Belated happy birthday to Maria Gianelli, August 2. Maria’s many friends and long time customers all got together at her studio and honored her with a big celebration.

Speedy get well wishes to Linda Wojtas, one of everybody’s favorite people. Linda had a terrible accident while walking along the way, minding her own business. That accident resulted in a compound fracture of the femur. Ouch!

Evelyn Krueger spent a delightful COOL evening at the Melrose Park Middle School enjoying an amateur production of “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Last week ninety-seven year old Irene Kelso went along with the Community Center to see “A Kiss From Alexander” at the Baliwick theatre. (As John Cleese used to say, “and now for something completely different.”) A young producer with an intense admiration for Alexander the Great is directing a play about the young Greek warrior. Up in heaven (or wherever) Alexander assumes a body and comes back to earth to make a few corrections in the script. That producer/director turns out to be the reincarnation of Alexander’s lover, Hephaestion. Greek, and a little Persian history, lots of humorous lines about Greek mythology, including all the muses, lots of innuendo, good music and great dancing are all included, but nothing really offensive. Irene and everyone enjoyed the show and the all male cast. Irene also enjoyed the dinner and that big glass of chianti.

The 500 block of Beloit wasn’t very successful at having block parties, but seven years ago after “Rich and Uli” moved in, they gave a party of their own. After three years of musical parties, “R & U” seem to have established a tradition. It’s been happening for seven years now. Professional musicians,friends and all the neighbors are invited. Kids are welcomed with a warning that they may turn out to be musicians. The party starts in the early evening and ends around midnight with no mikes or ear shattering amplifiers, just really good music with live performers.

The 7600 block of Wilcox has very successful block parties. This year Bev and Lou Thompson treated the kids on the block to some kind of crazy bouncy water house. Kids in the picture are (l to r)Mike Huttner,Robert Corbeil,Erica Gray,Reid Thompson,Kylie Hardin,Christina Sauer,Dylan Ryan,Caroline Corbeil and Brady Ryan .

Daniel and Sarah Gasse are truly a welcome addition to Forest Park. Actually, they’ve been her for several years now. The Gasse School of Music and the Music for Life Foundation have raised the cultural level of Forest Park about twenty points. Before the Gasses all we had to brag about, classical musically speaking, was Phil Blum, our CSO cellist. Now the Gasse School of Music invites you and your children to a FREE Hands on Music Time Fun on Saturday, August 20th at the Magic Tree Bookstore,141 N. Oak Park Avenue. 11:00 til 11:30 am toddlers (2 to 3 year olds); 11:30 til 12:00 pre-kinders,(3 to 5-year-olds). For more information contact The Gasse School at (708)488-8117. Magic Tree can be reached at

August 17 and a happy birthday to Angela Tricoci, Kevin Nutley and Donna Prochazka; on the 18th to Betty Breseman, Christine Cassiani, Dorothy Grams, Eileen Pfaff, Marilyn Trainor and happy anniversary to Joyce and Pat Oberg; on August 19 birthday greetings to Lisa Cossi,Terry Hemstreet,Lindsay Pritchard,Anthony Bowen; on the 20th to Donald Childs,Madison Crowe,Amanda McAdam,Kaitlin Smith,Ida Hanson and Alice Nolan; August 21 happy birthdays to Bill Lichtenberg and Lucinda Mister; that’s it for this week. Thanks for your time. The Albanians are still here so “Chop a Bun” (Albanian for “see you later’).

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...