at junior’s second term when he didn’t appear to have a chance.

But the Republicans may be outdoing themselves this year.  Is it some kind of death wish?  The idea of appealing to the most far right and right wing Christian groups seems to be the target.  (Where are the left wing Christians?).  And look at Santorum’s absolutely crazy rhetoric, Mitt’s I’ll say whatever you want to hear, the insanity of Newt, and the most likable one is Ron Paul, who reminds you of Don Knotts.   And look what they have done in Virginia, Wisconsin, Ohio,  Michigan to women and workers and on and on…..a very disciplined and disturbing agenda.

And why would you attack women the way that they are continually doing?  Do they assume that Republican women don’t have minds of their own? Nor independent women?  In state after state they are passing such restrictive laws against 50% of our population that it is amazing.  And the idea that anyone’s belief should affect the health of a person who does not share that belief makes no friends anywhere.

And today TFPOS Limbaugh, representing the worst of what is out there (making Fox look like a vestal virgin) makes the crudist sexual, demeaning, horrific statements against all women and one brave one in particular…..statements so bad that when you hear them in his voice, you still can’t believe them.

And if you go onto facebook pages of his sponsors:  Century 21, legalzoom, sleep number, and quicken loans, just see the reactions on the pages by very angry people….just because the Dems in Washington haven’t been pushing back (until very recently), somehow the American public has, starting with Susan Komen and the blatant attempt to defund Planned Parenthood and stem cell research.

During the McCarthy era, which was the worst in recent memory for America, I was a student, first at Stanford, then at Northwestern.  In 1952 there was a mock political convention at Northwestern, and one of the speakers was Senator McCarthy of Wisconsin.  I was up close, and to see that alcoholic zealot waving papers and yelling about the communists in our government was an image I never forgot.

But two things happened, our Defense Department Lawyer, Mr. Welch,  a little proper man with a bow tie, was at a senate hearing and when McCarthy started spouting about the evil people in the Defense Department and one young man who was the Secretary’s assistant was a communist, suddenly Welch stood up and made the famous speech “Have you no sense of decency, Senator….”   look it up and listen to it.  And of course Edward  R. Murrow went on his program at CBS, much against the network’s wishes, and in 1 half hour program destroyed McCarthy.

A wonderful movie called “Network” some 30 years ago predicted what the world would be like today.  It is entertaining, funny and real….get it from netflix or wherever.  But at one crucial moment, a commentator who has serious mental problems but is kept on the air because the program director feels he is interesting, throws down his script, looks in the camera, walks across the studio and says, “All of you out there, go to your windows, open them, and yell ‘I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore’ ” and people all across the country did.

This will be a desperate campaign coming up.  The opposition will  remind everyone that we have a(shhhh, black) President who is not American and not born here; superpacs will not only fund the Presidential campaign but try to support congressmen (very few women) and senators who are beholden to them.   This campaign will not have the excitement of 2008, but those who oppose what is going on must fight for this country.  If you are eligible to vote, make damn sure you and your friends do it;   make phone calls, volunteer, whatever.

A very small  disciplined minority can control the fate of all of us……Don’t let that happen.