‘The end of an era” has become a cliché; so many treasures of the past are no more. But the closing of Quitsch Florist really is the end of an era for this family shop, and is a treasure that will surely be missed.

Dixie is the third generation in the business. As her father, the late Roy Quitsch once said, “We’re not in business to make money; we’re in business to make friends.” And make friends, they did. If that sounds insincere, even corny to you, it’s because you didn’t know Roy or his lovable, generous wife, Avalee. Avalee was simple in her interests, friends, dress and manner, but not simple in her brains.

The closing of Quitsch’s is like a death in the family. Like the late Homer Bale and Homer’s restaurant, Richard’s tavern – now a sports bar – Albright’s and Zambonie’s. We can’t forget Ben Franklin, which brought shoppers here from miles around. Goodbye to Dixie, Nedra and their flower shop. It was always a good place to stop by for a visit with friends.

One Forest Parker who remembers all the old names, shops, and restaurants in Forest Park is 90-year-old Dorothy Hatch, still the best-looking, best dressed girl in town. Neighbors Janet Paulin and Nancy Bower held a lawn party last Wednesday, July 16 for Dorothy’s 90th birthday. Dorothy’s brother, John Buehler, and his wife Arlene came in from Western Springs to help celebrate with the neighbors, friends and relatives. Dorothy’s neighbor’s cat, Mr. Kitty, watched from above. The secret to Dorothy’s amazing wardrobe is yet another long-gone treasure, Madelyn’s. Remember that dress shop on Desplaines Avenue?

One of the friendliest blocks in town is the 600 block of Beloit Avenue. At the annual block party this year they celebrated the 27th birthday of Gloria Elvarado, her “dyslexic” son gave away Gloria’s age. As usual Cliff Leber’s fresh caught walleye, catfish and salmon were gone first, followed by Bean Queen May Bill‘s beans.

Congratulations to “Battle of the Bands” winner Di Zastro, who made the national finals and is off to Germany for an international competition Aug. 6. For more information on this group, visit dizastro.com.

A fundraising event to help pay medical bills for Mike Behren will be hosted Aug. 9 at O’Sullivan’s on Madison Street beginning at 9 p.m. Behren, too young for such a disease, is battling cancer.

On July 24 it’s happy birthday to Jenny Okolowicz, Elfie Pett, Sharon Good, Kathy Thiesse, and happy anniversary to Geoff Ashmun and Lorien Menhennett; on July 25, Kevin Thompson, Stephanie Mondragon, Richard Lulipani, Eleanor Konkowski; the 26th, Cathy Collins, Claudia Mandile; 27th, Eric Hartley Neubeiser, Joan Bigos, Lauri Falbo, Emmie Grandos; July 28, Brett McNeil; 29th, Hope Simon, Brent Marler, Debbie Wall, Heather Byrnes; on the 30th, Dan Venske, Cecilia Rossi.

Jackie is a former Chicago and Elmwood Park schoolteacher with an undying love for music, friendly pets and a host of life’s other treasures too numerous to list. She was born on the far southwest side of Chicago in a great neighborhood when it was a great time to be young.