(Note From Marty: I took a snow day, yesterday and hung out with a friend and stayed off of the internet. I really hadn’t planned on doing this, but it was one of the best days and nights ever! So today I’m going to post what would’ve been Sunday’s post and then we’ll just be a day behind until Thursday. Okay, on with yesterday’s post, today!)
The Contributing Writer’s well is once again dry, so last Friday night I went and took photos of two buildings downtown that I worked in for a 14 year stretch of my life. Set the Wayback Machine to last Friday night and it’s off into the night we go!
There’s Murray’s Department Store. It’s now called The Murray Center For The Arts and you can rent art studios here and there’s two retail stores doing business in here. But the ghost of Murray’s past lives on with that faded signage painted on the bricks. I worked here from 1979 to 1980 when I was kind of lost and had no idea what to do with my life.
Fire escape shot! I was living with two friends in a house on the corner of Russell and Douglas just off of Main Street when I worked here. I was drinking a ton and doing lots of drugs and it was a pretty wild year of my life. It was also a real confusing time for me as I had no idea what I really wanted to do. So I just kept drinking and taking more drugs till the confusion didn’t bother me anymore.
Full moon fever. I was a “floater” when I worked here, which meant I worked in a number of departments, most of them on the second floor. I worked in sporting goods, the toy department and the hardware area where in addition to tools they also sold lawn mowers and equipment and bicycles.
As I said, there’s art studios in here now and according to this sign there’s spaces for rent.
Fire exit. On Fridays I worked the night shift from 5PM to closing time at 9PM. There was a bar across the street called Ike and Swannie’s that we all hung out in. On Friday’s I would meet a woman who worked in the jewelry department at around 3:30PM when she took her lunch hour and we would see how many vodka and orange juices we could drink in an hour and go to work totally shitfaced. I don’t remember her name, but she had red hair, was real good looking and her husband was a biker who was a real mean guy. I was always nervous he’d pop in there and kill me for hanging out with his wife, but luckily it never happened.
This is the side of the building that leads up to the parking lot that faces Washington Street.
Those black ribbons can only mean one thing...
Ribbon Records! We did a shop hop here a while back and I should make a return visit, it’s cool record store and they have vintage clothing and furniture in there too.
But for now, they’re closed. They’re located in the space that was the jewelry department and the grocery area where they also had a liquor department. I remember buying lime vodka in there.
We end up at the front doors, which are locked at this time of night. While working at Murray’s my dad got me an interview at Fleming Potter which was a printing company where he worked in the sales department.
Here’s the empty building that was once Fleming Potter. I interviewed for a position in the art department of the company. We didn’t really produce art there, we were film strippers that did the color separation for the labels and pieces that were eventually printed.
You needed some graphic skills to work in that department and I was always good at drawing, so I passed the initial test and got the job. This was my first “real” job but I kept working Friday nights at Murray’s mainly to keep drinking at Ike and Swannie’s with the kooky redhead. We had a lot of fun sitting at that bar and just being goofy.
Here’s the front doors, but if you worked in production, you couldn’t enter through these...
You had to walk down the sidewalk...
And enter through this side door. It always pissed me off we couldn’t walk in the front and we had to enter here like we were second class citizens.
Here’s the shipping and receiving area in the back of the building.
And this is the only reminder that this empty, decaying building was once a thriving business known as Fleming Potter.
I worked here for thirteen years, from 1980 to 1993. I had a lot of life experiences while working here, but the big one came in 1995, when Greg Owens and I put out our own satirical game called, “Trivial Trivia, The Idiot Edition” and that game changed my life. You can read about that here, but it led me to realize I love to write and create things and that led to me writing for The Pekin Daily Times, publishing my own magazine and ultimately cashing in my pension fund from Fleming Potter and moving off to New York City for 19 years. And now I’m back here taking photos of the building for my Peoria blog. The circle just keeps spinning.
And what a perfect piece of graffiti to end this piece on. We’ll see you all tomorrow!
Yes all this old news is just print stains across your mind,
When you go back in time.