Forty Years Ago

Tobias (Toby) Zapfel, colorful entrepreneur of foods and refreshments catering to the west suburbs, died Jan. 12, 1966 at Westlake Hospital. Arriving in this country from Austria as a teenager, his first job was that of bus boy at Metzger’s in Chicago. Later, as a head waiter, he once served President Theodore Roosevelt.

His Forest Park career began as a bartender at the Thoede House, Desplaines Ave. and Madison St. In 1930, Zapfel bought a saloon on Lathrop. Times and the business changed, and for his last ten years Toby was content with serving a score of regulars who enjoyed his conversation, good hot sandwiches and properly mixed drinks.

From the Jan. 20, 1966 issue of the Forest Park Review.

Thirty years ago

An editorial followed last week’s report of the Ezra Buckner family (a black family) moving into their own home. Strange things can happen when a minority upsets the norm”even by performing one of the most normal acts”becoming part of a neighborhood. It was clearly established that a few irresponsible youths had thrown rocks, broken windows and otherwise caused damage to the home. It made it to Dan Rather and the network telecasts. It’s sad to note that someone, somewhere in the media echelon was empowered to make this a “big news” story. If you’re reading ahead, you know that the decision to “go” with it probably hung on considerations such as, “Does it appeal to the lowest common denominator of the majority’s interest? Will it boost ratings and bring in revenues?”

The editorial pointed out, “Never mind that a village can build a sparkling new Community Center on voluntary donations from its citizens…that it passed a $1.6 million bond issue for new street lighting by a 3.5 to 1 margin…and did so when other communities were turning down much-needed improvements.”

The whole episode”while hardly a triviality for the Buckners”was in reality, “little news.” It was literally kid stuff.

From the Jan. 21, 1976 issue of the Forest Park Review.

Twenty Years Ago

Lyn Anderson wrote a Review column in the 80s, and she was a good writer. Her subject for Feb. 19, 1986 was cats. If you’re a cat lover (like Jackie Schulz), read on. If you’re not, move on.

“Last Sunday afternoon proved dark and dreary. It was the kind of day I didn’t want to stay home. So we visited the annual Cat Show in Villa Park. Although my husband and I own two American shorthairs, cats are new to us. One cat adopted us when he appeared on our doorstep, hungry, thirsty and disheveled. We named him Gideon Raoul, and decided that his light, wheat-colored coat was most attractive. Gwendolyn Rose, an oddly marked calico, joined the household just two weeks ago. Her markings are distinct, so distinct that she’s almost comical looking, but she’s a delicately-boned cat that walks with dignity.”

From the Feb. 19 1986 Forest Park Review.

Ten Years Ago

The village just recently marked its 11th annual St. Pat’s Day Parade. I remember last year’s worst of all. When the Forest Park Review asked if I’d like to clamber aboard the newspaper’s float and throw kisses to people I didn’t know, I figured “What the heck, you only go around once.” I didn’t even go that far.

So last year on March 5″the date is indelible”I joined my colleagues in the staging area way in the back. Weary of waiting and exchanging witty banter with my fellows and “fellowettes,” boredom set in, and I moved forward to catch the Proviso band warm-ups and the ever-chipper baton twirlers. Time hanging heavy, band members were messin’ around, with a toot here, a drum roll there and Frisbee toss every now and again. Bored now with the frisky young baton twirlers and the energetic but misguided band members, I ankled my way back to the Review’s float.

We were about to roll, yet I had stayed too late at the fair. About to pull myself onto the float platform, I felt a great force, a malignant, evil, almost inexorable power drawing me backward by my left foot. The front wheel of the platform had me, and had me good. Whacko! My head hit the asphalt and an express trip to the unconscious took place.

Hitherto unknown stars and planets swam around to keep me company. Then appeared the friendly face of our newspaper’s handwriting analyst, Jim Murray. He later said I looked done for; that a miracle must’ve taken place. Later, at the Loyola Emergency Room attended by a bevy of good nurses (what’s a bevy?), good wife Barbara and [then] Editor Melissa Lou, it was determined there were no broken bones, some bruising and surprisingly little pain.

And that’s why there was no Review float this year.

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