Remember the big literary event that’s about to happen in Forest Park at Centuries & Sleuths. On Tuesday, July 19, Sara Paretsky will be signing copies of her latest book Fire Sale, a real thriller, not too much blood, gore, violence, just a good story. It all takes place on the far South Side of Chicago, the area called South Chicago. But Ms. Paretsky’s detective, V.I. Warshawski, also travels to Evanston, Barrington Hills and other familiar Chicago area spots. I think you’ll probably like it. As always, Paretsky weaves a bit of religion, philosophy and ethnicity into the plot. Hope to see you there (7419 Madison). Hope you’ll read the book. As I said, I think you’ll like it if you enjoy mysteries.

Death took one of Forest Park’s oldest citizens last week. Ramona Hafner, 90 years old plus, left us and left behind many good friends and memories. Sympathy to her family and many friends.

Here’s keen-eyes: Lola Gati at a local hardware store looking for Don Peaslee. Someone told her about this great old-fashioned hardware store in Forest Park. It even had a small town name, “Peaslee’s.” She’d heard about how long-legged, mild-mannered Don could always be found in the store helping customers, being friendly. Lola had heard about the old hardware store smell, too, about the big fans blowing out the hot air in the summertime, long before air conditioning came to small stores”along with shrink-wrap, bar codes and all that.

“What happened?” Lola asked.

“It’s not Peaslee’s anymore” she was told.

It’s still a hardware store, but when Don walked out the door so many years ago, he took the old atmosphere, the smell and the name with him.

“Where’s the old drug store across the street, Semper’s?.”

Gone, too. No more fountain cokes, no sodas, no ice cream cones, it’s a record store now. Is this really Madison Street? Yep, ’tis.

The best ice cream cone in the world is now found at the Brown Cow. The Polar Bear on 22nd Street was tops. It’s still good but we can walk to the Brown Cow.

The National Society of Collegiate Scholars has welcomed new member Amanda Ashley McAdam into its ranks. She will be honored at a campus ceremony in the fall at Illinois State University. This highly selective, prestigious organization is the only honors program offered to first- and second-year college students. Ashley is the daughter of Scott and Veronika McAdam. She was a member of numerous organizations in high school”among them are the student council, drama club, cheerleading, and several community service groups. With all this activity, Ashley managed to stay in the top 10 percent of her class, was all-academic, a member of the German National Honor Society, and a member of winning state cheerleading squads! Congratulations to Amanda McAdam.

More congratulations to new grandparents Todd and Pam Bower on the birth of Angelina Grace Seveda. Angelina Grace was born June 5, 2005 to Laura and Dan Seveda. Nancy Bower is much too young to be a great grandma, so we’ll just call her “Aunt Nancy” for now. Everybody OK with that?

John Michael at Paulson Paints has a new addition to his family. “J.M.” and his wife Christine are the proud new parents of Caileigh Pronak born June 25. Caileigh has a beautiful big sister, Madison Hannah, an able big sister if ever there was. Proud grandparents of the new baby are Barb and Bob Pronek and Colleen O’Connor and Joe O’Connor.

Sorry for the mix-up in last week’s birthdays. I got into August by mistake. So belated happy birthday to July birthdays: July 5, Madalyn Little, Craig Lichtenberg, Emmett Byrne; July 7, Kimberly Jargstorf, Dawn Jasper, Madhu Palloth, Janine Boy, John Doss, Jackie Clifton, Victoria Garlisch, Denise Norton, Karen Jargstorf and anniversary wishes to Karen and Colin Chin; on July 8, happy birthday to Jeff Schultz, Beth Spinelli, David Collins, Mary Donnelly and 3-year-old Julianna Grace Touhy; on July 9, Lisa Faber, Bridget Marinier, Diane Bugajsky, Matt Cappolino, Tim Houren and Zeno Jacquat; on July 10, happy birthday to Jackie Vince Clifton, Augie Hegg and Vic Lentini; July 11, happy 25th anniversary to John and Diane Rice, and happy birthday to Lucy Kowalski, Peggy Grams, Dianne Howard, Adam Powers, and Tyler Lipsi; on the 12th, happy birthday to Nick and Mike Martinski; on the 13th, to Cheryl Jargstorf, Brian Casey, Linda Brhel, Terry Rusk and Laura Hodges; July 14, to Darcy and Kelsey Carlson, Ruth Loyd and Anthony Huynh; on July 15, to Carol Smith, Chris Cody and Lester Nixon; July 16 and happy birthday to Leonard Karlin, Daniel Stroth, Sammy Marino, Michael Bloch; July 17 and best wishes to Steve Kaup, Rick Krieger, David Pardun, Gwensivere Eve Dudzik and happy anniversary to Joanne and Jerry Pinotti.

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...