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Forty Years Ago

Take two or more capsules of history before bedtime and don’t bother to get up. Ye Olde Archconservative Editor Claude Walker commented on the newsy, noisy, often noisome world of 1968. Some call it the nadir of our nation. Four years before, LBJ’s Gulf of Tonkin Resolution virtually embroiled us in Vietnam, setting our course for disaster. In January 1967, astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee burned during a Cape Kennedy launch drill. Cities, including Chicago, also burned during the rioting that followed the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King on April 4, 1968.

Before that, LBJ made the bombshell announcement that he would not run for another term. The suddenness of his declaration left the Democratic Party in just enough disarray for R.M. Nixon to enter the White House. Meantime, getting back to the minister’s assassination, Claude Walker criticized the media for over-coverage of the shooting, making what seemed like a few token overtures of sympathy toward his death and summing up with “such screaming you never heard.” He then castigated the media for its over-emotionalized news value of the killing of King to the point of likening President Johnson’s refusal to run to that of a “lawn ice cream social.”

Two months later Bobby Kennedy was shot to death, and the upward curve of American deaths in Vietnam was to exceed 58,000. Thousands of young people led by “hippies” revolted that August, most visibly and vocally outside Chicago’s Conrad Hilton at Balbo and Michigan during the Democratic Convention. “Such screaming you never heard” that evening, too, with the battering and blood …such screaming at the motel in Memphis and the riots that followed … such screaming in the kitchen of the Los Angeles hotel that Bobby Kennedy was using as a shortcut … such screaming from the capsule at the Florida launching pad, too.

To paraphrase: It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times.

From the April 18, 1968, Forest Park Review

Thirty Years Ago

Tornado-wise, we’re overdue. In March of ’79 the Red Cross ran a pro-bono ad in the Review. The winds still come. The words still apply:

Tornado Watch-Conditions are ripe. Stay tuned for weather reports.

Tornado Warning-This is it! A tornado has been sighted!

Seek Shelter-Preferably in your basement, in the S.W. corner, a safety haven where most bricks, glass and flying debris will pass overhead. Got a heavy table to huddle under? Huddle under it. No basement? Get under some heavy furniture in the central part of the house and hunker down. Open windows on N.E. part of house-equalize pressure.

Outside when it hits-Lie low in the nearest gully.

Outside in a car when it hit -Drive at right angles to the funnel cloud. If it’s 15 feet away and rotating toward you, get out of the car and hunker down with the guy in the next gully.

At work when it hits-Follow their procedures or get a fast leave of absence. Tell everybody to have a nice day.

From the March 29, 1978, Forest Park Review

Twenty Years Ago

For 18 years Father John Fearon of St. Bernardine spread his charm with a joie de vivre. He delivered thought-provoking homilies while on duty and delighted in telling stories with the cassock off. His assistant, Father Darrio Boscutti, aka the “little honcho,” was dubbed by himself, the “Big Honcho.” Father John died in February 1997. He served us well and made us happy.

From the April 20, 1988, Forest Park Review

Ten Years Ago

In a column from March 1998 Bill Lichtenberg asked how many security cameras it took to monitor Proviso East and West high schools. Five hundred and forty at a cost of $2.1 million. He questioned this purchase, then went on to several other issues involving District 209 – ongoing occurrences almost since the schools were built. Over time, taxpayers developed a negative reaction to the schools. Warranted or not, private schools became an option.

From the March 25, 1998, Forest Park Review