They came and they came and they came in spite of the weather. Joyce and Peter Thiesse in from Wisconsin. Pete in a wheelchair with his portable oxygen. Obviously made a great effort to say good-bye to his old friend Carl Schwebl. Pete has developed a deep sympathy for feral cats since living in Wisconsin. He catches them, spays or neuters them then releases them.

It’s been a long time since we saw Laura Schwebl; a sad reunion. Laura and her mother are living in Arizona.

Art Jones…still and always the classiest guy in the room. Seeing him reminded me of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s quote in her book about Teddy Roosevelt. “He was the baby at every christening, the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral.” Art doesn’t seek out attention, people are just drawn to him. Take a good look up and down Madison Street the next time you’re there. Without Art (and Uncle John Trage and the Forest Park Bank) Madison Street would probably look like Madison Street about a mile to the west. Everyone was happy to see Sally Jones, even prettier with her salt and pepper hair.

Sorry I missed Judy Trage, but another face from the past, Tony Bale was on hand to meet old friends, too.

Carrie Schwebl, lovely and gracious, a double of her mother, Karen McKenzie, at Carrie’s age. Aunt Tracy McKenzie, now a physician at Rush Oak Park, Bill (still “Billy to me). Carl sent us all on a trip down memory lane. Carl Schwebl lived the life he wanted to live. To paraphrase George Orwell from “Animal Farm” Some of us are more unique than others. 

Correction from last week, the young lady Carli Beach is now at Indiana studying veterinary medicine.

Prairie State Animal Hospital at 909 South Oak Park Ave., is collecting peanut butter for the Oak Park Food Pantry. Peanut butter is highly nutritious, has lots of protein, tastes good, and has lots of energy for those of us who must brave the cold. So drop off your peanut butter at the food pantry or at Prairie State Animal Hospital.

Congratulations, but mostly thank you, to Marge Zwadlo for taking on the job of Friends of the Library president. Evelyn Krueger will continue as secretary, another demanding job. Eleanor Locati is treasurer and Marilyn Johnson is the newly elected vice president of the Friends. Welcome to Alicia Hammond, our new community relations librarian. Alicia she has scheduled a speaker for Feb. 1. He is Jason Smith of the Book table in Oak Park. The event will begin at 2:30 p.m. in the Forest Park Library and should be a most interesting afternoon. Hope to see you there.

Saint John, Friends of Music will present the CCO String Quartet on Sunday, Feb. 9 at 4 p.m. The program will include Mozart’s Divermento in b-flat K137; Michael Mclean’s Three Dances for String Quartet and Dvorak’s String Quartet #12, F major. The CCO String Quartet is comprised of members of the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, founded by Dieter Kober, currently under the directon of Robert Turizziani. There is no charge for this program, but a free will offering will be appreciated. A reception will follow the concert. More about this exceptional group next week.

 Sing happy birthday to the following people this week: Eric Connor, Cathy Woods, Olivia Schauer, Kathy Doss, Gladys Gulla, Connor Bafetti, Ken Oliver, Natalie Frank, Kelly Rosen, Catherine Nickels, Esther Huebner, Orion Javier, Sharon Andrews, Leela Itzel, Lia Pardun, Richie Beam, Susan Ainley,l Matt Walsh, Kolton Smentek, Marlene Quandt, and Wolfgang A. Mozart!

 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.

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