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Forty Years Ago

Editor Claude A. Walker’s “Personal Observations” column got front page placement in the Aug. 3, 1967, issue. It concerned a “racial issue” affecting our village.

It was summer and tempers were hot. Police Chief John Tobin got “the word from an authoritative source” that a march through Forest Park and neighboring suburbs was being planned by members of the “Negro race.” There were rumors and fears that firearms might be displayed or used. Leaves were canceled, and 50 auxiliary policemen were activated. No right thinking person would argue against preventive and protective measures. Still, Walker’s column contained some outright sloppy thinking–or at least, questionable choices of words.

It’s easy to quote or choose out-of-context words that favor the arguer. Because of space limitations, Walker’s column couldn’t be reprinted in full. An unbiased selection of his comments is commented upon here:

“We did not create the problem.” (That is, the march.) White opportunists created the problem when they kidnapped innocent, free people from Senegal and the Ivory Coast, then sold them as slaves even before the Jamestown Settlement in 1607.

Walker expressed concern for the protection of the people, their rights and their property. Lost was the fact that the most private of all properties were people themselves-among countless others, those uprooted from their African homeland and families 400 years ago.

“Up until now, everything was as it should be.” (That is, we’ve never had a protest march before.)

“…a circumstance over which we had no control.” (The threat of the march.) Think 1607, Senegal, the Ivory Coast and the victims’ control.)

From the Aug. 3, 1967, Forest Park Review

Thirty Years Ago

News about Mike Todd’s grave robbery had slowed to a trickle, and Cook County State’s Attorney Bernard Carey called a halt to the investigation–yet not without an argument from Forest Park police Sgt. Richard Archambault. The vocal, controversial and highly visible policeman had been on the case from its beginning.

“We just can’t get the cooperation we need,” said Archambault. Police claimed they had a prime suspect that looked more and more like he engineered the crime. The charred remains of Todd, a flamboyant international showman killed in a March, 1958 plane crash, had been taken from his grave. One theory was that the robber(s) were betting that valuable jewelry might have been placed in the rubber body bag. The remains were found, replaced, and the violated grave restored. No jewelry.

From the Sept. 28, 1977, Forest Park Review

Twenty Years Ago

Did I let a column go by last week without mentioning Bob Haeger? Seems he hated spring, especially with everybody fixing, painting and hammering. The whole neighborhood, it seemed, conspired to make him look and feel bad. So his wife gave him a choice–either put up the screens or take down the Christmas tree. He went for the former, commenting “These screens did a good job. Not a single mosquito got out all summer.”

Welcome to the neighborhood. Forest Park Jewelers had only recently opened under new management when a tall, dapper bespectacled man brought in some jewelry for cleaning. He waited in front while the clerk worked in back. When the customer left, the clerk saw that two trays of jewelry had been emptied. The owner was taking inventory with losses expected to run into the thousands of dollars.

From the June 10, 1987, Forest Park Review

Ten Years ago

“To Serve and Protect.” That’s the motto of our police force. Officer Harold Grimes and fire Lt. Steve Glinke arrived soon after the 911 call. A man was sitting on the CSX Wisconsin R.R. line that overpasses Desplaines Avenue, just south of Jackson Boulevard.

They approached him from either side, the plan being for Grimes to talk to the fellow until Glinke could get close enough to pull him from the edge. A freight trundled by to complicate things. When it was gone Officer Grimes and the troubled man talked for about 20 minutes. Finally relenting, he let his rescuers lead him down to safety.

From the July 16, 1997, Forest Park Review