40 years ago

The cyclical nature of this column – repeatedly going back 40, 30, 20 and 10 years – allows for the happy reappearance of the departed; in this case, that of esteemed former editor Bob Haeger and his “Once Over Lightly” weekly column. Included are these recollections:

Former Mayor Roy Mohr was the grandfather of former Mayor Howard Mohr (and an uncle of Haeger). Roy, as they say now, was a real “number.” Or, as they said then, a “hot sketch.” – one of many Forest Park characters. Known as the Sage of Harrison Street, The Night Senator or The Monarch, he was still making waves at 74. Haeger noted that at the three-quarter mark Uncle Roy had lost little enthusiasm and was still fast with a repartee. When asked if he had ever been to Paris he said, “Yes, about 30 years ago.” The questioner then asked, “When Paris was Paris?” “No,” he replied, “When Roy Mohr was Roy Mohr.”

Another Haeger note dealt with a 1970 rock fest at Miller Meadows. “The thing came off pretty well,” wrote the sardonic editor. “Never mind that nine overdosers were handled at nearby Madden Zone Center … or that a surprising 9,000 to 10,000 showed up … or how a permit ever got issued in the first place.”

From the July 29, 1970 Forest Park Review

30 years ago

Mohr – oops, More people than you think, remember a gang of gals from yesteryear that played softball better then most men -the Parichy Bloomer Girls (1944-1955). They did their thing, and did it very well, at a stadium directly north of U-Haul on Harrison and Harlem. We’re talking fast-pitch, 12-inch softball which wasn’t so soft if you got in its way, as opposed to the slow-pitch, 16-inch, no-glove, whack-the-pinata variety now played here and in Chicago. (The Mike Royko game.) Two different games, one with the zip of fast pitching and one with the “whomp” of a club meeting mush.

But back to those girls, a few who some may mistake for “little old ladies.” Like today’s no-glovers, they played the game with “for-keeps” enthusiasm. Nearly nightly, they put on a show of their own that surprised doubters and delighted devotees.

One man was responsible for the Bloomer Girls, an Oak Park roofer and baseball fanatic named Emery Parichy (PAR-is-she). At age 80 he was inducted into the Amateur Softball Association of America. The team, his “Baby” for 30 years, was the Pride of Forest Park in action and in memory.

The Yankees were to have their Mantle, but the Bloomers had a bevy of fine players, led by pitcher Willa Mae Turner and her collection of fast-pitch perfect games. So the Bloomer Girls were a decidedly good team that turned professional in 1955. However, Mr. Parichy could no longer provide the financial support – and the stadium came down as the Eisenhower came in.

From the July 16 1980 Forest Park Review.

20 years ago

It needn’t take much to be a hero. Just an awareness of what to do in an emergency situation. John Rice reported the relatively common occurrence of someone choking and someone else – Frank Impolitto of Forest Park – acting.

Impolitto had been watching a ball game in the park and noticed Phil Imburgia pointing frantically to his throat. He got to the distressed man and put on a Hemlich hug – to no avail. Another upward squeeze and out popped part of a hot dog and bun. Drama at the ol’ ballpark. Life beat Death.

From the July 11, 1990 Forest Park Review

10 years ago

Good movies of back then, available on video today:

The Patriot: With the ever-popular and charming Mel Gibson. Ironically, he plays a peace-loving citizen in the American Revolution who renounces fighting forever. File under “Parapsychology.”

Mission Impossible II: Will the real Tom Cruise please go away? Read any good books lately? Read any bad ones?

Rocky and Bullwinkle: A Keeper! Marvel at the dynamic duo’s duel with Boris and Natasha.

From the July 5, 2000 Forest Park Review