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Forty Years Ago

“Yah, We Is Der Schwingingest Town!” Since running boards and rumble seats, Forest Park had celebrated big on the annual weekend of brats, schlog, entertainment and beer, known as Oktoberfest. Every mid-September, from 9 to 9 Friday and Saturday, on Madison Street, the village would host a splashy sidewalk sale. Plus an arts and flowers show, carnival rides and a colorful parade on Sunday. There’d be beer and a beer garden, and from 8 p.m. ’til about midnight, one band would rock while the other would oom-pah.

The original Oktoberfest began as a carnival in Munich, Germany in 1810. Because our village had so many people of German ancestry, the celebration was festive, merry and “semi-authentic.” But why something called Oktoberfest was held in September is still a village secret.

From the Sept. 14, 1967, Forest Park Review

Thirty Years Ago

It is said that the ingenious comedian-conman W.C. Fields found a way to defeat the humbling and unforgiving game of golf. He had his back yard sculpted in the form of a funnel. Then he and his friends would enjoy whole afternoons of sipping martinis and sinking putt after putt.

The same basic principle was put to work for several Octobers here, when the Park District stocked the pool with trout and rented rods and reels to residents for a nominal fee. It was a popular pastime for several Indian summers. This wonderful idea is no longer practiced. Martini sipping is.

This brings to mind Haeger, who once (maybe twice) said, “Health-consciousness is fine, and I’m all for yogurt, tofu, wheat germ, fish oil and all those other healthy, nutritional things–but please, not while I’m eating.”

From the Sept. 28, 1977, Forest Park Review

Twenty Years Ago

A very bad fatal accident took place on a Saturday night when a 17-year-old Forest Park driver lost control and swerved across all four lanes of Desplaines Avenue. Vernon Hubbard was driving north, approaching the Eisenhower underpass before Harrison Street. The automobile, carrying two other teenagers, jumped a curb, tore through a chain link fence and slammed into a 3-foot high retaining wall, which split the car in two. Both halves tumbled down a 20-foot hill onto the eastbound traffic of the Eisenhower.

A 23-year-old driver below, Suhail Rayyahim, had no time to react as both halves struck his car, bringing it to a halt under Desplaines Avenue. A second car following Rayyahim’s, carrying three passengers and trying to avoid debris, careened across the expressway and impacted the median wall.

Roberta Krivanek, 16, of Berwyn, one of two passengers in Hubbard’s car, was pronounced dead at the scene. Of the seven persons injured, only two were hurt seriously enough to warrant more than overnight treatment. Ironically, the driver of the car that split in half, Hubbard, was admitted to Loyola Hospital in good condition and released the next afternoon.

From the June 24, 1987, Forest Park Review

Ten Years Ago

“We had trouble, big trouble, right here in River City-.” Oops, at the north end of town on Washington Street. Ten years ago this unstable area between Desplaines and Elgin avenues was experiencing “growing pains,”-a by-product of overcrowding and an expected influx of people, mostly desirable, some not.

Most of the problems were caused by small groups, 15 and 16 year olds, some drinking beer, nearly all making noise and most, by a huge percentage, from out of town. Others, loitering aimlessly or gathering in parking lots were faces seen before and told to leave.

In 1997, it was a bad to not-so-bad situation; today, it’s good, but could be better. People like Connie Robey and law enforcement officers like Lt. Joe Byrnes served as lightning rods to root out apathy and stir action. Neighborhood Watch made a big difference, and still does. And now (in 2007) the retired Byrnes is back on the beat. Joe can’t do it single-handedly but having him work with Neighborhood Watch is both a good omen and a smart move.

From the June 30, 1997, Forest Park Review