Thursday, February 26, 2009

Goodbye old Kaleidoscope haunt, home, and heart.

In 1972, my dad and his new (and still together after all these years) wife were passing through The Queen City on their way back north. They drove by this little stucco building, saw a for rent sign, and opened a record store. It didn't happen that fast but on opening day it took a long while for anyone to waltz through the door. Wunderle was one of the first customers. He was a neighbor and I like to think he just waited and waited for it to open. Kaleidoscope became the record store in town. It was a haunt, a home (for me from 1972 -73, I lived upstairs), a heart.

The store became the center of a thriving music community. The Ozark Mountain Daredevils were the store's softball team. Chicks from the Minstrels worked there. Wunderle, Rick Nivens, Dave Milner, Jim Lewis, Mary and Maureen Gollub, Kelly H'Doubler, Pam Babcock, Cathy Stevens, Don Freeman, Dave Day and so many more were the people I grew up around. The people that enriched my life and made growing up the coolest thing I could ever do. Mounds of records came home. I listened to everything my dad would haul and my collection grew and grew. I couldn't get enough of the first Dire Straits album.

There were giant Costello posters, Police posters, Foghat took up a good wall for a long time. The Nitty Gritty Dirtband did an instore. It was the best place to be. So Lester Bangs. Wild. Outrageous. Just to be around some aspect of the record business in the 1970s was a mad experience and when I turned 15, I was able to work at a new store that the folks opened on the north side. I spent most of my time there listening to the Clash, making t-shirts, and fucking off down at the Sip n' Flip in front of a Defender cabaret. That store eventually closed. More people moved in and out of the main store and in 1983, Kaleidoscope sold its last record. I know that the last new release was Rush's Signals. Perhaps the store just couldn't take that kind of punishment.

The store became a kind of new wave haunt. Fashion shows, a hair boutique upstairs where all the leather, jewelry, Fabulous Furry Freak comics, and rolling papers had been. New employees like the great Bill Brown brought more music cred back to the store. Nothing stayed the same for long. Items moved, went, staff grew and shrunk. In times of personal economic strife I was allowed to work there as long as I kept busy and didn't drink too much. My sister began working there and asserted herself as one of the best people you could work for or with.

A few years back, the lease wasn't renewed on the old store and the folks moved to a new location 30ft east. Something bigger and greater than the old place but you only had to walk out the front door to see the old beaut. To see it occupied by people who didn't give a shit about it hurt. To see it gradually decay became a daily experience

Today, it was torn down. My sister found a little piece to have my uncle put in silver. A keepsake, something close to her heart. Just like that old building must be to so many people in The Queen City.

I'd like to thank everyone who ever worked there, shopped there, felt it, fucked in it, or made it part of their lives for only a moment. It was a beautiful place.
ap - 2009


Sarah said...

Say it ain't so--that bites the big one. I love that old building and all the memories that go along with it...although none as good as your's and your family. The price of progress just isn't worth it--sustainablity also means reusing things of value. Sorry for your loss--love the post.

harold D said...

Thank you for your wonderful memories... your farewell to that place. My heart just skipped a beat when I read the ending. Torn down. Such a fixture of the 70s in Springfield, and a true landmark.

humppazoid said...

Hey, it's funny - I know Rick Nivens too!!!:) It's a pity - almost no chance to find a good vinyl now...

Anonymous said...

Just ran across this blog, it made me smile I was a regular and friend of the 70's. Pam was a good friend :) I remember once I wanted to get my Pa a cool present and we looked thru the catalogs till I found this great Hukka Pipe :) it was ordered and it was probably one of the most treasured gift he ever got. He is gone now but I still have the pipe and now I treasure it.
I was sad when I saw they tore the building down, it was the hearts of many. Thanx for the memories :)


Anonymous said...

Ooops that sb Hookah pipe :)


D.P. said...

A number of Parkway Central grads (1971,1972) are looking for Mary and Maureen Gollub. Where are they?
David Peters