St. John School, now Walther Lutheran Academy at Forest Park, held its annual opening-of-school potluck dinner last week. Here is first grader, Ariana Jefferson, about to sink her teeth into a slice of pizza. The kids, parents, teachers and principal had a fine time socializing and getting to know one another as they started off a new school year.

Forest Park bid another sad farewell to a much loved friend last Saturday: Gerhardt Becker, musician and active member of St. John’s Lutheran Church for most of his adult life, until his retirement several years ago.  Old-timers will remember seeing Mr. Becker and his wife riding their bikes all over town, smiling and waving to passersby. He left many friends and many good memories. Sympathy to his family.

Congratulations and best wishes to newlyweds Veronica Martinez and Bill Gerst, who were married at St .Vincent Ferrer Church in River Forest on the lucky day Aug. 8.  A reception at the Riverside Golf Club followed the ceremony.  Mr. & Mrs.Gerst will be living in Forest Park.

Citizens United in Forest Park will hold its annual rummage sale at First United Church of Christ, 1000 Elgin, on  Saturday, Oct. 4, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. If you have items you would like to donate, call 771-2478 for information.  Just about anything in fair to good condition will be accepted.  Money earned from the sale will go toward expenses of the committee, which promotes greater awareness of local governments.  All Forest Parkers are welcome, and encouraged, to join. Members can vote. Elected officials may join, but not vote. Everyone-members, nonmembers and elected officials-can take part in the rummage sale.

Barbara Crawford is ecstatic!  She has her first grandchild: a handsome boy, Connor Robert Wahl, born July 15, 2008, and weighing 9 pounds, 8 ounces.  Connor’s parents are Katie (Crawford) and Brad Wahl of Forest Park. His other grandparents are Bob and Melinda Wahl of Indianapolis.  First-time aunt and uncle are Kelly and Bob Crawford.

Sympathy to the many friends of Bob Tagliola, who died last week.  Bob was well loved in town.  I especially remember Ruth Owens, when I think of Bob.  He would drop in to Babe’s III on Madison Street, when Ruth had the store, and they enjoyed many laughs together. Bob Tagliola left many mourners. 

On Sunday, my arm was twisted by a new colleague at the Review, managing editor Helen Karakoudas, into attending the food and fashion show on Madison Street. We started out at Flavour Cooking School, sampling vegetable soup and chocolate martinis. Then it was on to M. Santana and Afkara Shoes, where shopowner Myrza Santana taught us all about layering for the fall. “Imagine that,” I said to Helen. “I’m wearing this in layers.” Yes, I found a colorful necklace that benefits children in Uganda. Helen found a cowl-neck top, self-layered, in a wonderful green. “Me yeia,” Helen told me. One Greek phrase I didn’t know: “Wear it in gold health.” Indeed.

These mornings are getting darker and the afternoons getting shorter.  September birthdays this week are Diane Huebner and Betty Huebner on Sept. 11, as well as Marion Flight on Sept. 11. Happy anniversary to Dave and Carol Novak on Sept. 11. On Sept. 12, happy birthday to Mable Walsh, Max Rus, Celeste Cosgrove and Claire Finnegan. On Sept. 13, happy birthday to Brian Foley and Adam Goetz and happy anniversary to Irene and Ed O’Shea. Happy birthday to Alyssa Neff on Sept. 14, to Jodi Giankapoulis, Alexandra Bafett, Nick Spanvello on Sept. 15; to Lucy Gianelli and Debbie Doss-Morris on Sept. 16, and to Laura McDermott and Hunter VanZant on Sept. 17.
Thanks for taking your time.

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.