40 years ago

Then there’s this page-one report under the banner: gerbil or suicide?

A gerbil owned by Carl Groth took a page out of a nursery rhyme by taking a bite out of Carl’s finger. He, the gerbil, then huffed and puffed until he did himself in. Mr. Groth may have fed the animal some bad honey because he, the gerbil, swelled measurably and took a dislike toward the rest of the family (Carl’s). It didn’t deflate, and eventually it croaked. At press time the veterinarian was determining whether the gerbil or Mr. Groth was rabid.

From the Nov. 21, 1968, Forest Park Review

30 years ago

Area police intensified their search for a rapist who stalked when he wasn’t jogging. The man was described by a victim as a light-complexioned African American who often dressed in running clothes and gym shoes, was about 6 feet tall, wore close-cropped hair, was described as soft-spoken and seemed well-educated. Known as the “jogging rapist” he had been sighted mostly in the area of Harlem to First Avenue and from Madison to Lake streets. He seemed to favor weekday evening hours.

From the Oct. 25, 1978, Forest Park Review

20 years ago

Without fail, nearly every semester there’s a report on improved or diminished reading skills in school District 91. It’s been going on for decades, and what it ultimately proves seems debatable. In 1988 local students who took the Illinois Reading Assessment Test were given a separate questionnaire on their “reading and writing habits.” Maybe the questionnaire was more valuable and revealing than the test.

Students were asked how often they:

Think about the topic before they read it … Re-read something they don’t understand … Said their teachers asked questions about reading material … Read for enjoyment at school … Read at home, other than homework … Read from a science or social studies book … Think about what they write before beginning … Re-write something that doesn’t make sense … Notice an adult reading at home.

Editor Mary Mateer prefaced her article with, “More than the teacher, the textbook or the amount of money spent on education, high reading achievement in school may depend mostly on family and student habits.”

From the Oct. 26, 1988, Forest Park Review

10 years ago

Like most good parents, Forest Park mother and Review columnist Chris Broquet knew that young people require stimulation to learn and develop. At first, this mother of two was wise enough to let them entertain themselves with crib mobiles. Later, she bombarded them by reading aloud and using educational toys and crafts until, as she put it, their eyes glazed. One day, it occurred to Broquet something was amiss. Though they had read together, or apart, E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, enjoyed the word fun and zany drawings of Dr. Seuss and learned that the Titanic went under only when eight compartments, not seven, took on water. Never-not once-had she and the kids seen the arguably Classic of Classic “kid-adult” films, The Wizard of You-Know-Who. To rectify this, she dragooned, or frog marched the kids to the Lake Theater to see it on the big screen.

Problem. They wanted to see Adam Sandler in The Waterboy. She was still bigger than they, so it was “off to see the wizard.” In their seats at last, the kids felt righteously wronged because this movie was in revolting black and white! But then, somewhere, over the rainbow … that miraculous package of magic had come again as it had come to movie theaters all over the country … from Hollywood … to the Lake Theater… only 10 years ago.

From the Nov. 11, 1998, Forest Park Review