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The arrangement and execution of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” at President Barack Obama’s inauguration was so stirring it made hearts race and brought tears to the eyes. What a great day for all of us. Let’s pray they all cooperate and carry out what has been planned and hoped for. It was truly an emotional day and, lucky for the Washingtonians, not nearly as cold as it was here.

Another great day was the beginning of the hockey season (a little late), last Saturday. Our Blackhawks were off to a great start beating the Stanley Cup champs 5-2. Doc Ryan’s was the place to be with fans and patrons’ eyes glued to the TV.

Faithful Cubs fan, Peggy O’Rourke was at the Sheraton Hotel enjoying the Cubs convention; let’s hope something better happens to them this year, too.

Sympathy to the family of Pam Rodenbostel Einbinder, whose many years of suffering are finally over. Her husband, Ed, rarely left her side in the 27 years she was paralyzed. She enjoyed the company of her sister Kim and brother Kevin all those long years as well. Pam’s parents, Elsie and Marv, are deceased. The Rodenbostels lived on Adams for many years as the kids grew up. The Lentini family, the Ross family, the Webbs, so many names from the past, all grown up, some of them grandparents, many of them gone.

Sympathy also to the family and friends of Shirley Haeger, who also left us last week. While her husband, the late Bob, was directing and singing at parties, Shirley sat, not quietly, in the background. Her famous trademark, that bright red hair, made her easy to spot in a crowd.

Saturday nights on Madison Street are a joy to behold. Jimmy’s Place is alive with happy patrons, as are Fiorenza’s and Francesca’s. Further on down the block, The Junction is jumping with happy kids. The Junction is the best idea on Madison Street in a long time. Scratch has quite a following, too. Good luck to all of them.

Who needs Fannie May? We’ve got Shanahan’s La Maison de Bon Bon! Not only the world-famous French crèmes but the caramels, the nuts, the caramels, the jams, did I mention the caramels? And they will mail your gift candy anywhere. Try those caramels. Mardi Gras is off to an early start at Shanahan’s, by the way. Lent officially begins Wednesday, Feb. 13. So the official Mardi Gras will be Tuesday the 12th. Start your celebrating early at Shanahan’s!

Apologies to the birthday celebrants last week. I’d misplaced the book. So here’s a belated birthday wish to Eunice Blazek, Lauren Pardun, Bob Kurash, Tom Dazek, Judy Topinka, Caroline Glinke, Joan Steinbach, Janet Fabiani, Michael Flanagan, Daniel Mondrago, Marge Zwadlo, Judy Daniels, Dan Olson, Kirk Oliver, Kaitlyn Trage, Christopher Madden, Katie Fettig, Andree Catalano, Cathy Wood. Belated anniversary greetings to Connie and Matt Brown and Shirley and Jack Christell.

Now for this week’s birthdays: Kathy Doss, Gladys Gulla, Connor Bafetti, Kenny Oliver, Natalie Frank, Kelly Rosen, Esther Huebner, Tracy Doss, Orion Javier, Leela Itzel, Marlene Quandt, Matt Walsh, Sharon Andrews, Lia Pardun, Rickie Beam, and Kolton Smenter.

Jackie Schulz

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...