One of my neighbors died recently.

I didn’t know the man that well and I can honestly say that what little relationship we did have was tense. It’s a difficult sentiment to express and I would never wish ill on him, but all I can think of is how the neighborhood might benefit from his death.

Mohinder Sharma and I lived on the same block and worked for the same company. He delivered newspapers for the Review for 18 years, faithfully carrying my column to the masses.

He also owned what I consider to be one of Forest Park’s biggest eyesores, the building at 1000 Beloit Ave., about half a block from where I live. Whatever tensions existed between us centered on this property.

Let me tell you what I do know of Mo, as he was more fondly known. Mo was in charge of delivering this newspaper for nearly two decades. He dropped bundles of papers at 56 outlets. He also collected money from these distributors. Sharma was sharp with money and scrupulously honest. The money he brought in matched the number of newspapers sold to the penny.

Besides delivering papers, Sharma worked security.

Beyond these scant facts, I don’t know much else about him.

Sharma lived on my street but our paths didn’t cross until I wrote about his apartment building in a previous column. I had already been walking past his building for 20 years and couldn’t get over how bad it looked. It also had the worst public sidewalk and parkway in the neighborhood.

I thought he took things too far when he had the trim painted in passive-aggressive pink.

This shocking shade matched the color of the “window treatments” in the building’s shop. As one neighbor put it, they are “Pepto Bismol pink” sheets of drywall. When I called Sharma for comment about the pinkness, he told me I shouldn’t write about the building because we worked for the same company. Shortly after my column appeared, he had the trim repainted a tasteful brown.

At the time of the pink scare, I also spoke with the mayor and police chief. The chief said they were considering installing a police substation in the shop. The mayor said he personally would spring for curtains if the pink board didn’t come down.

Time passed and the chief said they couldn’t use the shop because it had too many building code violations. But now the owner is deceased and the building will likely be sold. At a recent crime awareness meeting, village officials revived talk of buying the building and installing the police substation.

As interested as I am in seeing this property rehabbed, I would have settled for the mayor’s curtains had I known this would be the price.

John Rice

John Rice is a columnist/private detective, who has seen his business and family thrive in Forest Park. He thoroughly enjoys life in the village and still gets a thrill smelling Red Hots, watching softball...