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This Grandmother of 6 Is Skating Through Life : Darleen Krohn took up the activity two years ago and finds it a great way to exercise and have fun.

August 19, 1993|ROBYN LOEWENTHAL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Since she moved to Thousand Oaks five years ago, 70-year-old Darleen Krohn has been a volunteer with the chaplain's unit at Los Robles Regional Medical Center.

But most mornings you'll find her dressed more like a roller derby queen than a chaplain's assistant.

Wearing banana-yellow stretch pants and a white crash helmet, the grandmother of six extolled the virtues of in-line staking recently as she cruised the parking lot of Wildflower Playfield.

"Two years ago on Mother's Day, my husband gave them to me. It was totally out of character for him," she said, referring affectionately to her taciturn spouse of 51 years. "He's the cause of all this."

According to Arthur Krohn, the 75-year-old instigator, the idea originally came from his wife.

"She mentioned when she saw the kids doing it that it looked like fun," he said. "She is quite a persistent woman. She'll try anything. I admire that."

As for the dangers inherent in precariously balancing on three small wheels, he added: "If she isn't worried, I ain't worried."

When she was a child--a self-proclaimed tomboy in Iowa--Krohn did some street- and ice-skating.

"But roller-blades are different than street skates," she said. "It's just a question of balance. When I first got them I walked around on the grass a couple days."

"I have kneepads at home. But I don't like them," she said. Perhaps she should try to: In a ride several days before our conversation, Krohn said she "argued with the curb and it won.

"But with any sport you're in--you're gonna get hurt. You've got to take the bull by the horns and get up again."

Already on her second set of wheels, Krohn feels fortunate that she has not broken any bones. "I do it for exercise. It's good for the legs and the circulation. And I always encourage people to do anything that's exercise."

Following her own advice, Krohn is also an avid bike rider, archer and has been building furniture as a hobby since the 1960s.

Her favorite pastime appears to be hanging out with Arthur, who until his retirement in 1983 was a television transmission engineer with NBC in New York.

"We bowl together. He plays golf and I don't. But we raised kids together--that's for sure," she said.

"We have five wonderful grown sons. And we had a blue baby who had two heart operations but didn't survive. But that's part of life," Krohn said stoically. "We just decided he was loaned to us for awhile."

Clearly, the bonds the Krohns share are strong. But it does not extend to in-line skating. As she watched her husband walk Corkey, their black German shepherd, across the adjacent park, she said: "I hope people read this. I'd like to get somebody up here to skate with me."

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Fair News: On Tuesday, all handicapped people and senior citizens age 55 and older will be admitted free to the Ventura County Fair. Be sure to visit the Ventura County Area on Aging Council booth and other exhibits of interest to seniors.

And don't miss the knockout concert, "Big Band Sounds from the Summer of '42" starring Tex Beneke and The Modernaires orchestra with Paula Kelly Jr., and special guest star Frankie Laine. The concert starts at 2 p.m. on the main grandstand.

More Fair News: There are several other senior events that will be held on the Pepsi Community Stage:

11 a.m. Blessing of Marriage for couples married 40 years or longer. Participants must preregister as soon as possible by calling 648-3376.

12:30 p.m. Senior Dance Contest. Couples may register until the event starts.

1:30 p.m. Senior Queen Contest.

The fair runs until Aug. 31 from 11 a.m.--midnight daily. Exhibits will close at 10 p.m. nightly. All entertainment, including major concerts, are included in the price of admission. The Ventura County Fairgrounds is located within Seaside Park at the west end of Harbor Boulevard in Ventura. Parking will be available at the fairgrounds for $3 per car. Free parking will be available at Ventura High School, Buenaventura Plaza and the County Government Center. Free shuttle buses will run to and from these locations every half an hour through 11 p.m. daily during the fair. For more information, call the fairgrounds at 648-3376.

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