Centuries & Sleuths will have a most unusual book signing this Sunday, Jan. 17 from 2 until about 5 p.m. Forest Parker Ken Knack will be signing copies of his new book of special interest to Forest Parkers, Images of Forest Park – Your Place in History! This book is a part of the Images of America series. If you are a newcomer or an old timer, you will enjoy hearing about and looking at pictures of your hometown.

St. Bernardine School will kick off Catholic Schools Week with an open house on Sunday, Jan. 30 from 11:30 a.m. till 1:30 p.m. You are invited to stop by and see all the wonderful things going on at this gem of a school.

Speedy get well wishes to our former editor, Helen Karakoudas Redfern. Helen and her new husband, Ernie Redfern were vacationing in Florida for the New Year holiday when Helen became ill. She is back home now, recovering.

This is surely the last of the Christmas stories of 2010. It is a true story, taken right out of the Simpsons, but true to the last detail. Brown Cow’s Matt and Connie Brown, like many of the Madison Street merchants, did not enjoy a banner year in 2010. But Christmas had to be celebrated as happily as possible. The whole family went out to a tree farm to cut down a tree, as they always did. However, when they got home, the fat little tree would not go through the front door, the back door, or any opening. After painful maneuvering, they finally got the chubby little thing into their house, then down to the basement for ornaments. Alas and alack! All the ornaments had been destroyed in last summer’s floods, including a much beloved angel their grandfather had given them shortly before he died. So the Brown kids got busy with glitter, glue, beads and construction paper and created lovely works of art. Gifts were meager; everyone understood why. Then after the gifts had been distributed, daddy Matt went next door where, unbeknownst to the kids, a 2-year-old yellow lab, Peg, had been waiting. The dog’s former family had to get rid of him. Matt came back into the house with the wiggly dog saying, “Merry Christmas!” and everyone ran to the dog, hugging her unmercifully and squealing, “This is the best Christmas ever!”

Belated happy anniversary wishes to the Browns on Dec. 23; January birthdays this week are Nancy Blum, Ryan Farrell, Ellen Krupa, John Gillian, Timothy X. Lane, Sue Bracker, Erika Goodman, Sean Goodman, Rajiv Hirandandi, Mary Virginia Sedlack, Michael Bjornson, James Nackey, Holly Ann Fjelstad, Colleen Nee, Elyse O’Connell, Wayne Schayer, Eunice Blazek, Tom Dazek, Lauren Pardun, Bob Kurash, Judy Baar Topinka, Joan Steinbach, Janet Fabiani, Margaret Flanagan, Daniel Mondragon, Marge Zwadlo, Judy Daniels, Dan Olson, Kirk Oliver, and Kaitlyn Trage.

Thanks for your time.

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.