40 years ago

You know you’re a couple of generations off when you see a want-ad like this nestled among jobs for assemblers, machinists, keypunch operators, tool and die makers, layout inspectors and stackers of wheat. The small, boxed ad reads, “Lifetime Jobs! TRI-VILLAGE, 7204 Madison St. $2.75 – $5.25 per hour, plus time and a half for overtime. Plenty of fringe benefits, paid insurance, holidays, vacation, etc.”

With the current rate of unemployment at 6.5 percent, and with numbers adjusted to today’s cost of living and berserk economy, if given the choice of 1968 or 2008, where would you put yourself? Because ’68 has used up its future and ’08 still offers hope and resolve, I’d take today. There’s nothing like Now. “Lifetime Jobs!” There’s a phrase you don’t hear much anymore.

From the Oct. 10, 1968, Forest Park Review

30 years ago

What’s it really like to soar above it all in a hot air balloon? Louise Bill, formerly of Forest Park, tried to put it in a letter to her sister.

“At 7:15 on the morning of Oct. 8, I climbed into the basket of a balloon [outside of Des Moines]. It rose as the sun was coming up, a gorgeous red ball in the east, spectacular to behold. It was a thrill long to be remembered, gliding lazily above the earth with views of countryside that just cannot be put into words.

“The burners of the propane gas, when turned on, made quite a roar, frightening the animals in pastures below. So we witnessed many a small stampede. Then the animals would huddle together and bleat. The chase vehicles did a fantastic job, following the path of the balloon. We touched down in a corn field near a town called Laurel. A never-to-be-forgotten experience. Would I do it again? Yes, I’m already making plans.”

One other thing – Louise didn’t mention she was 75. (Her sister knew that.)

From the Oct. 18, 1978, Forest Park Review

20 years ago

He was a cook at Altenheim for 24 years, and he couldn’t read his own menus. There are always some people who fall through the cracks, and somehow Ronnie Felau had missed out on learning to read. Dr. Jim Murray, our graphology columnist, learned of him and with Felau’s permission, prevailed upon Betsy Ross teacher Susan Bale to undertake the task. She agreed.

They met for three-hour sessions from July to October. Felau’s self-confidence grew with each lesson as feelings of inadequacy subsided. Unless one is illiterate, it’s difficult to imagine the uncertainty and fear that comes with illiteracy. Before completing his tutorials with Bale, he visited the Illinois State Fair on his own. “It was a challenge,” he said. “It was an accomplishment,” Bale corrected.

From the Oct. 19, 1988, Forest Park Review

10 years ago

“Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones …”

A garage renter here was cleaning out the rafters when a round object did what any round object does-it rolled, just far enough to unveil itself from a cloth covering, as a human skull. It scared the bejesus out of the renter, who dialed 911, pronto. By the time the police arrived, the shaky renter found that the brainpan was attached to a string of six other bones, vertebrae type.

“Head bone connected to de neck bone…neck bone connected to de shoulder bone…”

Police turned over the evidence to a medical examiner who ruled the findings were “historical bones,” possibly left over from a medical school study. Hmm. Which of the other 206 of our bones is connected to the “historical” bone?

From the Feb. 18, 1998, Forest Park Review