The first week of the Christmas season got off to a heart-warming musical start with the 11th annual Sing-Along Messiah, at the First Methodist Church of Oak Park.  Donations collected at the event went West Suburban PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter).  

MacDowell Artists Association has co-sponsored the event for those eleven years.  Prior to this, MacDowell presented the Messiah at what is now the Hemingway Museum.  Pastor Park of First United Methodist welcomed the singers most graciously, and invited everyone to attend the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service there, at 7 p.m. on December 24. The church is located at 324 N. Oak Park Ave., in Oak Park.

Last Saturday, Dec. 3, several Chicagoland writers discussed historical books they have created on the various neighborhoods and towns throughout the area.

The authors included Ken Knack (his picture book focuses on Forest Park’s history), Doug Deucher, Dominic Candelaro, Peter Pero and David Sokol. Most of the books were about ethnic neighborhoods in Chicago, like Pilsen, which used to be predominantly Czech. Other books focused on areas where Italians, Poles, Bohemians and Croations. 

These little books make great Christmas gifts, especially for old timers. And Augie is always happy to sell you a book.

The crossroads of the world used to be State and Madison streets, in Chicago. It was said that if you stood there long enough you would see everyone you knew. The new crossroads is surely Schauer’s Hardware. I recently ran into two distant cousins and a classmate from the South Side of Chicago. They’ve got more than hardware there. 

Time to sing happy birthday to: Kellen O’Shea, Matt Pingel, DeMaria Gilbraith, Brian Mullen, Scott Marler, Gloria Chaney, Andrew Doss, Mary Alice Nee, Loretta Woeltje, Peyton Brown, Morgan Trage, Madison Hannah Pronek and Corina Harnett.

Thanks for your time, especially during the busy holiday season.


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.