Forty Years Ago
Advanced seniors may remember Monsignor John Wagener of St. Bernardine. He was a small, soft-spoken man of the cloth, almost cut from the cloth of Hollywood casting. Barry Fitzgerald might come to mind. Serving Forest Park Catholics since the Depression years, the old man”along with the faithful”was saying good-bye to assistant priests Rev. Edmund Schreiber and Thomas Swade who were being transferred to a parish in Arlington Heights and Chicago’s Holy Angels, respectively. Replacing them were Fathers Joseph LaVoy and Joseph Corrigan. Two-thousand members and friends joined in a reception honoring all three.

Thirty Years Ago

Eccentrics can be fun, even lovable, if for no other reason than that they put some welcome top-spin on the day. Fred Magel of River Forest was eccentric enough to eat his way into the Guinness Book of World Records. (Most times dining out.) Forest Park eateries were never ruled out. That went for McDonald’s on Desplaines near Madison, where he had just put away a filet of fish sandwich.

Steve Olderr apparently had a different take on egocentric Magel. At a time when talk was touchy about a new library here, Magel had stopped by the old place and voiced a few unasked-for opinions on the matter in a subsequent interview regarding his prowess for eating. A Review columnist and director of the Riverside Library, Olderr was more than miffed at Magel’s supposed disregard for Forest Park’s planned library services. (I do not recall the specific issue.) Olderr used his column to chide “this outsider” for his dubious achievement amid third world famine and much hunger in this country. The Magel-Guinness record? Forty-something thousand meals.

Twenty Years Ago

What better time to go back to a 1986 article headlined, “Survey of gasoline stations reveals where buys are.” The lowest price per gallon in town (80.9 cents) was at the recently-closed Lee’s Mobil, Desplaines and Madison. That was a cash transaction.

Back then, when plastic money was still relatively new, the cost with a credit card was 81.9 cents for unleaded at Go-Mart, 949 Harlem. If you wanted full service, you paid for it at Refiner’s Pride on Randolph”(95.5 cents).

From the Apr./Jun. 1986 issues of the Forest Park Review

Ten Years Ago

A night unlike any other night. The 83 year-old woman living with a caretaker lived in the 1400 block of Elgin Ave. At about 1:30 a.m. she woke to the frightening realization that a prowler was in her home. Hearing her backdoor banging, she walked from her room only to confront a man rushing toward her. Sitting on her, he pulled a knit cap over her face while binding her hands and feet with duct tape. A second intruder similarly subdued the 55 year-old nurse. After searching and asking repeatedly where the money was, the men left empty-handed, evidently seeking only cash. A similar break-in occurred in Holcomb, Nebraska in 1959. See Capote’s “In Cold Blood” for details.

Who Remembers? Sister Kenney … Brother Rice … Mother Jones … Father Time … Gary “Far Side” Larson … Bob Edwards … Roy Clark … Phoebe Snow … Chan … Dan Q. Posin …Jack Oakie … professional criers … the Hoosier Hot Shots.

From the May 22, 1996 issue of the Forest Park Review