Just received this email from my friend Teddy Jack Eddy. No, not the 'real' Mr Jackeddi, who I sincerely wish WOULD chime in, but my buddy TeddyJack. Of course, thats not his real name, but...well, go to his post on My First Car to read an explanation.
" Hey Johnboy,
Had a little time this weekend, so I thought I'd put together a few thoughts about Peoria back in the day for you - and get you off my back. As you know, by the time I got there, it was really slowing down from it's heyday [ but I was still ahead of you, punk]. But there was still plenty happening, on Saturday nights especially. Except of course when Mazeppa was on! Man, that place died about 10:30, then sorta picked back up about 1 with the hardcores. Heard some tales of some serious street races being set up down there, for some big money at the time. But I, naturally, wouldn't know anything about that. I just heard.
But there was plenty of that going on amongst the regulars too, just not for money. Or at least not much. As we've discussed before, things had kind of segregated by 72 - 73 - 74. The fast guys, mostly Mopars and a few old Chevies, usually parked at C&F Racing Equipment. Safeway was full of high school kids that were just cruising and rotating thru Pennington's. The few Ford guys that were trying to do something seemed to meet at Midas Muffler. Us Pontiac guys tended to congregate sort of across the street at Moss Seat Covers. There was always a couple of those Stage motored Buicks at that Texaco up by the Camelot; that white GSX was quick. And naturally, there were Chevy guys everywhere, and everyone moved around a lot. But that was sorta how I remember it.
Oh, and the hippies congregated at Der Weinerschnitzel , eventually ruining their business, and in that parking lot of that waterbed store across from C&F - cant remember the name.
Anyway, you asked for some memories. Well, several I'm not certain the statute of limitations has run on, so we'll talk about others...
Obviously, the main memories are of cruising the strip. Looking at cars, looking at girls, eating, listening to the radio and such. But a few stand out. There was this one squirrelly ass kid [can I say squirrelly ass on your blog?] that had a gold Firebird. 67 or 68, can't remember. The car was gold on gold, with either a 326 or 350, and a 'Glide. He had like 8" or 10" Cragars on the back with at least a hundred pounds of air in the air shocks to keep the fenders off the tires, and stock steelies on the front. You know the kind. For whatever reason, this clown had it in for me. He was always wanting to race, and telling me how fast his car was. He was always picking on me, I guess because we WERE kind of at the bottom of the "pecking order" for fast cars and both had Ponchos, but every time we'd hook 'em up, I'd blow his doors off. He just couldn't understand, because he kept saying that his car was lighter, plus he had headers and a big carb, things my car didn't possess. Of course, his 'big carb' was a Holley double pumper. With a stock automatic transmission and cam, heh heh... So one evening late, I was at the Coney I-lander getting a few "non phoney coneys'' and talking to a girl named Belinda that worked there. She was a real cutie man - Tall and thin, shoulder length brunette hair, big brown eyes and a few freckles across her nose. Don't know why I still remember her name; well, actually yes I do - we'll just say that her Levi's fit exceptionally well. Anyway... So I'm in there trying to make some headway with this girl - for the second time that night as I remember - and in walks the squirrel. He walks up to the counter, she asks what he wanted to order, so he orders something and immediately starts talking trash. He had done something to his car that week, and was telling me and the girl how much faster it was now and how he was gonna blow my doors off if I wasn't afraid to race him and all that crap. Well, I finally got tired of hearing him, and naturally fearing that my manhood was being questioned in front of Belinda, I told him to go get in that piece of crap and meet me on the Beeline. I shoveled in my last coney and started out the door, just in time to see him sliding left across Peoria, tires a spinnin', right in front of an OHP that was just finishing getting gas across the street. I just walked back in and had another Pepsi!
You remember that scene in American Graffiti where those girls lobbed a water balloon in Milner's coupe? I saw something similar happen one night. A bunch of high school kids were out driving around in what was obviously Daddy's new Olds 98. I'd seen them go past a few times, and the girls were pretty cute. Anyway, I had stopped at C&F cause I saw Crazy Harry's Nova sitting there, and I wanted to ask him something, don't remember what. So we're standing there talking and these little kids decided to pick THAT lot to throw water balloons at. Can't imagine why, other than maybe all their friends were sitting over at Safeway there across the intersection watching. Whatever the reason, one of them hits Harry's Nova and another scores a direct hit on some guy standing by a dark green Dart. I didn't follow, but I heard later that some little girl got to explain to Daddy exactly why his new Oldsmobile had every piece of glass broken and dents kicked in every panel... They couldn't have picked a worse guy! I know you've heard some stories about Harry - I imagine most of them were true. One of the many who never quite "made it back" from Nam.
