During the fall semester of my senior in high school (1974), my friend Dennis told me about a new grocery store that had opened in the Westlake Shopping Center (across the street from Northwoods Mall). The name of the store was Randall’s, and it was the first store in Peoria that had scanners at checkout lanes instead of cash registers, so items didn’t have to be rung up one at a time by hand. At that time, I was 17 years old. I asked Dennis for the name of the store manager, and he told me that his name was Steve.
I graduated from high school in 1975 (36 years ago). The school I attended was located in a rural area of Peoria County. Most of the students in the school were from families in which at least one of the parents worked in a blue collar job, such as manufacturing or the building trades. I came from one of those families. While I was growing up, my dad was a carpenter. Although he eventually ended up owning his own construction company, he always remained a member of the Carpenters’ Union.