Congratulations to the Proviso Math and Science Academy for having one of the best Prairie State Achievement Exam scores in the state! This magnet school is part of District 209 and is located on Roosevelt Road in Forest Park. According to a Chicago Tribune analysis, the academy was among the top 50 schools. You may have heard negative comments about the place, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Welcome to the world – Forest Park, specifically – to Niraj Tellarovic who was born early in the morning on Oct. 21. Niraj’s parents are Ramya and Carl Tellarovic. You may remember when they were married a few years ago, the white horse clomping down Michigan Avenue in front of the Conrad Hilton with Carl astride? Well, that’s behind us now. Now, it’s on to diapers and early morning feedings.

A fitting tribute to three generations of Quitsch Flowers was paid to Dixie Paugh compliments of the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce and the Forest Park National Bank. Art Jones came in from South Carolina in honor of the occasion. Dixie’s family and special friends were also on hand to congratulate her. Representing the chamber and the trinity of life’s events were Laureen Thornton (eternal taxes), Jack Vainisi (eternal need for money), and Tom Ahern (our final trip into eternity).

Meanwhile, across the street at House Red, the final concert of 2008 was happening. Pianist Ivana Bukvich accompanied Ukrainian cellist, Nazar Dzhuryn in a Beethoven sonata and a Prokofiev sonata. The Prokofiev was written especially for the late Mstislav Rostropovich. Music lover and new Forest Parker, Monica Roach is thrilled that we have such an event as this in town.

On Nov. 6, happy birthday wishes go to Ed Spinelli; on Nov. 7, Jean Zalenski, Brian Cote, Art McGrath, Marikate Marino, Harriet Smith; Nov. 8, Renee Van Zant, Lyford Arey, Richard Cotton, and anniversary greetings to Cindy and Chris Wood; on Nov. 9, Amy Brod and Emily Johnson; Nov. 10, Mark Conway, Andy Thiesse, Anita D’Souza, Virginia Rossi; Nov. 11, Bradley Drane, Max Trage; on the 12th, Gloria and Steve Backman have an anniversary while Jane Lentini, Louise Douglas, Sandy Riley, Ellie Drane, and Danielle Sullivan all get a birthday wish.

Special happy birthday greetings to 2-year-old Jackson Domer on Nov. 11.

March King John Philip Sousa was born on Nov. 6, 1854. Madame Marie Sklodowska on Nov. 7 in 1867. She and her husband Pierre Curie discovered radium on July 4, 1934. The Republican elephant was born Nov. 7, 1874, which is the birthday of Billy Graham. Cortez conquered the Aztecs and Montezuma on the 8th in 1519. The great Boston fire happened on Nov. 9, 1872, one year one month and one day after the great Chicago fire. Stanley found Livingstone on Nov. 10, 1871, and uttered the immortal words “Dr. Livingstone, I presume.”

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.