Forty Years Ago

A memorial service to some fallen buddies in Vietnam was initiated by Bob Tagliola here. Tagliola, a lifelong Forest Park native, served four months in ‘Nam when he was granted leave to attend the funeral of a relative. This occurred relatively early in the war. On his return he learned that a number of his company had been killed or wounded in battle. He wrote to Father Joseph LeVoy of St. Bernardine Church requesting a funeral Mass for the dead; out of respect for his lost buddies, and to offer thanks that he had been spared. Request carried out with heartfelt emotion.

From the Oct./Nov. 1966 issues of the Forest Park Review

Thirty Years Ago

Before there was a Circle Theater, a great American play was performed on the Proviso High School stage late in l976. Brian Fippinger of Forest Park, played a lead role — that of stage manager-narrator – in Thornton Wilder’s 1938 classic Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, “Our Town.” Ostensibly, the play depicts everyday life in the fictional town of Grovers Corners, N.H. In truth, it deals masterfully with things eternal and simple that seemingly passes through us during something called the quotidian.

Go away alone somewhere with the book and slowly and thoughtfully fall into the story as it unfolds. If you don’t care to read all three acts (they’re brief) then read Act III. Let it happen to you. It’s a small education, and its background is time itself, passing. Read it. Then see it.

From the Nov. 10, 1976, Forest Park Review

Twenty Years Ago

“Guess who I ran into at Dunkin’ Donuts?” could’ve asked the cabdriver. After downing a donut and cup of coffee at 11:30 on a Monday morning, a customer got into his car, put it in reverse and rammed a taxi carrying two persons. The cabbie then veered into the store window showering glass and sundry debris onto counters, into coffee cups and over customers. Meanwhile, out in the parking lot, the instigator threw it into reverse again, this time slamming it into a telephone pole. A man in the cab and a woman in the store were treated at the hospital. Time to call “Board Up.”

From the Nov. 5, 1986, Forest Park Review

Ten Years Ago

Am reading the start of a Bill Lichtenberg column (Oct. 23, 1996) and have concluded that he may be the most honest of all who pass ourselves off as local columnists. (Apologies to John Rice, Jackie Schulz and Jim Murray.) Here are his first two or three paragraphs:

“It’s fair to say I don’t understand all aspects of why things are the way they are. I am, by necessity, just a casual observer in most of the various processes. [Aren’t we all?] I’m fluent in the basics: walking, talking, eating, sleeping and asking questions. In addition, I can operate a motor vehicle, handle an ATM transaction, order food at the drive-thru, dial a telephone, manipulate a computer and have at least a million other simple talents that qualify me as average. [Sounds like Everyman speaking.]

“Being average, I like to think I’m resourceful and self-reliant. When encountering an unknown or a breakdown I take a shot at figuring out what’s wrong and how to right it — using my common sense, reading ability, prior experience and past mistakes as a guide. In most encounters, this system serves me well. When it fails, I ask for help from an expert.” After all, they’re professionals, and I’m paying them.

Lichtenberg goes on to make his point: that he, like all of us to whatever degree, must rely on others, no matter how self-reliant we think we are. We are all interdependent, not independent. He closed this column with a “Thanks” to an anonymous “John” and an apology for very likely under-appreciating John and his service, whatever it may have been. Bill, presumably, had to go in search of yet someone else to help him handle life’s innumerable necessities.

From the Oct. 23, 1996, Forest Park Review