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Congratulations to all the merchants who participated in the Holiday Walk festivities. Many of the window displays were charming, breathtaking and original. When I got as far as Centuries and Sleuths, however, I became mesmerized by what was going on inside. Here’s what was happening.

The SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) was performing music from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance A cappella. This group is a non-profit, educational organization dedicated to the study of the history, culture and arts of those periods. Their voices were haunting and beautiful. I noticed a few very small children in the store who also became mesmerized when the singing began. These little tots stood motionless, gaping, wide-eyed through the entire program. The singers wore authentic costumes of the period, including hats, shoes and accessories. An added bonus to the evening was a monk sitting at a table selling indulgences. He said he was Augustine of Hippo, but I didn’t believe him. That guy died years ago. Almost 2,000 years ago, actually. But it’s nice to have some time cut off your stay in purgatory. I got 100 years off!

If you are interested in knowing more about this organization, (the SCA, not purgatory), contact the Chatelaine at otterbourne

Many years ago, when I was young, it was said that if a person stood at the corner of State and Madison streets in downtown Chicago, he/she would eventually see everyone they knew. I think that corner has moved about 10 miles west, and the new meeting place for all of humanity is The Old School Record Store at Madison and Beloit. Everyone goes into that store for just about everything that has ever been recorded. They carry 78s, 45s, LPs, videos, CDs and tapes of everyone from Shirley Temple to whatever noisy group is filling our heads with sound these days. If you can’t find it they will order it for you-whatever it is you want. And all at a very reduced price.

There’s also a very friendly and playful dog on the premises. (If you’re afraid of dogs, he will retreat to the rear until you leave, with no hard feelings). The dog’s people who sell all this stuff are Pete and Jody Gianakopoulos.

If you’re afraid of giving lead laden toys to the youngsters on your list, one sure way to avoid lead poisoning is to give a book. The Magic Tree on Oak Park Avenue, just south of Winberies, has a delightful array of books and other materials sure to elicit squeals from anyone. They always have a suggested list, but I think the old classics are the best, but there are always exceptions.

On Dec. 14, happy birthday wishes to 6-year-old Steven T. Rozmus; on the 15th, Peyton Brown, Harry Holmberg; Dec. 17, Dan Barron, Adam Ritter; on the 18th, Sue Stanton, Bill Hopp; Dec. 20, Amanda Rychtanek, Tim Flanagan, Irene O’Shea and 10-year-old Madeline Garlisch. Thanks for your time.