Dyke's Everything Store

A place to acquire oddities...

I was an anomaly during my teen-aged years in Quincy, Illinois. I didn’t want to get a driver’s license! I liked walking and riding my bike around town. I didn’t even think about taking the driver’s test until a cop strongly urged that I do so, late at night in rural upstate New York.

I had a friend in Quincy during my adolescence. I was sort of a solitary soul and usually only had one friend at a time. Richard also had a bike, and we would ride up to the north side of town, the poor part of Quincy. We liked to hang out at a second-hand store owned and run by an American Indian guy; was his name really Dyke, or was that just a name he’d given the store? I never knew.

Dyke’s Everything Store was a treasure trove of oddities. During one visit I became fascinated by an ancient electrical device housed in an oak-veneered wooden cabinet. I asked Dyke:

“So what do you want for this thing? What is it, anyway?”

“Aw, Larry, you could have fun with this wire recorder! I’ll sell it to you for five bucks.”

I paid him, and Dyke helped me lash the awkward recorder onto my bike’s handlebars.

Once I had carried the thing downstairs and plopped it onto a table in my basement lair, I tried plugging it in. No response. So I had bought a broken wire recorder!

The spools of fine silvery wire fascinated me, though. I pounded in nails around the periphery of the lair and spent a couple of hours stringing that wire back and forth from nail to nail, creating a silvery network over the floor joists. Then I pounded in some nails just over the door-less entry to the lair. I suspended more wires from those nails. To get into the lair you had to just walk right through those diaphanous strands.

I figured that I had gotten my money’s worth!