Forty Years Ago

Portrait of a future president. Editor Claude Walker’s May 30, 1968, column referred to California governor Ronald Reagan, keynote speaker at a Republican dinner in Richard Nixon’s comeback run (after Kennedy). Reagan would be president 12 years later. After attending that Chicago fundraiser, Walker extolled the charm, charisma, poise and likeability of the former actor as many Democrats wax over Barack Obama today. The man (Reagan) oozed personality and dripped with sincerity, said Walker. Like it or not, personality traits will always have a place in who is elected. If we’re honest, we suspect this. If we’re intelligent, we’ll dismiss it, call on our objectivity and vote our best conscience.

From the May 30, 1968, Forest Park Review

Thirty Years Ago

How timely can you get? Or how gullible? The headline in the May 3, 1978, Review reads, “Car Crosses U.S. on One Tank of Gas.” Using a manmade motor oil to increase gas mileage, a Lynchburg, Va., driving team crossed the country on a single tank of gasoline to claim a new Guinness world record. The drivers installed a special 62-gallon tank in their five-speed stick shift Toyota Corolla. Using a 100 percent synthetic-based motor oil instead of conventionally refined lubricants, they also substituted an air scoop for the engine cooling fan to save power and readjusted the front alignment for less drag.

The team began its 2,754-mile trip to Riverside, Calif., averaging 54.1 mpg, their most efficient speed being 55 mph. (Wonder if they traveled ol’ 66?)

From the May 3, 1978, Forest Park Review

Twenty Years Ago

You get your “spiritual advisors” where you can find them, and for Bob Crawford it was in Forest Park. Here’s a letter to the editor from him:

“I was transferred to the Forest Park office by my east coast employer 20 years ago and didn’t know a soul in Chicago. I was put in touch with [local restaurateur] Homer Bale, who helped me find an apartment here, then invited me to his home for dinner. Before long, I felt like a community member. I met my wife, Barbara here 17 years ago, and we’re raising three great children. I’m a proud member of the Kiwanis Club and am now running for my second term on the village’s park board.

From the May 11, 1988, Forest Park Review

Ten Years Ago

This is not your average man of the cloth. He’s not even your average man. He was, however, the subject of a Pastor Tom Holmes feature in the Review 10 years back; hence this sketch of Rev. Charles E. Cairo. You’ve seen him, perhaps, at ecumenical gatherings over the holidays, as a guest homilist or public speaker-counselor at one or another area churches, organizations or support groups. He wore all three hats.

Born in near squalor in the Little Italy section of Chicago, he took his master’s and doctors degrees at the Evangelical Free Baptist College in Lombard. He was fully bearded, liberally tattooed and almost always arrayed in Mephistophelean black. Standing 5-feet 6-inches short and punishing the Toledos at 250 beefy pounds, Cairo may have been put together by a compactor. He made some wrong turns early on, (don’t we all?). When young, he felt like a loner seeking acceptance. He joined the Air Force during the Vietnam War, served well and expecting some respect, received scorn. He drank, took drugs, got into fights. Lots of struggles.

One day in a church in Sycamore, Ill., the congregation was urged by the clergyman to really believe that the communion they were to receive was truly the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Taking it as a challenge, he received the host, looked out the window and saw a leaf, a tree and a bird. Then, he said, he heard a voice saying, “I’m here.” He found new direction, earned his degrees and is a Bishop in the Fire Escape Ministry within the Evangelical Free Baptist Church. He serves God by serving drunks, cons, ex-cons, pushers, pimps, prostitutes and plain people.

Not your average person of the cloth.

From the April 1, 1998, Forest Park Review

Bob wasn’t so much born, as harvested, in a dirt lot in Yonkers, N.Y., in 1932. His family encouraged him to join the Air Force (ours) during the Korean War. There, he fell into the clutches of Barbara Miles. They still have two world-class daughters, Jill and Cara. “Each of the four of us likes the other three of us,” says Bob.