40 years ago

Here are some thoughts from Editor Claude Walker’s column in the final issue of the 1969 Review. Things seemed so dark in that strife-torn decade that he felt somewhat hypocritical wishing his “59 readers” Peace on Earth and Good Will. Every week, 200 to 300 American troops were dying in Vietnam with more physically wounded and psychologically damaged. Triple that when you factor in the collateral deaths of Vietnamese men, women and children.

There was ill will between Israelis and Palestinians. Border incidents were taking place in the Mideast, as well as in Africa where extreme hardship and starvation were rampant … open drug wars on our home ground … gun control issues, too … racial strife … Fred Hampton, Mark Clark … Roe v. Wade … JFK … RFK …MLK. On and on, more and more. The point and pity is that not many of these fundamental lessons seemed to get learned.

I keep returning to a set of words from George Santayana, hoping enough people read and ponder them. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Santayana also wrote, “Fanaticism consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim.”

From the Dec. 24, 1969, Forest Park Review

30 years ago

Leftover Christmas tidbit. Breathes there a cat so blasé, who’s never been heard to say, “A purr-fect gift for me would be catnip, don’t you agree?” Because only the best is good enough for your cat, make it the homegrown kind. You won’t get busted.

Gather four or five pots, potting soil and catnip seed. Fill soil to within an inch of the tops. Tuck nine or ten seeds into the soil and press lovingly down. Spray soil till moist. Cover with clear plastic. Put in a dark room with temps of 65 to 70 degrees. Keep soil moist. When green sprouts appear (10 to 20 days) place in sunlight. Remove plastic when shoots are about an inch tall. Water only when dry to touch. After several weeks when leaves are dime-size, pluck one, crush and present to kitty. Pure cat heaven, heaven-scent.

Marvel as your whiskered soulmate fairly swoons with ecstasy as he alternately sniffs, flops, intermingles with, bites into and laps up portions with his all-searching pink tongue. As many a cat has surely said, “If I didn’t have to sleep 17 hours a day, I’d grow my own.” That’s contentment.

From the Dec. 19, 1979, Forest Park Review

20 years ago

Big, fat newspaper. That was the issue of Nov. 29, 1989, thanks to a generous number of advertisers, its 60 pages set a record. Editor Claudia Lenart, asking Publisher Dan Haley if the paper was growing faster than the community, was told, “You can do it. It’s your newspaper.”

“My newspaper?” she thought. Then, without being noble about it, she thought again, “It’s the community’s newspaper. I’m just an instrument to facilitate local communication.

“Sometimes it’s hard to find worthwhile stories in any small town. So it’s more than nice when people like [former school superintendent] Joe Scolire and Dr. Jim Murray make their contributions. It gives the reader – and me – some fresh perspective.” Lenart said one of her goals was to encourage more Letters to the Editor. Know what? In less than a year Review readers began – and continued – to be heard from in greater volume. Good news.

From the Nov. 29, 1989, Forest Park Review

10 years ago

Holy Colliding Galaxies! Golly Whiskers! Well, I Swan! Great Balls o’ Fire! God’s Great Toe! Whatever your favorite epithet, consider yourself reminded that you forgot to catch that great flick back in the year 2000, and that it’s still viewable now on DVD. Which was it?

The Green Mile: Set on Death Row in a Southern prison in 1935, cell block head guard (Tom Hanks) develops a poignant relationship with an inmate (Michael Clarke Duncan). Over time, he learns that the condemned man possesses mysterious, possibly miraculous, gifts.

Dogma: An irreverent dark comedy about two violent angels scheming to re-enter Heaven by way of New Jersey. A courageous group of misfits try to stop them and save the world. Affleck, Damon, Florentine, Rock, Carlin.

The Insider: A producer convinces a former tobacco industry physician to reveal the truth about cigarette company practices. Al Pacino, Russell Crowe, Rip Torn.

From the Dec. 8, 1999, Forest Park Review