Sympathy to the family and many friends of Mary Pluchino, one of the beloved neighbors of the 1500 block of Marengo. Probably the best, happiest, most neighborly block in Forest Park for many years. Those neighbors got along so well. Among the names on that block were the Conways, Huebners, Lambkes, June and Stanley Hull, Ziebels, and so many more that I can’t remember. They helped raise each other’s kids, because everybody knew where everybody’s kids were supposed to be. They helped each other out, stood in front and back yards visiting, talking, laughing”everyone seemed so happy to be with everyone else. They had the best block party in town, too, using the playground on the 1500 block of Circle. It was their alley! So even if it rained, they went under the shelter. Now, little by little and one by one, the faces of 1500 Marengo are changing. Some of the dear old friends are still there, but many have gone. Those who are left have so many happy memories.

Sympathy also to Phyllis Orland and her family following the death of son Carl.

Tonight at Jimmy’s is the kickoff for the Forest Park Relay for Life cancer fundraiser, 6 p.m. Call 771-8469 for more information.

Drew Carter, feature writer for the Review and resident of Forest Park, is off to Los Angeles for his friend’s really big wedding celebration. A week before the actual wedding the groom and his buddies are driving to Las Vegas for the bachelor party! A week-long bachelor party. They’re allowing themselves that much time to get back for the wedding at the Ritz Carlton.

On Friday, Jan. 14, the students at Garfield Elementary School collected money to aid tsunami victims. The youngsters collected a total of $457.28. Fifth grader Colleen Mullen, who spearheaded the operation, said, “I saw all the horrible pictures on TV, and knew I had to help. I went to my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Uhlman to ask if we could take up a collection in our classroom. A few days later I went to our principal, Ms. Stauder to ask if the collecton could be taken throughout the school. She said yes and was very supportive …”

Ada Samutthai in Mrs. Reeves’ fifth grade class and Ada’s cousin, second grader Nat Sammutthai in Ms. Woods class have come to us from the area in Thailand that was affected by that tsunami. They encouraged the pupils to donate to this disaster. Other Forest Park schools collected money for this tragedy as well. More to come in future articles.

Please excuse the brevity of this column. I’ve been somewhat of a shut-in with back problems for about a month”2005 started out pretty bad. There’s not a lot you can do when you can’t walk.

Happy Jan. 27 birthday to Tracy Doss and Madlaine Morrocco; on the 28th, to Marlene Quandt, Matt Walsh and Sharon Andrews; Jan. 30 is the birthday of Rickie Beam and the 12th birthday of Lisa Pardun. It’s Feb. 1 and happy birthday to Megan Childs, Becky Lauris, Sally Cody and Rosemary Krieger; on the 2nd, happy anniversary to Marie and John Spence

Thanks for your time. Thought for the week: Habit is stronger than hate. Chop a bun.

Jackie Schulz

Jackie is a former Chicago and Elmwood Park schoolteacher with an undying love for music, friendly pets and a host of life's other treasures too numerous to list. She was born on the far southwest side...