There is no pinball at the Nickels Arcade. It is not that kind of arcade. It is a covered gallery, lined with little shops and is situated in downtown Ann Arbor. Named for its founder, Tom Nickels, it has been an Ann Arbor landmark since 1918. It is situated off of State Street, across from the Michigan Diag.
One longtime tenant of Nickels Arcade is the Caravan Shop. When Anne and her sisters were just growing-up, their folks used to take them by this shop. I can imagine the three of them; faces pressed against the window, peering through the glass at the stacked shelves of tiny porcelain figurines, each of the girls trying to decide which one they most would like to have.
When I still lived in Ann Arbor, there was a jewelry store in the arcade. I don’t know if it is still there or not, I didn’t think to look for it. At that time a zirconium diamond came into my possession. I seem to recall that my Dad gave it to me. Back then, zirconium diamonds were brand new and were still a novelty. I stopped off at this jeweler with the intention of getting it appraised. The jeweler quoted a price in the thousands and when I questioned his number and further explained that it was a zirconium he got all flustered about it. I guess he had heard about zirconium diamonds, but had not expected to encounter one.
Another connection that I have with Nickels Arcade is that I bought my first suit at a men’s clothing store in the arcade. Probably the most important impact of Nickels Arcade on my life occurred on the night before my wedding with Anne, but that is not my story to tell. Anyway, everything eventually turned out alright.