Forty Years Ago

Two weeks ago, Betty Breseman corrected a small error in this column regarding the old Lil Theater. I made the fix, and she sent me a follow-up note mentioning a few other memories of Forest Park from the ’30s and ’40s. She was just a kid at the time, but kids can have long-lasting memories. Some of hers were: the “iceman” who cameth from the Jefferson Ice Co. … the pot-belly stove in one room of her parents’ $17-a-month apartment on Madison … the common bathroom there (how to get to know your neighbors more than you’d like). “And don’t forget the streetcars,” she added. Fondest of all, maybe, was this 1945 memory, as seen through a little girl’s eyes a long time ago: multi-colored pieces of paper fluttering down from a private plane flying over Forest Park and trailing a banner reading: “The War is Over!” This memory could be as thrilling and riveting as some scenes in the movie, The Aviator.

Who Remembers? Eppie Lederer (Ann Landers) … Johnny Mathis … Richard Beymer (West Side Story) … House Jameson … Harold Perry (the Great Gildersleeve) … Barbara Luddy and Les Tremaine … Lux Radio Theater … Aunt Jenny … Dan Seymour … “Mr. First Nighter” … Philco … Atwater-Kent. Ah, Radio. The medium that lets you tune in and still do what has to be done, while nudging your imagination.

From the Jan. 1965 issues of the Forest Park Review

Thirty Years Ago

Go stick it. One of the campaign workers for winning candidate Ted Leverenz did just that. Over 50 campaign stickers were “misplaced” all over town. All of them carried the name LEVERENZ in big, bold capital letters and covered over public and business signs. (See photo.) These stick-ons came with an adhesive that had the tenacity of an enraged bull. Commissioners Rizzo and Sansone agreed that their removal would be “a job.” Leverenz, an independent Democrat, who had just won a seat in the Illinois House, said he wasn’t aware of the bill-posting.

From the Jan. 1975 issues of the Forest Park Review

Twenty Years Ago

And then there was this item from frequent freelancer John Sinor. Subject: a funny book. As this unending, gray winter persists we can use all the laffs we can get. From 20 years ago, Sinor says: Bad spellers of the world, untie!”Graffito … When the going gets tough, the smart get lost”Robert Byrne … If God is all-powerful and all-loving, he must be an underachiever”Woody Allen … Somewhere in this world, every ten seconds, there is a woman giving birth to a child. She must be found and stopped.”Sam Levenson … No, I haven’t read the New Testament, but I read the old one, and I liked it very much.” One shepherd to another in a New Yorker cartoon … He can encompass the most words into the smallest idea of any man I ever met.”Abraham Lincoln.

You may (or not) recall the account of police officer Steve Johnsen, who in the fall of ’85 pursued and caught a gang member. The wild car and foot chase led to the CTA tracks at the Congress right of way near Ridgeland Ave. Mayor Fred Marunde later presented a plaque commending Johnsen for “bravery above and beyond the call of duty.” The chase had led to the tracks where Johnsen, not once but twice, pulled the fellow off the third rail at great risk to his own safety.

From the Jan./Feb. issues of the Forest Park Review

Ten Years Ago

Because the wheels of justice “grind exceedingly slow,” it took nearly three years for the enforcement of a court sentence in the shooting of Forest Park resident Wally Glos, back in 1992. Two men had accosted Glos as the intended victim was chatting with a neighbor on Circle Avenue. One of them showed a gun and demanded Glos’ wallet. Glos didn’t care for the idea; and punched the gunman. (It was possible that Glos hadn’t hear the man’s demand.) He then took after the duo. The man with the gun turned and fired a single shot, hitting Glos in the abdomen.

Good detective work resulted in the arrest later that day of the accomplice. The gunman turned himself in a week later. Glos recovered, but because of a diabetic condition, doctors at Loyola Hospital decided to leave the bullet in place. The incident, however, left its psychological mark on him as well, said his wife. “He’s glad it’s over [aftercare and courtroom appearances.] He pretty much stays around the house. Before, he was always on the go.”

From the Jan. 1995 issues of the Forest Park Review