Friday, March 30, 2012

Grand Rapids History Pinterest

If you are interested in Grand Rapids history, check out the Grand Rapids History Pinterest!
A treasure trove of photos of things you haven't thought of in a long time or never new existed.

Grateful Dead poster from a concert at Fountain St. Church 1968 ! (2 dollars!)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Remember when the amphitheater looked like this?

Downtown amphitheater 1980s. Weatherball in the background!
This image is from a postcard at the GRPL

Actually in this same spot in the photo, I have a memory from the 80s, sitting with some people on the curb late one night and noticing a guy precariously walking across that arch. He looked like he'd been drinking as he was rather wobbly and I remember thinking "this guy is going to fall any minute" and on cue, he did (shit! did I psychically cause it??) He hit the pavement and went unconscious. Some people helped him until the ambulance came. Never found out what happened or if he ended up being okay.
A few yards away from the amphitheater was a little white gazebo with payphones...

Gazebo, across from Flanagan's 1981.
The area around the amphitheater's changed so much...

And also, I wonder if anybody even sees this blog of mine? I get very infrequent comments... Is it just boring and stupid? I'm beginning to feel like giving up on it.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Great Daryl Nathan For President stickers!

By suggestions from the Daryl Nathan facebook group, 
"2012" dropped to make it more "timeless" and printed on snazzy red.

These are vinyl stickers measuring 3x10 inches. 
$3.00 each + postage

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Kmart's receipts still say "North Kent Mall"

Also, Kmart still exists. Well, sort of. Barely, I guess.

I don't know if Kmart was the huge presence in Grand Rapids in the 70s as it was where I grew up in Spokane, Washington.  When I was a kid, a trip to Kmart was a BIG DEAL.  

To this day, I occasionally have dreams that take place in the Kmart of my childhood. With everything looking all 70s and freakishly big. The toy aisle is still full of GI Joe, Micronauts, Six Million Dollar Man, Space: 1999 toys...

So... where was I going with this? I don't know. Basically, it's kind of sad and nostalgic for me to visit Kmart, see what it is now and think of how cool it used to be. I suppose Wal-Mart and Target pretty much filled their niche.

Wish they wouldn't have messed around with their logo.
As a teen in the late 80s, I lived ... well, around. But for a while I was staying in a neighborhood just North of the North Kent Mall. I used to hang out at that mall quite a bit and actually enjoyed eating at the Kmart cafeteria. I dunno, something about a cup of finger-jello wrapped in cellophane seemed appealing at the time.

Out of morbid nostalgia, I visited the last existing GR Kmart a couple days ago. It felt like visiting an old friend who'd fallen on hard times. Kind of depressing actually.

For some reason, this weird apparatus above the door really took up too much of my attention...

Security laser? What is that??
What was this once used for? It's like a blue flashy light connected to a spotlight. I know Kmart used to make a big deal out of "Blue Light Specials" Was this somehow part of that? I'm way too intrigued by it.

So basically, shopping at Kmart felt like... wishing I was at Meijer. They just had less selection and no groceries. Prices were low, and that's cool, but I couldn't find most things I'd be looking for. It's maybe just a little better than shopping at a Walgreens.

It wasn't really worth taking a picture but I found the corner that was once the cafeteria. It now looks like it's the private employee break area/offices. Nearby is a wall that was once the entryway to North Kent Mall.

Pretty much, in 2012 I would shop at Kmart if I had no other choice. Like if I lived in the area without a car and had to walk there to get stuff. Or just didn't feel like going a little farther down Plainfield to Meijer.

So sad. I miss the days when Kmart was awesome. Pretty sure those days are gone for good.

Without fail, around Christmas time, I can hear the "Kmart is your saving store" Christmas commercials...

Anybody have any fond memories of Kmart to share? ....