Tuesday, December 28, 2010

R.I.P. Patricia Keeney

With much sadness and heavy hearts, Downtown Elgin has lost one of their own, Patricia Keeney of Keeney's Sporting Goods and PK's Antiques passed away on Monday December 27th, 2010. Those who are associated with downtown Elgin are very proud of our downtown. Pat may have been the most proud of downtown Elgin.

Read more here from the Elgin Courier News: Elgin Businesswoman Pat Keeney Dies at 62

While most will talk of Keeney's as a place where you could buy a gym suit for U-46, some costume or vintage jewelry, great vintage clothing or hats (witness how stunning the women looked in a recent fund raiser for Pat at Villa Verone a few weeks ago), a place to buy fishing lures, or even a tux. I say that because I bought a tux at Keeney's with tails(!!!) a couple of months ago. What I am here to talk about is her records.

Pat had records. Pat had a lot of records! LP's, 45's, 78's in those old "albums", and many different styles of records. The best thing about them? They were helter skelter all over the store! No rhyme or reason to anything. In boxes by the embroidery machine, against clothes racks, up and down the stairway, and in the PK's basement. If you liked the thrill of the hunt as a record buyer, Keeney's and PK's Antiques was for you! So there I was, coming down fast, to PK's Antiques where most of the records were. "The light switch is on the ceiling", she'd say, as you went downstairs. Of course, I had to ask her 3 or 4 times where the switch was. She was patient with me and just tell me again but at the same time I could sense that if she had to come and turn it on for me, I'd get this feisty glare.

To paraphrase Robert DiNiro's character in "This Boy's Life", she knew a thing or two about a thing or two a bout records. At first I thought I might find few records at discounted flea market prices. No such luck. She knew her music. She knew what was what. I told her as much and she just shrugged it off, but I could sense....compliment taken. Some of the things I got there over the past few years was a MONO copy of The Byrds "Turn, Turn, Turn", a Roy Orbison's "Greatest Hits" on the Monument label, no less, and a wonderful Chet Atkins record that was still in the cellophane from the 1960's. Recently she had the rare Lynyrd Skynyrd album "Street Survivors" with the flames!

As a new record store in downtown Elgin, I was thrilled when she came walking into my store not long after we opened this past June. We chatted, she looked around, said something about how my records were all organized, and then she left. It's not like I was looking for approval (well maybe I was a little) but I was so grateful she came in, and gave me the unspoken "Record Store Blessing". Like I said, I was thrilled. So when people came to me looking for something and I didn't have it, I'd send them to Pat. If someone was in her store looking for a record and didn't have it, she'd send them to me. It was awesome. She was awesome.

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