Nearly every school day in 1975, my sophomore year at Pekin Community High School in Central Illinois, I would rush through lunch in the cafeteria with my pals Gary and Jim to get to the “Leeway” where I would plop a quarter into the jukebox for my two favorite songs — “China Grove” by the Doobie Brothers and “My Maria” by B.W. Stevenson.

The Leeway at Pekin Community High School.

The Leeway was a long corridor that connected the “old building” of what was called West Campus and the new addition, which was called the English building or “Red Building” because of its exterior red panels. The West Campus hosted freshmen and sophomores while the East Campus, on the other side of town, was where the juniors and seniors attended classes.

More importantly, though, the Leeway was the social epicenter of the West Campus, a place where students could gather … Read more