KAKC was there on Peoria in the Trade Winds as you know; by the time I got my car, we were listening mostly to KMOD, and KTBA when it came on. And when we could get it - the signal was pretty weak. KTBA was pretty great though. The girls were still mostly listening to KAKC and KELI . But when Mazeppa moved over to the radio from the television, we were listening to KAKC then! Several of us went one night down to the Trade Winds and just parked, waiting for Mazeppa, Johnny Donut or Teddy Jack Eddy to come in to the studio. Never did see them, although I did see 'em at the Brook Theater, opening night of The Buddy Holly Story, years later. Wonder if they taped that show? I actually tried a couple of times to catch one of them coming in to KAKC, to no avail. Can't believe they tore that building down - should have been made a Historical Site.
Speaking of ''historic'', man, Peoria was historic in 76 when both the Street Rod and Street Machine Nationals were in Tulsa. You should do an entire blog just on stories from that! I'll never forget that Rat motored Vega and that old Willys lining up there at 41st. When the light turned green, that Willys lifted the front tires a foot off the ground! It was only a '2 gear stoplight Grand Prix' , but THAT was historic.
Pennington's was historic too. Another national treasure gone. Wonder what happened to their sign? Would love to have that. Man, the carhops there were patient!
Vans were getting to be quite the thing back then. I remember several really cool ones ; an Econoline named "Highway Star" sticks out in my mind, as does one of those early flat faced Chevies named "Heavy Water'. That van was raised up all around probably 8 or 10 inches. Looked kind of cool, but I cannot imagine trying to drive that thing. When I finally learned about D2O in the military, it finally made sense - it was unstable! That always stuck with me for some reason. Remember a black Dodge with flames on it not long before I went into the Air Force. It had side pipes and a 440 with a 6 pak setup on it. Really cool. Some of those vans were really cool, and some were just junk full of hippies with a green fog rolling out of them. Kinda dug the hippie chicks - they seldom wore bras - but never could deal with the whole hippie thing too well. Except for maybe Jefferson Airplane and Led Zeppelin... Most of the guys I knew that had vans , had them to carry dirt bikes in. They didn't frequent Peoria too much.
I think my high school prom was at the Camelot. I didn't go, but I think it was. Or maybe some girl's I knew. Can't remember. Didn't go, either way.
Man Johnny, you're asking me to remember a lot about an area from a long time ago!
Shakey's Pizza was on Peoria, even though the one out at the Traffic Circle was closer to my house. Shakey's pizza was the best on earth.
Being an Eastsider, I wasn't on Peoria much during the day except to occasionally go to C&F before it closed. I DID buy my first set of good speakers at SEVCO though. Big old Cerwin Vegas.
Occasionally went to Woodward Park to hang out, shoot the breeze and maybe throw a Frisbee. I remember one time in particular not long after Greg got his Bronco. We were discussing posi-traction, climbing rates and such and soon a disagreement about capabilities arose. He went down to the corner and started... No, never mind. They're probably still looking for whomever did that!
"I've been told" [as you say] about guys that occasionally showed up for special dates with fresh roses from time to time; "courtesy" of the Tulsa Rose Garden there next to Woodward... I have no PERSONAL knowledge, but I've heard stories... [the statute has bound to have run, but just in case...]
We could probably sit here all night telling stories. Every weekend, a thousand vignettes played out across the Restless Ribbon ; many similar to one another, many unique. The cars and the people moved up and down that stretch of asphalt like blood coursing through the veins, bringing life and animation to an otherwise inert organism. And like all temporal beings, it's lifespan is finite. I'm just glad I was there while it was still alive and fairly vigorous.
Hope that helps. I'll be 'out of contact' for the next couple of weeks. Catch you when I return. Take care."
addendum - as your humble host does not posses the skills/knowledge to attach photos within comments nor do I know how to move things below the comment section, I will add this here...
Marshall at Fotoworks.ca has graciously provided a photo of Hiway Star!
And here is a frame of one of the iterations of Beerman's van.
Still lookin for 24 Water Street....