40 years ago

Before and since WWII the biggest annual Forest Park blowout was our yearly Oktoberfest celebration – a lively amalgam of people, pretzels, oom-pahs and beer. It often took place on major streets like Madison, Desplaines, Roosevelt or Circle where passing traffic was sure to be affected. Or more recently, in the Ferrara Pan parking lot where it was certain to rain. There were amusement booths of all kinds with stuffed animals to be won, and gaming tables with affordable money to be gambled. Usually, there was a good-sized Ferris wheel to get sick on. These affairs, starting quietly in mid-afternoon, lasted the weekend from Friday ’til the crack of Monday morning. Toward the end, the men went easier on the lederhosen and fewer apple-cheeked, high-bosomed beer maidens served suds in lidded tankards. (That last sentence is slightly exaggerated for nostalgic purposes.)

Ah, sweet memory. Sometimes we find a kinder, warmer past in our hearts that stays alive in yesteryear. No matter. It harms no one to whet our appetites, reminisce and raise our steins in salute to a lovely time locked nicely away. So Hail to all our Oktoberfests – from all of us still here.

From the Aug. 27, 1969, Forest Park Review

30 years ago

How can you tell when a regular drinker has crossed the line and become an alcoholic? A nine-point guide put out by the American Medical Association was reprinted by this newspaper in September of 1979. It may be self-revealing or say something of one you’re concerned about.

1) Increased consumption of alcohol. 2) Drinking to handle problems. 3) Obvious preoccupation with alcohol. 4) Surreptitious drinking or gulping of drinks. 5) Making alibis or weak excuses for drinking. 6) Refusing to concede what is obviously excessive consumption. 7) Frequent absenteeism. 8) Shabby appearance, poor hygiene or difficult social adjustment to what is expected. 9) Persistent family or workplace problems.

From the Sept. 5, 1979, Forest Park Review

20 years ago

A tale of two burglaries – one in which a neighbor watched the burglars flee and another where a neighbor – acting on his smarts – called 911, leading to a prompt arrest. All the difference in the world.

Example One – a resident returned home to find his screen pushed in and a video cassette recorder, a television and microwave missing. Police canvassing the neighborhood found a witness who did just that – he witnessed. (How little can you get involved?) After the fat cat thieves drove off, it’s presumed Mr. Observant went back to watching Judge Judy.

Example Two – a neighbor whose neighbor was on vacation noticed lights on and lights off in the next door basement at 12:30 a.m. He did a simple thing – punched in 911. Arriving police sealed off the building. When the intruder, an 18 year old from Chicago, peeked from a window two of the officers pulled him out. Nice and simple and clean and efficient. Professional job by the cops; alert move on the part of the caller.

From the Aug. 23, 1989, Forest Park Review

10 years ago

Portrait of a swell, all-around person: Steve Jackson, 22, of Westchester. Allegedly, Steve-O’s specialty was holding a knife to the throats of old ladies to rob them. In one incident he put the knife to an 81-year-old victim, car-jacked her vehicle, and forced her to drive as he emptied her purse of cash, credit cards and other valuables.

For variety’s sake our hero followed an 82-year-old woman from a supermarket parking lot to her garage where he confronted her, laid knife to neck then pawed through her purse, inconveniently undoing his nylon stocking mask. Later that afternoon she was able to identify Mr. Macho. Then came the arrest. Then a plea of guilty to two counts of armed robbery. Then a sentence of 25 – count ’em – 25 years.

From the June 16, 1999, Forest Park Review