40 years ago

A 13-year-old boy visiting with friends at the Forest Park pool was given slim chance of reaching 14. David Arnold of Chicago, in typical foolhardy boyhood fashion, took a dare to dive off the high board. He spread-eagled and hit the water flat, face-down and slowly sank to the bottom. One of his buddies dove in and saw him lying still in an awkward position. Not sure if Arnold was feigning, he surfaced and signaled a lifeguard who brought the boy up.

Only when the two guards took turns giving mouth-to-mouth, did his friends realize David could not swim. Only after an automatic resuscitator and oxygen source were put to use, was the boy taken to Oak Park Hospital. Only after 94 hours (nearly four days) of intensive care, did he regain consciousness. Only a typical 13-year-old American boy could complain at that time that he was hungry, then dispatch a good size meal. Onward and upward!

From the July 16, 1969, Forest Park Review

30 years ago

Huge, screaming war-size headlines do not commonly appear in small town weekly papers. And so it was with the Forest Park Review of Aug. 1, 1979. Yet, for all its commonality, a quiet issue like this may better typify what took place here one week 30 years ago. Skim along with me:

Softball Tourney Starts Saturday – the unending popularity of the “no gloves” version of this game.

Mayor (Marunde’s) Open Door Office Hours – still 7 to 9 p.m. every second Friday at the village hall.

Jerry Martin Leonard was born … Victor Trapanese died … Robert Mason and Michaeline Downey got married. To each other.

And This Filler: “Cleopatra was married to her own brother, Ptolemy.” I didn’t know that, but I did hear that Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were cousins. To each other.

From the Aug. 1, 1979, Forest Park Review

20 years ago

On the afternoon of May 6, 1937, the German airship Hindenburg was being tethered for docking at Lakehurst, N.J., when literal hell broke loose. Without warning, a spark ignited flammable hydrogen into a billowing inferno as the dirigible’s skin peeled away to reveal only the cindered ribs of the ship’s hull. Thirteen passengers and 22 crew members perished. You may recall the Pathe newsreel and the anguished voice of the sobbing newscaster crying, “Oh the humanity!”

Death comes any way it chooses.

On the morning of June 8, 1989 – as reported in last week’s column – 9-year-old Kola Clarke and her mother, Cheryl, died with little warning, the victims of an arsonist. Not quite so dramatically as the Lakehurst tragedy but with all the finality. (You don’t compare deaths.) But if you do, there are certain differences and similarities shared by the persons involved – the form of death, by fire … the suddenness of it (lightning swift in New Jersey, little or no warning in Forest Park) … the argument of inevitability (Act of God v. the preventable.) … innocence of the victims; some (the arsonist?) may deserve to die; all are destined to.

It could go on. The dead are the dead, and will always be so. Why was this story even resurrected? I just thought that Kola and her mother shouldn’t be forgotten too soon. The arsonist? Another story.

From the June 28, 1989, Forest Park Review

10 years ago

When you have nothing else to fall back on, you can always fall back on the movies. Here’s what the Lake was offering a decade ago:

Cookie’s Fortune – Robert Altman comedy set in a small town. Death of a local matriarch unveils old and dark secrets of the town’s lifetime residents. Glenn Close, Julianne Moore.

A Walk on the Moon – A bored housewife starts a steamy love affair with a handsome hippie. Diane Lane, Viggio Mortensen.

From the April 27, 1999, Forest Park Review