As if John Trage didn’t have enough sorrow to bear, a window of Trage’s store was smashed the day of his wife’s funeral. Some really mean spirited sociopath, no doubt. They do walk among us, fortunately they are rare.

Once in a while, things do turn out right. Orla Genens‘ 90th birthday celebration was one such occasion. Granddaughter Debbie Vestal Guracio, a Forest Parker for several years after her marriage to Tracie Guracio, sent word out across the land to Orla’s daughter, Sharon Vestal, her son Douglas Genens, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. By a miracle, just about all of Genens’ clan was able to get to the reunion. Ninety years is a long time to live and those years have been filled with joys, sorrows, disappointments, fulfillment and just about every kind of human emotion possible. But sadly, Orla Genens died March 10.

Orla Foster’s life began in Troy Grove where her father was the stationmaster. She and her sisters and brothers had to run about 100 yards down the train tracks every day to bring their father his lunch. She got a job in Lake Geneva, Wis., when she was a young woman and met her future husband, Don Genens. Don joined the Navy at the start of WWII, after the war he and Orla bought a house in Forest Park. She worked as a waitress in the old Homer’s Restaurant, was active in Saint John Lutheran Church, the Ruth Guild, scouts, PTA.

Daughter, Sharon, was a classmate of many Forest Parkers who may remember the tall, beautifully dressed young woman. Lynn Fippinger, Sharon Schubert and Connie Mango are classmates of Sharon whose names come to mind.

Doug Genens, Orla’s son, was a friend of resident Eric Hollander, former resident Steve Schuster and Don Dimitry, son of former mayor Lorraine Popelka.

Sharon met the love of her life, Roy Vestal, while a senior at Proviso East and planned to elope! Orla, a good church-going woman, got wind of it and insisted they be married by Pastor Paul (old timers will remember him). Nobody thought the marriage would last. They’ll celebrate their 50th anniversary next year.

Bridget Garlisch‘s friends and neighbors planned a surprise for Bridget’s March 7 birthday. Bridget and Cathy Trage had been life-long friends and Cathy’s death has dealt a real blow. So John and Marie Spence opened their house to about 50 of Bridget’s best friends to cheer her up a bit.

It’s almost that time of year again – the Kiwanis/Chef Gaetano dinner at the Community Center. This year an added bonus will be dessert, compliments of The Brown Cow. This dinner just gets better and better all the time. The date is April 26; price for regular admission is $8; seniors $5.

The Community Center will be showing a movie March 13 at 1 p.m. and popcorn is included. March 27 brings senior bingo and lunch at the center. The AARP’s free income tax service, by appointment, will be on Tuesdays through April 15. Transportation is available to Forest Park residents. For more information call 771-7737.

Also at the Community Center, on April 1 at 1 p.m. a seminar on Alzheimer’s disease will be led by Shivanee Shah, of Loyola Medical Center.

For musically inclined high school seniors, the Ruth Wilkins Tyler McDowell scholarship competition will be held April 13. Contact Elena Rico at or call 409-0922 for more information.

March 12 happy birthday to Connor Grimes, Davion Barr; 13th, Terry Meffley and anniversary greetings to Fritz and Susanne Kloess; March 14, Geri Leninger, Ted Fox, Tim Pingel; 15th, (beware the ides of March) anniversary time to Lou and Bev Thompson, Isabel and Bob Fox and birthday time for Coralee Johnson and Ethan Flanagan; on the 16th, Jessica Conrad, Vandria Stevens, Kathleen Pacudan; March 17, Saint Patrick’s Day and a happy birthday to John Costello, Matt Lyons, Morgan Rae Vobornik, Sarah Buzanski; March 18, Ken Jasper, Dino Panzani, Kevin Sasatterwaite, Katie Miller; March 19, Geoff Flight, Ed Huebner, Tara Cassiani, Dan Gallina, Joe Gianelli, Steve Urban, Christil Freeman.