26 Apr 2006
Formerly Waukegan, now Harwood Heights IL
I remember working at Noah’s Ark Pet Center and always hearing that huge Mc Caw Parrot screeching and echoing on our side
of the Mall. (until I sold it for 800 bucks to a customer in a wheel chair one day who fell in love with it. We were all a little sad to
see it go after being part of the store for several years.
I bought my first leather jacket at the Leather Connection for a big date in High School. Chess King is where a sales person
taught me to tie a tie. I still tie it that way to this day.
The Gap always was a hip place. I frequently convinced the sales clerk to give me extra copies of the hot chicks promo posters
for my room, and embarrassingly sometimes I was the one my sister put up to getting extra copies of the hot guy promo jeans
posters as well. There was the Gap jeans guy in sunglasses she HAD to HAVE!
A friend used to work at T-Shirts + and give me discounted (ahem) iron on embroidered patches and tee shirt sayings. I once
had a tee shirt with ten patches on it that I probably still have in a bottom of a drawer somewhere.
Beer, Brats, and Spuds were my first legal Beer when I turned 18. (18 was legal age at that time) Winston Bakery & Brawler’s
33 Flavors Ice Cream was owned by the same Greek guy who used to boss my girlfriend Kathryn around all the time. Katie - if
you are out there - I should have married you babe!
I had one of my weirdest Job interviews at Cinnabon, when an Abbot Labs Exec in human resources saw me selling a Tandy
1000 computer at Radio Shack and thought I’d be a good addition to their sales team.
I remember frequently ordering a “PIRRA ROLL” from the Asian couple behind the counter who couldn’t say “PIZZA ROLL” at the
Egg-n-Pizza Roll. (I was easily amused as an early teen.)
I used to meet my grandma for lunch when she used to work at J.C. Penney after her and grandpa retired.
I used to linger around the Hot Sam’s Pretzel Shop at closing time because the counter staff was usually a staff of one and had
the discretion of throwing out the soft pretzels at the end of the night or giving them to our clan. The girls usually gave them to us
if they were entertained enough by us to kill the boredom for a while.
Slicers & Italian Way Restaurants were two of the “real food” establishments too expensive on a High school wage unless it was
a date or a need break from Karmelcorn and Cotton candy and Ice Cream.
I liked Orange Julius mystery OJ drinks (are they still in business? I remember the forked trident chairs and I liked the way they
served fries in a cup.
Pono’s Pizza was how by bud Gary and his friend John struggled to pay the apartment bills at their first apartment.
Lady Foot Locker put my cousin Cherry through Nursing School.
Carson Pirie Scott & Co. used to have these excellent early morning clothing sales at approx 7 AM on Sat morning. My girlfriend
Kathryn at that time (hey) once purchased 50 Carson’s sweaters in one hour for approx 100 bucks one time at a clearance sale.
Those were the DEALS!
B. Dalton Bookseller was were I snuck my purchases of Heavy Metal magazine an edgy comic book in magazine format with
later movies of the same name. I had to sneak because my Mom didn’t approve of the mature subjects and semi nudity of the
Camelot Music was the place I purchased vinyl records and 45’s from the top twenty displays of singles on the wall. I also
purchased my first “Boom Box” with a cassette player and radio combo there. (CD’s were not yet invented)
I worked at Radio Shack and used to irritate Mall Management with the radio controlled cars I used to drive out into the Mall to
draw in business. Mall security explained (repeatedly) that the Mall was subject to insurance liability if a radio controlled car was
to cause someone to trip and fall.
Thanks Ben E, JC Ross, James W, Lanny, and later Terry M, “Boots”, and District Manager James B, and the rest of the gang
for letting me work my way through school playing with computers and electronics! That early interest was fanned into a career. I
later managed a Radio Shack, and I work for a software developer today!
Sun coast Video was a pre blockbuster video store that I used to glom on to my favorite movie posters when each movie
promotion ended. Video Concept is where I saw my first big screen TV and got hooked on home theater.
I remember browsing Waldenbooks especially when they started carrying books-on-tape a new concept (at least to me) now I
could listen to the books I never had time to read.
Jokers Wild the throw up gags and the black light poster section in the back was always a good way to get a day of mall rat
Kathryn (am I mentioning her again?) worked at Erwin Jewelers while I worked at Noah’s Ark and Radio Shack in the mall.
There is still an old aging Erwin Jewelers sign above their former store in downtown Waukegan.
Aladdin’s Castle got me hooked on Asteroids and other video games. I was always leery of the change guys who used to roam
the gaming area with a bulging roll of bills in his pocket. He always seemed to be looking over my shoulder every time I yelled a
game console that wasn’t going my way.
I worked at Noah’s Ark Pet Center for a few years. I was there top puppy salesman during my stay there. Thanks Manager Randi
for letting spend my undergrad years playing with puppies as a part time job! I remember Val, Jay B, AL F, Dena, and the gang
spending late nights after closing and feeding the animals at Denny’s.
Tem’s Luggage is where a purchased my first business briefcase after graduation. Shaver’s World I snuck my first cool sword
and ninja throwing stars purchased here.
Ace Hardware always giving away free promo stuff, the only way I could get spare keys made in case of being grounded again,
and I convinced the assistant manager to give me the Suzanne Summers life size cardboard cut out in a little Santa hat
welcoming everyone into the store. Suzanne welcomed everyone into my college Condo for a good while after that. They had to
take all things Suzanne down after embarrassing Playboy pics were published. Too bad for Suzanne!
I opened by first checking account at Bank of Lakehurst I remember “doing the drops” everyday there. “Doing the drops” -
means after I closed the register at the store each day, I had to count up all the receipts and deposit them in the after-hours
secure deposit at the bank.
I spent so may Saturdays at Lakehurst Cinema sneaking into movie after movie that one movie ticket lasted the whole day.
(Were me and my buds partially responsible for the decline of Lakehurst with all those free movies we snuck into? – I hope not!)
I remember getting a small glimmer of hope that Lakehurst would survive when I saw new stores enter Lakehurst like the new La-
Z-Boy Furniture Gallery that opened near the route 120 entrances, but Lakehurst is gone anyway – too bad!
Date nights either meant Red Lobster, Mr. Steak, or Olive Garden because the nice old ladies at Erwin’s Jewelry store would
clip coupons for Kathryn (her again?) and I to eat at a good restaurant.
Service Merchandise had the cheapest and best Jewelry you could buy on a student’s budget. I loved the mirror and little white
“Christmas lights” motif they had year round. The audio visual area had an excellent sound room that made sampling speaker
Paragon West Restaurant was an after church with parents’ destination. There is still a Paragon on Grand ave. in Waukegan. It’
s one of the few 70’s era restaurants that still remain!
I was irritated that Montgomery Ward Auto Express would only install car stereos that were purchased there I thought that was a
gyp. I liked there tire prices and the fact that they would do oil changed in fifteen min while you wait before thee was Jiffy lube.
They also were the first to have those pagers that light up so you could go shopping while your car was worked on I still think that’
I miss ya Lakehurst! You were the backdrop of a lot of good times and you put me through two tears of College of Lake County
and another two years of Northeastern Ill University.