Human Interest

Timing, as they say, is everything, and all it takes is one pair of thrift-store roller skates to prove that point.

Back in March, Twice Nice thrift store assistant manager Marge Riley accepted a vintage pair of girl’s roller skates, still in their original box, as a donation for the store.

She priced them and put them on display, just like the other donations the thrift store receives, then went about her business.

“It was a very cool, very nostalgic piece,” she said. “For so many customers, it brought back memories. They would walk by and comment, ‘Oh, I had some like that.’”

No one picked them up until months later, when Kathy O’Brien Moore walked into the store, saw the skates and said the same thing — only she had owned those exact skates.

Stamped inside the box’s lid was the logo and address of her uncle’s skating rink, and right above that was her name, just Kathy O’Brien back then. As soon as she recognized the skates, Moore picked them up and hollered across the store for her daughter, Erin Blake, to come see.

They approached the register, where Riley happened to be working that day, and Moore shared her story.

That day, May 12, was the anniversary of Moore’s husband’s death. And just the day before, on May 11, Kathy and Jim Moore would have celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary.

Moore was wearing those skates the first time Jim saw her in August 1964, when she was with a friend at the local skating rink. But they didn’t officially meet until a week later at a church dance, when he walked up to her and introduced himself.

“The rest is history,” Moore said.

They married in 1968, just after Jim returned from Vietnam, and had three children together: Brien Moore, Erin Blake and Megan Jordan.

“I don’t even know how the skates got here,” Moore said.

She thought they were in her storage unit in Petersburg, Va., where they first met. The Moores spent many years in Virginia, moving to Sedona a few years ago because of Jim’s health. He was ill for a long time, and Sedona’s dry desert climate helped ease his pain for a few years before he died in 2004.

The day Moore found her old roller skates, Blake had specifically taken her “on the Sedona loop” to keep her mind off the anniversary of Jim’s death. And while they said they visit Twice Nice often, neither noticed the skates until that day.

“It’s a Sedona story for sure,” Moore said. “I like to think that Jim put them there, and me here.” Riley added, “Certainly the timing was the most incredible part of all this.”


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