40 years ago

It’s fun to keep a commonplace book (aka, a notebook, diary or journal). It’s also handy, and can be added to or reviewed over the years. I started one many years ago. It paid off last week. (There was nothing to say about January 1970.)

Hackers on a golf course award themselves with a mulligan now and then. What about hack writers who write weekly columns? Where’s the justice if you aren’t allowed a gimme or a freebie every 15 years or so? Whip out the ol’ commonplace book and a quick flip to a section headed “Man’s Inexactitude of Speech.” It might also carry the subhead, “I know what you’re trying to say, but you had to be there to see it.” Here’s the result:

“We’ve got to improve the quality of our mistakes.” – Concerned middle management type at weekly committee meeting … “Walk slower, Sue, you’ll get there just as fast” … “We’ll meet that horse when we come to it” … “Does this get older with age?” “I don’t want this drawing revised, I want it changed” … “Go ahead, let Pandora out of her box” … “A good deal of our trouble is due to a lack of ignorance.” And a favorite from President Calvin Coolidge – “When a great many people are unable to find work, unemployment results” … and Mayor Richard J. Daley – “The policemen are not there to create disorder, they’re there to preserve disorder.”

From a commonplace book of various sources

30 years ago

These familiar want ads made repeat appearances in the Review over the years. Such messages from advertisers, along with larger display ads and hard news, made up the backbone of the newspaper.

From the Nov. 29, 1979, Forest Park Review

20 years ago

A 31-year-old Forest Park man was allegedly caught in the act of burglarizing an apartment when the renter, a woman, walked in and surprised him. She had returned home at 2:45 a.m. and saw a shopping bag containing her VCR lying on the floor. She noticed her closet doors were open, then saw the man standing in her bathroom. He dashed out of the apartment almost as quickly as she dialed 911.

Luckily, a squad car was passing nearby. The officer approached the building as the culprit walked slowly away. Anyone even casually walking at 3 a.m. was a suspect, according to the cop, who reintroduced them. In so many words, they said they had already met. If any doubt remained it was erased when the woman identified some of her jewelry in his pants pockets.

From the Nov. 29, 1989, Forest Park Review

10 years ago

In Worcester, Mass., the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse building – a shelter for the homeless – went down in flames, taking the lives of six firemen. The catastrophe made national headlines and resulted in 30,000 firefighters nationwide paying homage to the victims, many as in-person delegates and mourners. Among them were two from Forest Park – Stuart Bledsoe and Dan Olson. They traveled to the memorial service as members of the state Firefighter’s National Guard.

Back in Forest Park, Bledsoe said, “In this profession, all fighters are brothers. To lose one is like losing a family member.” Olson added, “Neither of us knew those men personally, but believe me, we feel their loss.”

Earlier, at the fire scene: Two firemen had entered the burning building in search of any trapped homeless tenants. Overcome by smoke, the two radioed for help. Per protocol, for every fireman who calls for back up, two men are sent in. So four men were dispatched. None of the six made it out.

The building was about the same size as the Roos property.

From the Dec. 21, 1999, Forest Park Review