Stella Walsh walked out of Uncle Bill’s Discount Department Store with a bag full of ribbons. It was the evening of Dec. 4, 1980. The sun was long gone and a chill was filling the air. Two weeks earlier, she had given the key to the city of Cleveland to the Polish men’s national basketball team. In a couple days, she planned to give these ribbons to her native country’s national women’s team before an exhibition game at Kent State University.
At the Diamond Cabaret, the Platinum Club, the Jewel Box and the Crystal Palace; at Roxy's, Miss Kitty's, Dollie's Playhouse and PT's; at the Chameleon Club, the Pink Slip, the S&L Rub and at C-Mowe's, at all the strip clubs and massage parlors that do business in the communities that ring East St. Louis like a noose, people gather by the thousands in the wee hours of a weekend morning.