40 years ago

When people take their last leave, they’re gone forever. Their voices, their faces, their laughter and their complaints. The Big Exit was provided when we began. It’s what Editor Claude Walker mourned when he marked the close-together deaths of two public servants, friends of his. One was Everett Dirksen from Pekin, Ill., who represented Illinoisans in the U.S. Senate. The other was a local man who, for 23 years, made a meaningful difference in young people here – Bob Dowd. If you’re under 40 these may be cloudy recollections.

Everett Dirksen was one of a kind. Scholarly yet down-to-earth, he was a statesman with the dedication of a Patrick Henry and the resolve and eloquence of our current president. Walker described him as one who could have sat down with men like Franklin, Jefferson and Lincoln to deal with the nation’s problems.

Bob Dowd’s destiny, though less lofty, greatly benefited Forest Park’s youth and sports programs. Park facilities were regularly improved under his direction. Young children and many teenagers were positively influenced under his guidance and some still around remember Bob as our best-ever park director.

Why recall what they did 40 years back? They deserve the remembrance.

From the Sept. 29, 1969, Forest Park Review

30 years ago

Kathy Veith, representing the Betsy Ross PTO, took the mic at a village hall meeting to urge reinstatement of the community’s Halloween trick-or-treat policy. Arguing from the children’s point of view, she said the matter was not trivial; that there were considerations like safety, traffic, streetlights, hours, parent involvement and more.

Commissioner Ed Lambke put much of this down with a curt, “We don’t want to start it all over again.” Veith persisted, suggesting a public petition. Mayor Fred Marunde replied, “Because the council already disapproves, further efforts would likely be a waste of time.” Frustrated, Ms. Veith returned her mic to its place adding, “Thanks – for nothing.” Grassroots democracy … it works well but rarely to everyone’s satisfaction.

From the Oct. 10, 1979, Forest Park Review

20 years ago

Stay with this one – a 65-year-old, slightly built man debarked from a Blue Line train at Harlem Avenue. On the platform, he was approached by a young thug who grabbed his victim “between the legs” and told him to lie down. When he refused, the offender knocked him down, then rifled through his pockets. Two eastbound drivers caught in gridlock on I-290 yelled at the dumbo to “leave the guy alone!” Then a third witness armed with a wiper blade (I couldn’t make this up) reached the platform. His message: “I saw you beating up on him. You think you’re bad? Try beating up on me!” He whacked and cuffed the galoot, who took off for the ticket agent’s booth and a phone, only to be told the phone received but didn’t transmit. He wanted to call the police because he (the original whacker) had become the new whackee. The avenger continued pummeling the Neanderthal and, to complete this Marx Brothers scenario, the slightly built, original victim got in a few retaliatory licks of his own.

“Tomorrow to fresh woods, and pastures new.” -Milton

From the Sept. 13, 1989, Forest Park Review

10 years ago

A second chance … it’s needed by everybody from the poor devil on Death Row to the poor sap who really meant to see that great movie 10 years ago. It’s probably available as a DVD at our library.

“Arlington Road” – Jeff Bridges is an anti-terrorist expert who grows suspicious of an all-too-normal family who just moved into the neighborhood. Tim Robbins and Joan Cusack.

“American Pie” – Comedy about four high schoolers who agree to lose their virginity before graduation. (Hotcha!)

“Limbo” – Lounge singer (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) tries to make a new life for herself and daughter in a small, Alaskan port town.

From the July 7, 1999, Forest Park Review