40 years ago

There are two kinds of meetings at our village hall – the laid-back kind, usually held in summer, which can be one long, droning yawn. But when the place is packed, there’s a good chance for discontent, estrangement, even internecine backbiting. Like the meeting of May 26, 1969.

An overflow crowd expected conclusive action by the council on the zoning board of appeal’s recommendation to build two high-rise apartments on the west side of Desplaines Avenue, north of Roosevelt Road. The audience was mostly neighbors and – as the Review reporter put it – “dissidents of every progressive project sponsored by the village.” The restive crowd revealed its impatience when Mayor Witt put off the issue for discussion under New Business. When attorney for the objectors, Leslie Smith, was denied an opening statement, his constituents became disgruntled. When Smith finally spoke, they cheered. Much ado on the part of the council then followed, and the order of business seemed to bog down. Witt then announced the final decision would be made at the next meeting.

From a distance of 40 years, it seems like these are the struggles of any green, leafy town of one- or two-story homes evolving with time, change and a future that’s always a step or two ahead. Give it a passing thought next time you pass by the five(!) condo-apartment complexes at the Big Curve on Desplaines Avenue.

From the May 28, 1969, Forest Park Review

30 years ago

Bright and early Friday morning, Officer John Scott was about his business patrolling Roosevelt near Marengo. School kids passing in no great hurry. Morning rush-hour drivers doing their thing, too – at a nice, easy pace. Just north of Roosevelt on Circle, a couple of workmen were busy loading a welder generator onto their flatbed truck. It was almost a Reader’s Digest scene, cover by Norman Rockwell.

Skeptic that he was, the patrolman guessed that one element in the picture might not fit, so he queried the pair loading the welder generator. They told Scott they found it in a nearby alley and were just carrying it away. Turned out the $2,700 unit had just been taken an hour ago from a work crew in the next block. Heigh-ho, heigh-ho: It’s off to the slammer they go.

From the May 16, 1979, Forest Park Review

20 years ago

Found in the back of a bottom desk drawer – a nearly forgotten Bob Haeger column containing a completely forgotten Bob Haeger anecdote. You decide if it’s true:

A credit and collections manager of a large car dealership fired off a nasty letter to a car buyer in arrears. “What would your neighbors think,” wrote the credit manager, “if we repossessed your car?” A week later, the customer replied, “I asked my neighbors and they all said it would be a damn shame.”

From the May 9, 1989, Forest Park Review

10 years ago

Five young Forest Park men, including a couple of teenagers, were gathered in the back yard and alley of a home on Wisconsin Avenue in Oak Park at about midnight. The residents, a young married couple, Mr. and Mrs. Michael Callahan, were returning from a night out only to be confronted by four of the loiterers – the fifth was busy urinating on the side of the Callahans’ house.

Words were exchanged, punches were thrown and a hitherto hidden blade was driven into Callahan’s stomach. The five fled, and the victim’s wife, who had tried to intervene, called 911. Her husband was attended to before being rushed to Loyola, where a doctor said, “If Mr. Callahan was not in such excellent physical shape, he might’ve died.” All five jerks were arrested within days.

From the April 17, 1999, Forest Park Review