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Forty Years Ago

We all know that language changes, and what’s politically correct this year might not fit next year’s fashions. I don’t know that the term in question was ever correct. In 1967 Editor Claude A. Walker’s “Personal Observations” column opened with “The disturbances at Proviso East and the near riot in the Maywood Negro colony gives us an opportunity to evaluate what we can learn from such occurrences.” Lack of space prevents the reprinting of Walker’s entire column on racially-charged disturbances, which seemed over-reported and under-investigated by the metropolitan dailies.

And with the Forest Park Review using such quaint and questionable terms as “Negro colony,” How tribal could language in the western suburbs get? What mentality was at work? Would a disturbance-racial or otherwise-in pristine white communities like Barrington, Kenilworth or even Oak Park in the ’50s merit such a noun? Watch your language. Wars are caused by misused words.

From the Oct. 5, 1967, Forest Park Review

Thirty Years Ago

Flipping through a 1977 issue and being stopped by a picture of Mickey Rooney made me think how familiar his face has been. It’s been seen publicly since the 1930s, before he made juvenile appearances with young Judy Garland, when the two “belonged” to MGM, and did their tutorial schoolwork in the mornings while appearing on set in the afternoons.

The photo of “The Mick” shows Carol Hatton (left) of Forest Park and another member of the West Suburban Business and Professional Women’s Club before a Drury Lane production of “Hide and Seek” in Evergreen Park.

Personally, I’ve always liked Mickey Rooney, from “Requiem for a Heavyweight” to “Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.” I prided myself on knowing his real name (Joe Yule Jr.) His father was a Vaudeville comic, and his mother, Nell Carter, was also a performer. Mickey Rooney was born in Brooklyn, Sept. 23, 1920. On stage, as well as in life, he was always the little guy, the feisty, spirited, underdog with staying power, hence everybody’s favorite. He had to be scrappy, and he was. Married eight times, he couldn’t be perfect, yet his first wife, screen star Ava Gardner, was considered one of the most beautiful women to come out of Hollywood.

I’ve heard that he could be a real pain during an interview, and a colleague at the Review who saw him in the Drury Lane production remembers him turning out less than an average performance.

From the Sept. 28, 1977, Forest Park Review

Twenty Years Ago

Police officer Michael Luisi prevented the theft of a Melrose Park man’s Buick Park Avenue car, and arrested the thieves, who later appeared in court. While driving behind the Forest Park Mall, Luisi spotted two men driving away in a car whose rear vent window was broken. As he approached the car the men abandoned it, fleeing the mall in a blue Cadillac parked nearby. The car was stopped a short distance from the mall by the security force, and the occupants were identified by the officer.

From the July 15, 1987, Forest Park Review

Ten Years Ago

Life in the real world out there. More and more, it seems to be getting more than you can imagine–and then some. A CTA employee at the Desplaines Avenue terminal called police to report a man who threatened him with a knife on the platform. Nothing unusual, right? Wrong! It seems it’s becoming all too usual. Yet when it’s you who face the knife in real time and don’t know what the next second will bring; when it’s all about your life, and when your tormenter suddenly looks scared and uncertain you know you’re pretty much in his hands. And you start shaking, too. (No time for Karl Malden to ask, “What do you do? What do you do?”) If you’re plainly going down the tubes, out of options and alternatives, in extremis and death looks imminent, punch the blaze of glory button, break the Guinness record for human struggling and emerge victorious! Or … if you can, do what the CTA employee did. Dial 911.

From the Sept. 10, 1997, Forest Park Review