Forty Years Ago

Editor Claude Walker gave some attention in his column to a small Wisconsin town that suffered greatly on Oct. 8, 1871. The town was Peshtigo and the tragedy was the Great Chicago Fire which took the lives of some 300 people here. The Wisconsin blaze killed some 2,000. Aside from more deaths, the Peshtigo conflagration was more widespread. Whereas all Chicago suburbs were spared, the fire up north affected some 25 surrounding towns, while scorching uncounted acres of choice timber. Walker said he had long felt Peshtigo’s crippling disaster should be more widely recognized.

From the Oct. 6, 1966, Forest Park Review

Thirty Years Ago

Armed robberies are commonly reported in this paper, but there’s nothing common about the fear the victim undergoes. Case in point: It’s a Monday afternoon and you, Lorraine Wick, are at Wick’s Jewelry on Madison Street. A man enters to pick up and pay for last week’s order. Before you can realize it, he unveils a sawed-off shotgun and your life is on the line. He’s mad and scared and barking out words at you-and your life may depend on obeying him. Yet you seem not quite able to understand him. The gun barrel is trained directly at you. Suddenly, you’re being hustled rudely into the back room. You’re tied with a rope by the agitated gunman. The man is increasingly nervous, and you think that you’ll die.

He leaves the room, you hear him rifle through the display cases under the counters, and you’re almost sick with fear. Finally silence. You, Lorraine Wick, manage to free yourself, and you’re shaking. A moment ago you didn’t know what the next moment would bring-deliverance, or oblivion. You hardly sleep that night and are sure you’ll never be quite the same person again.

Just another armed robbery? Not to the victim. Lorraine Wick once mentioned that several experiences like this had their effect on her decision to retire to Wisconsin a score or so years ago.

From the Oct. 20, 1976, Forest Park Review

Twenty Years Ago

“Dear Sally: I’m a bachelor of 32, and since my parents’ death a couple of years ago, have been sharing an apartment with my 26-year-old sister, likewise unmarried. We have, however intercepted some rumors now and again wherein certain people question the propriety of this set-up. What say you to this?”-Big Brother.

“Dear Big Brother: The busybodies concerned have small minds. There’s nothing in the world wrong with a brother and sister’s making a home together.”

Four diamond rings worth about $6,000 were reported missing from an apartment in the 200 block of Circle Avenue. Lord a ‘Mighty! Don’t keep big bucks or big rocks at home. Comedian Sam Kenison (the shouter) said it best in a routine on suffering Third World Saharan countries, when he screamed, “Don’t live in the sand! Get out of the sand!” If you’ve got the goods at home, remember Sam and shout to yourself, “Don’t leave it at home! Rent the nearest deposit box!”

From the October 1986 issues of the Forest Park Review

Ten Years Ago

There’s this Woody Allen jokeabout a guy trying to score with this lady: “Whadya doin’ Saturday night?” She answers, “I’m committing suicide.” “How about Friday?”

My, how lifetimes fly by. For me and my wife, Barbara, this will be our first 50 years together. After watching the movie, “Marty” together, we said to each other, Whadya wanna do tonight? She answered, “I dunno, whada you wanna do? Ever quick on the pick-up with the ladies, I replied, “Gee, I dunno. How ’bout you?” Then I suggested that maybe we bowl a couple lines. Failing to touch her esthetic sensibilities, she might have then said “Let’s get married.” What did I know? Seemed to fit in with the flow of the conversation. Besides, as any fool can plainly see from the photo, she looked pretty good. So we got engaged, married, and had two swell daughters, Jill and Cara, for which we are thankful in the extreme. My, how lifetimes fly by.

From the September/October 1996 issues of the Forest Park Review