Another Ron Santo story: Many years ago a neighbor, Don Genens, worked for Wilson Sporting Goods. Wilson was somewhere in the area then, Northlake or someplace, and I always gave my kids a parting gift in June and sent them on their way.  One year, Don got 42 autographed pictures of Ron Santo through Wilson for my class. What a thrill for those second graders. Don has been gone for many years, now.

Ron Santo is gone, too. I’m not much of a sports fan. If Chicago plays, I hope they win. But even I had that connection to Ron Santo.

Centuries & Sleuths did it again. Young author Graham Moore was signing copies of his newly published The Sherlockian. This book has already become a big hit with devotees of Sherlock Holmes. Moore joined the famous Baker Street Irregulars and it seems they have discovered a long sought diary of Arthur Conan Doyle. 

 Sunday C&S had a Christmas party for authors and their publishers. Sara Paretsky and Stephanie Kuehnert were among the distinguished guests. The bookstore will be closed Christmas Day and Christmas Eve at 3 pm. so buy your books early this week.

Amy Witkowski is one of Forest Park’s young readers. She and her book club members are reading The Red Pyramid this month. Amy’s summary of the book made me want to read it, too. She’d be a good book reviewer.

Condolences to the many friends of Connie Conlan, who died last week. A memorial service in her honor will be held some time in the spring.

Apologies to my editor Katie Drews for these columns lately. I am trying to get used to a new wireless mini computer. My fingers are too fat for the keys and I have much trouble getting to the email. Please give me time, Katie. And thank you for your patience.

On to the birthdays: Dan Barron, Adam Ritter, Sue Stanton, Bill Hopp, Amanda Rychtanek, Tim Flanagan, Irene O’Shea, Diana Dylewski, Scott Popelkaa, Kaylee Ross, Angelina Cote, Jennifer Vince, John Paul Miceli, Peggy Madden, Angel D’Souza, Dan Gerger, Vince Cirrintano, Norm Hopp and Thalia Becker. Thalia was born on Christmas Eve a few years ago keeping her daddy, Jim Becker, from attending his sister, Lisa Grimes’ family Christmas party. Thalia was the star of the party the following year.

Jackie is a former Chicago and Elmwood Park schoolteacher with an undying love for music, friendly pets and a host of life’s other treasures too numerous to list. She was born on the far southwest side of Chicago in a great neighborhood when it was a great time to be young.