Forty Years Ago

Talk about established Forest Park names and it won’t be long before the name Vernon Reich pops up. Vernon Reich served three terms as mayor and twice as state senator. He was also a practicing lawyer here as well as a judge. Death came to him suddenly on January 25, 1966″a heart attack at the VA Hospital, only 24 hours after taking part in yet another village council meeting.

Review editor Claude Walker had this to say: “Vernon Reich was like a close relative to me. He was a brilliant man who carried a straight ‘A’ average at Valparaiso University’s College of Law. He entered local politics after passing the bar, found political life much to his liking, and was elected a judge. After World War service as a Lt. Commander in Okinawa he came back to serve in the state legislature and carry out his second and third mayoral terms. Poor health, the result of hepatitis contracted in the Pacific, prevented Reich from realizing even greater potential.”

From the Jan. 1966 issues of the Forest Park Review.

Thirty Years Ago

Ah, Youth. Ah, Thirst. Ah, Juvenile Authorities. O Tempora”and the same for Mores. That was the order of things when three young fellows spotted a door ajar on a stopped freight car side-tracked just south of Madison St. near Monroe. Curiosity turned to delight, then to acquisition, then to outright theft when beer was discovered in the box car! A watchful citizen noted the industrious trio lugging the suds, case after case, from the train to a truck”theirs. Shortly, four men in blue uniforms happened by. The young men claimed, ineffectually, that they were just going bowling and had parked their truck nearby. This proved to be a fib, when 17 cases of brewskis were found in the brush nearby. A song title from the Broadway musical “South Pacific” comes to mind””This Nearly Was Mine.”

From the Feb./Mar. 1976 issues of the Forest Park Review.

Twenty Years Ago

Back in the ’80s laser eye surgery was the new guy on the block. Today, more than a few people know about it. Freelance writer Debbie Preiser did a feature article on it for the Review. Boiled down, it came to an interview between Preiser, Dr. Scott Kirk of Kirk Eye Clinic in River Forest, and a concerned, typical patient.

It became “plain to see” that 74 year-old Wallace Sugden, former River Forest School Superintendent, needed to have a cataract tended to. Twenty years earlier, this news might’ve been devastating. After consulting with doctors and going through tests, Sugden was in and out of an operating room at West Suburban Hospital in 22 minutes!

A week later, a follow-up exam showed an improvement to 20/30 in the affected eye. The key word in this account was not “surgery,” but “laser surgery.” The delicate precision instrument that made it possible was a phacoemulsifier that used ultrasonic vibration to pulverize the actual firm contents of the cataract so they could be sucked through the tiniest incision in the eyeball. Sounds like an “owie,” but they say it ain’t.

There’s more, but this isn’t an AMA publication. It’s good to know that after another 20 years of fine-tuned laser advancement, in everybody’s old age it’ll be “plainer to see.”

From the Feb. 19, 1986 issue of the Forest Park Review.

Ten Years Ago

Another Forest Park historical milestone during the town’s and country’s Bicentennial year: The village’s newest cemetery (1912) was Woodlawn. Fronting Cermak Road, its most interesting feature is the plot in which 53 circus performers are buried; the result of a 1918 high speed train wreck. Granite elephants, visible from the street, mark the plot’s four corners.

Who Remembers? Green Stamps …Harry Chapin … Julius LaRosa …Slug Signorelli … slide rules … Tavern Pale beer … Merit cigarettes … Raisonettes …

Charles Siragusa … Henry Morgan … Arnold Stang … buckwheat cakes.

From the Feb. 1996 issues of the Forest Park Review.