40 years ago

This boxed memoriam to Julian J. Kitcheos appeared again for the 31st consecutive year; a persistent testament to the love of his survivors. He was, apparently, a dear son and brother whose spirit survived his body and lodged in the hearts and memories of the family he left behind.

From the Feb. 13, 1969, Forest Park Review

30 years ago

Chicago’s Drake Hotel. A storied place, and quite a place to report for work. Al Olson did just that, commuting from his home on Lathrop Avenue to the Drake every day for 45 years. Starting as a bellhop during the Depression, he later ran an elevator and was eventually promoted to bell captain – a pretty interesting job.

Those were slightly different times. In these days of millions, billions and even trillions you’re allowed to thwack your forehead in dismay to learn that in those days Olson earned the princely sum of $14.32 a month, not counting tips. Bellhop uniforms carried a special pocket for a cigarette lighter in case a guest was out of matches. “The better to serve the hotel’s guests,” he said. Until air conditioning arrived in the early ’40s when the Silver Forest Room became the Gold Coast Room, a lobby skylight opened in fair weather. “Popular bands played in the summer,” said Olson, “and when the breeze came through the roof, the leaves would rustle. It was beautiful.”

His long run at the Drake was interrupted by four years in the Air Force during WWII, followed in 1962 when he helped the Drake Oakbrook carry on the tradition of the original Chicago hotel. He and his wife, Ethel, raised four sons here in the village.

From the Feb. 28, 1979, Forest Park Review

20 years ago

Back in the ’80s when I walked to the Harlem el to catch my ride to work in Chicago, I’d pass the St. Bernardine play lot. In the midst of all those energy-packed kids was a tall figure interacting with them. He was the school principal, his name was Jerry Lordan and the Review did a nice feature story on him.

Born of Irish-Catholic parents, he said he never felt a priestly calling. Instead, he was drawn to educating young minds. An example of his innovative approach was to exploit the natural willingness of these minds to learn new things. He fed 5 year olds spoonfuls of Spanish while they were receptive to new sounding words. Then, a year or two later, he encouraged these new “linguists” to tutor, in turn, those in lower grades. Lordan introduced other efficient and effective approaches in other subjects at the school.

In the mid ’90s, Lordan, his wife, Barbara, and their three sons moved to Oak Park, where he’s currently an administrator at Fenwick High School.

From the March 1, 1989, Forest Park Review

10 years ago

Consider this an add-on to last week’s report of the mayoral primaries here. Anthony Calderone won handily, but another candidate, Dr. James Greco, could have taken it all if there had been a category for “love of money” and “self-aggrandizement.” Throwing away a prepared speech, he invited his audience to ask their own questions. Here’s how some of it went:

On politics: “Politics is money. Money is politics.”

On money: “You are talking to a man who knows how to bring in the money.”

On his favorite local hangout: “The Forest Park National Bank, because that’s where the money’s at.”

On his bank balance: “I’m a very wealthy man.”

On metered parking on Madison: “Sometimes you can’t find a quarter.”

This paper’s editorial comment: “Dr. Greco is an enthusiastic village booster, but an unrealistic candidate for the mayor’s office.”

From the Feb. 17, 1999, Forest Park Review