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Forty Years Ago

Sam Calcagno died. That’s not likely to strike the memory of most of us today. However, you may recognize the name from food-price comparison articles carried by this column once in a while-prices in the ’60s vs. now.

Editor Claude Walker paid honor to his friend, citing Sam as a near-perfect example of an immigrant who worked hard for his success. “Sam knew nothing about public aid or poverty programs,” said Walker. “He did know that if a person in this country wanted to make a living-even in Depression times-he could probably do it.” With the help of his wife and older children, Sam worked up to 18 hours a day at his grocery business at 439 Desplaines Ave. It may sound like a soaper from the ’30s but Sam Calcagno was the real thing.

From the Mar. 23, 1967, Forest Park Review

Thirty Years Ago

In a special meeting the village council unanimously appointed Commissioner Santo Rizzo as successor to the late mayor Howard Mohr who died in January, 1977.

Fred Marunde, one of three other commissioners, made the motion. Rizzo was then serving on the board with Cathy Buckley and Ed Lambke. The motion was approved unanimously, and the new mayor was sworn in by then village clerk William McKenzie.

Did this town ever have a political office known as vice mayor? The answer, surprisingly, is yes. One month after the mayoral appointment of Rizzo, Comm. Marunde took on the new title, second in command to the new mayor. Village counsel Ed O’Shea noted that the move was temporary, pending another election or appointment.

Marunde pledged to do his best in the new position, while Rizzo acknowledged it was reassuring to know there was help in time of need. Marunde’s former post was temporarily phased out as a department of its own, with most of the responsibilities absorbed by commissioners Buckley and Lambke. Marunde would give up some safety and health duties in exchange for taking on the accounts and financing duties. A sign of anything to come?

From the Feb. 16 and Mar. 16, 1977, Forest Park Review

Twenty Years Ago

Last week, a pretty shabby collection of barber shop quartet song titles was assembled on these pages, courtesy of Bob Haeger. This week, as threatened, an equally suspect group from the Haeger-Sullivan song bag: “My Wife Ran Off With My Best Friend, and I Sure Miss Him” … and its cousin-one my father used to sing-“I Sent My Wife Away For a Rest-I Needed It, I Needed It” … (As you can see, the ladies get the short end again.) …”How Could Red Riding Hood Have Been So Awfully Good, and “Still Kept That Wolf From the Door?” And these old favorites-“How Can I Miss You If You Don’t Go Away?” … “Who Put the Chowder in Mrs. Murphy’s Overalls?” And that tender lament, “I Got Tears in My Ears from Lying on My Back in My Bed Cryin’ Over You.” And last as well as least, the ultimate blues title, “I Got the Blues So Bad I Been Dead Six Years.”

From the Dec. 22, 1986, Forest Park Review

Ten Years Ago

At the top of this column, a remembrance of Sam Calcagno. A month ago, the honoring of local principal, old-school gentleman and a great force in this village’s library system for 39 years-Orrin Thorson.

Now, a sincere appreciation on the tenth anniversary of her death; to Thorson’s longtime professional counterpart, Library Director Josephine Austin, who passed away Jan. 11, 1997, at 92. (He died only two weeks earlier at 94.) Doctor Frank Orland, himself a pillar of the village, said of her, “She was very congenial, and she always had a mind of her own.” He credited her with active fundraising for the two additions to the original library building. Her uniqueness extended, for as long as she could do it, to reading or at least browsing the thousands of books purchased by the library.

From the Jan. 22, 1997, Forest Park Review