The New Year started out badly with a phone call from Rachel Karlin telling me of the death of her much loved brother, Abraham Karlin. We old timers will no doubt have pleasant memories of Abe, his sweet nature, his desire to be helpful, always. When he was a youngster, he used to run after the garbage truck on garbage day, replacing lids from the old galvanized cans, and straightening them up. The alley looked neat and pristine after Abe cleaned up. He was friendly to everyone.

Sympathy to his father, Leonard who is now a resident at the Oak Park Arms; his sister, Judith; and brothers, David and Benjamin.

Abe’s funeral was a simple, beautiful ceremony at Waldheim. Mourners stood in the cold while the rabbi chanted the prayers of the Kaddish and we responded in Hebrew. It was a simple, honest observance of ancient ritual, an unvarnished pine box, an open grave. The coffin was lowered into the grave and mourners put a shovelful of dirt on the coffin. Death was faced as death. No sugar-coating in a warm, flower filled room with a beautiful oak casket in the center. No one referred to Abe as having “passed away” or “passed on.” Abe died and we acknowledged it. There was something peaceful and fulfilling in it.

My sympathies also to Sue Fishman, much loved waitress at Louie’s, and her son Mike McMahon, on the death of her husband.

Sympathies as well to the family and friends of Pat Corbally, former owner of the Park Lounge. Pat is the brother of Marge Griffin, also formerly of Forest Park, now living in Los Angeles. He had brothers, sisters, children, and grandchildren. Pat lived a long, full life.

Sympathy to Sandi Hernandez, teller at the drive-through window at the Forest Park National Bank. Sandi’s brother died last week.

Mary Eriksen and a few of her fellow hiking friends, spent the eve of New Year’s at the Brookfield Zoo, being amazed and wonder-struck at the beauty of the lights amid the snowy wonderland. It even began to snow big, thick flakes as the ladies walked the zoo paths. They went to dinner at a restaurant called Nino’s where their waitress, Anna Pantano was formerly a waitress at The Pines. She sent her love to her many friends in Forest Park.

The Waldron boys were in for the holidays. Now 21 years old, Pfc. Lucas Waldron of the U.S. Marines, will be reporting for duty in San Diego, Calif., and from there to Okinawa. Brother Ben will be attending Concordia University in Austin, Texas.

Next week I’ll give you some information about a walking group that meets in Constitution Court a few evenings a week.

Sorry for getting the birthdays mixed up again last week, so this week I’ll do last week’s. Time just rushes on faster and faster so there’s no need for me to make it go even faster.

January 8, Kathy Leninger, Tina Marcantonio, Charlie Vederal; the 9th, Danielle Riske, Phil Bohnert, Brianna Dodge; Jan. 10, Tyler Daniel, Kirsten Bjornson, Mary Gallela; the 11th, Vicotria Burdett; Jan. 12, Nancy Blum, Ryan Farrell, Ellen Krupa; Jan. 13, Jacqui and John Gillian, Sue Bracker, Erika and Sean Goodman, Martha Lichtenberg, Timothy X. Lane; Jan. 14, Rajiv Hirandandi, Mary Virginia Sedlack, Michael Blornson; Jan. 15, Holly Ann Fjeldstad, Colleen Nee.

As they say in Albania, ah-choo.