There are so many wonderful stories about growing up in Forest Park. But most of the ones you hear come, not surprisingly, from people of a certain age and era. So we listen again to the children of the early European immigrants – Italian and Greek and German – recalling their post-war childhoods.

Last week we published a different growing up story that we found equally as moving from a writer who has just won a MacArthur “Genius Grant.”

Dinaw Megestu is 34 now and a visiting professor of English at Georgetown University. He grew up on Marengo, the son of refugees from civil war wracked Ethiopia in the 1970s. His parents, Hirut and Tesfaye Megestu found their way to Forest Park.

“I have great memories of growing up on Marengo. You walked out the door and 800 kids came running up to play with you,” he told the Review last week. And just as our elders recall from their eras, Megestu tells of the many nations, accents and customs that he learned growing up in Forest Park. But instead of Italians and Irish, he had a best friend from Columbia, and pals from Vietnam and Germany.

This is Forest Park. The American melting pot that defines and elevates our dreams.