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40 years ago

The people of Illinois are mired in a world of negative superlatives: most corrupt … most ditsy impeached governor … most disappointing baseball team … partner in the deepest worldwide recession – yet soon, in six days – proud to claim a native son as the centerpiece at a historic inauguration.

In 1968 we were plunged to the neck in napalm in South Vietnam and Cambodia with collateral deaths exceeding even the daily kill tolls of American troops. At home, assassins took the lives of MLK and RFK. Richard Nixon would soon begin took his first term. Six and a half years later after claiming, “I am not a crook,” he retired in disgrace.

Forty years later there was-and is-a little enclave in the Midwest called Forest Park. Along with a hundred thousand other enclaves, life gets lived here, sometimes tied to, and in some ways separated from, larger world issues. The parents of Boatswain 3/C Jeff Donahue aboard the USS Ticonderoga were as concerned about their son as was the owner of the humblest starter business on Madison. If nothing else, the world is a various place.

From the Dec. 5, 1968, Forest Park Review

30 years ago

A few weeks back, we reported that the “jogging rapist” was foiled-again. In both instances the suspect was wearing jogging clothes, and showed up in an area bounded by Harlem to 1st avenues and Madison to Lake streets. He made his contact at 8 a.m. on a weekday at Lexington and Beloit. “Come here,” she heard looking up, and went on walking. When the man grabbed her coat the intended victim, a 15 year old, resisted and struck at him. She wriggled free and ran away. Police were notified and Investigator Chuck Whelpley worked with the young lady on descriptions and composites that closely matched the subject.

From the Nov. 15, 1978, Forest Park Review

20 years ago

I don’t know how “pick-up-able” the second half of anything can be, much less a poem on slowing down. Just keep in mind that we have it in us not only to calm and manage our hectic times but to savor them. Rev. Cliff DiMascio, former pastor of Forest Park’s First United Church of Christ sent the poem titled, “Slow Me Down,” to the Review in 1988. The poet was Samuel Miller Hageman.

Remind me each day, that the race is not always to the swift,

That there is more to life than increasing speed.

Let me look upward to the clouds and sky,

To the towering oak, and know that it grew great and strong,

Because it grew slowly under Thy life-giving sun.

So, slow me down Lord! That I may take time to commune with Thee,

And find peace and rest … My deepest need.

Let my soul walk slowly in Thee.

As a saint in heaven unshod, For to be alone with Silence

Is to be alone with God.

From the Oct. 26, 1988, Forest Park Review

10 years ago

A friend of mine confided that he didn’t like heartwarming stories. What’s your pleasure, I asked him, and he answered, “I like the bizarre.” What followed, if not bizarre, was pretty nifty.

A visiting South African school principal, Jeffery Arendse, received a gift of $5,170 for his Cape Town school from appreciative students, families and neighbors of District 91. Mr. Arendse seemed genuinely taken aback when presented with the check. The occasion was his return home with wife and children after a month-long exchange visit here and in Chicago. His school, located in an impoverished part of Cape Town, would benefit from computers that could now be bought.

Forest Park, too long known as that bastion of bars, the village of the dead, the blue-collar bellybutton of Cook County, seemed ready for a heartwarming reputation.

From the Dec. 2, 1998, Forest Park Review