We moved to Forest Park over twenty years ago but it doesn’t always feel like I’m still living in the same village.

When the Village Attorney and Village Manager have shared a law practice at 9501 West Devon, it feels like I’m living in Rosemont.

When the top cop and his relatives from a neighboring suburb allegedly brawled behind the Golden Steer, it felt like I was living in Berwyn.

If I’m feeling beat-up, I know what it’s like to be from North Riverside.

After drive by shootings on Roosevelt Road, I wonder if I’m living in a gang-ridden neighborhood like Humboldt Park.

When I see the trendy shops and restaurants along Madison, it feels like I might have moved to Lincoln Park.

When our town pays a consultant fee to a disbarred attorney to oversee a water project, I’m certain that I’m living in Melrose Park.

When pedestrians and bicyclists hog the street and dare me to hit them; when groups hang out on street corners and a car stereo shakes my living room, I could swear I was living in a depressed area of the West Side.

When I see a privacy fence go up, I wonder if I’m in River Forest.

If I see people sitting on their front steps, I know I’m in Forest Park.

When our town gives a disgraced police chief a generous severance package, I know I’m living in Cicero.

When it takes me forever to find a parking place and ten minutes to cross a busy street, I’m pretty sure I’m living in downtown Chicago.

When I see the local police respond instantly to a bar fight, I know I’m in Forest Park.

When I see all the rehabbing and new construction, I think ” wait a minute this can’t be Forest Park.

When I’m running into friends and acquaintances and seeing familiar faces all over town, I know what it’s like to live in Mayberry.

When the new development is built on the Abell-Howe property, I might get confused and think I’m in Schaumburg.

When I hear that our average home prices are higher than those in Downers Grove, I wonder how long I can afford to live here.

If I spend enough time on Madison Street, I start to think I’m living in Ireland.

Change and development are exciting but sometimes I miss the town I moved to twenty years ago. It was a sleepy suburb called Forest Park and it’s disappearing fast.

John Rice

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.