Forty Years Ago

Ye Olde Editor, Claude Walker, was hot on the subject of judicial leniency”Chicago style. Some over-forgiving judge had discharged a couple a odious baboons charged with slicing up a policeman with a broken beer bottle, then playing kick-the-cop while he was down.

Walker adverted to an earlier episode when Forest Park Police Officer Herman Zeibell was slain viciously and without warning. He had ordered a known murderer to exit his car on Roosevelt Road and Desplaines Avenue. The suspect came out of the car, gun blazing, and Zeibell “fell dead before he could reach for his pistol.”

Still hot, Walker maintained there was far too much consideration for wrongdoers and much too little protection for the men in blue. His final word was that the benevolent judge should read the transcript of the Zeibell case and learn that police officers risk their lives even while questioning the most innocent-appearing suspect. From the Mar. 1965 issues of the Forest Park Review.

Thirty Years Ago

Outspoken columnist Steve Olderr was running for village commissioner (one of four). He was seeking his first political office and wanted it known that he was not then, nor ever would be, a politician. If election came his way, he said, the public could expect the same positive, forthright approach that he brought to his weekly column. Olderr, 31, married to Patricia Pingatore, was the director of the Riverside Public Library.

Tragedy struck the home of Fire Chief William Vrtis and his wife in the form of a shotgun that was supposed to be unloaded. David Jay Vrtis, 12, was messing around with a couple of friends in the Vrtis basement. The details on what went wrong weren’t given. What mattered was the life of a young, promising, good-looking kid had come to its end. All who knew him were devastated at the loss of a boy whose energy, personality and promise had been the envy of many. A single shell in a chamber had cast its permanent pall.

From the Jan. 1974 issues of the Forest Park Review.

Twenty Years Ago

Richard Vigure wrote a REVIEW column called “Conservative Viewpoint.” One week his topic was humor”Russian style. He focused on Yakov Smirnoff, the Russian comedian who emigrated here in the early ’80s. A sample comment from Yakov:

“In America, you can go right up to Ronald Reagan and say, ‘I don’t like Ronald Reagan.’ Same thing in Russia. I can go right up to Chernenko and say, ‘I don’t like Ronald Reagan.'” (Most Russian jokes about politics were considered underground”by about six feet.)

This letter to the editor pairs up well with Editor Walker’s deserved rant of 40 years ago: “I confess I had a bit too much to drink when I came out of a Forest Park lounge the other morning, at closing time. Even so, I got into my car, when a Forest Park police officer appeared alongside. He talked with me a few minutes and asked me to give him my car keys. I really didn’t want to do that but he was insistent, thank goodness.

The officer then put in a call for a cab and that’s the way I went home. The next morning I took a cab back and picked up my car. There’s no telling what that policeman might have saved me or others from. I want him to know I appreciate what he did for me and the courteous but firm way he did it”Name withheld on request.”

From the Mar. 1985 issues of the Forest Park Review.

Ten Years Ago

Who Remembers? T. Boone Pickins … Kayto Kaylin … Polly Bergen … the Spanish Main (try drawing a picture of it) … the Seven Oaks Restaurant (7501 Roosevelt Rd.) … Garth Brooks … the Gold Dust Twins … Michael J. Bakalis … Elia Gonzalez … Simonize … Simon, Simple … Paul Simon”both of them … Cy Young … Cy Coleman … comedian John Bynum … medium Irene Hughes … Stirling Moss.

Pastor Tom Holmes of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church was writing his column here longer than ten years ago. He was just as enlightening and entertaining then as he is today. The topic was praying the rosary”something foreign to his Protestant taste. He thought it was said by Catholics who felt they needed “extra credits” to enter Heaven. Then, after listening to a pair of “bright, thoughtful, prayerful Catholics””Loretta and Daniel Johnson”he learned that, unlike extra credits, rosary sayers were trying to repeat prayers in order to clear their minds and souls so they could better hear God speaking to them.

The good pastor further confessed his ignorance of the Buddhist and Muslim traditions of praying the rosary, and that even some Lutherans were known to “say the beads.”

His conclusion: old dogmas can learn new tricks. Rev. Holmes is a good writer. And a good man. The town is fortunate to have him.

From the Feb. 1995 issues of the Forest Park Review.