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Your Stories: The Skatin' Man

4:59 PM, Sep 26, 2012   |    comments
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One Morristown man is right at home under the mirrored ball, skating, dancing and putting on quite a show, and he's almost 70 years old.

Johnnie Taylor has been going to Twi-LITE Roller Skating Rink for three decades. He's a legend in Morristown. But he started out in Knoxville where he grew up...on skates.

"We would grab the bumpers and ride from one destination to the other one and we'd do tricks," says Johnnie.

Johnnie loved his life. "Mother would work cleaning homes, but she always fed us. Back then not only your parents took care of you, your neighbors took care of you. If they caught me doing something wrong they said, 'I'm gonna whip you, Johnnie'."

He ended up getting married to his lovely wife Joe Ann almost 50 years ago and joining the military. They moved to Germany and France until his only daughter, Yolanda, came into the world.

"She left early and came back to Morristown and I then had six months left. I made sergeant," says Johnnie.

Johnnie wasn't far behind. "I come home and went to work," says Johnnie.

But he had a second career, one that has lasted a lifetime. "Someone at work was telling me about Twi-LITE Skating Rink and so I wanted to skate because I hadn't in a long time and so I come over and the people was real nice," says Johnnie.

He immediately started skating and teaching. "You make it fun for them and keep a smile on their face. I act and doing tricks and everything, make it interesting for them and the next thing you know, 'Skatin' man, look at me, I'm going good'."

Johnnie has shared his talent with people of all ages. "The kids that I'm working with now, I've taught their parents and they say, 'You're still here, Mr. Taylor?'"

He's built quite a name for himself. The kids will see me out in town and my wife in town and they say, 'That's the skatin' man'."

He taught his daughter when she was four. "If he hadn't been this way all my life, it would be strange, it would be different, but that's all I've ever known. That's all he's ever done, has been skating or golfing. It was always something fun with my dad," says Yolanda Statom, Johnnie's daughter.

Now he teaches his grandkids. He's got serious moves and Johnnie is 67 years old.

"It's good to see somebody I say as old as he is moving like he does," says his wife, Joe Ann Taylor.

He also golfs and bowls. Johnnie just has fun.

"I just had a wonderful life myself. I just had a wonderful life in Tennessee born and raised," says Johnnie.

Johnnie Taylor, the skatin' man who brings the party with him wherever he goes.

"Everywhere I've been all my life, people's always been nice to me and I've been nice to them. If you good to people, people be good to you," says Johnnie.

One of Your Stories. There's no place like this one.

 

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