It was a busy week-end for book writers and illustrators. And since we’re into the Halloween season Six for the Grave, published by Tate Publishing, made its debut in a bookstore at Six Corners in Chicago. The illustrator of this macabre collection of short stories is none other than Starship Sub’s Eben Mazzeri. These short stories are definitely not bedtime reading for the little ones. Neither are the illustrations. For the curious, a copy has been donated to the Forest Park Library. The author of these chillers is John Hartje, a product of the Chicago Public Schools (and one of my favorite students).

Centuries and Sleuths bookstore gave us Stan Banash and his latest work, Roadside History of Illinois, a fascinating read with a brief history of every village, city or town you ever visited or heard of in our state. Mr. Banash reminds us Abraham Lincoln is not the only outstanding citizen Illinois has produced. Among some of the immortals Illinois has produced are Ferris of the Ferris Wheel (and a distant forerunner of the William Ferris Chorale) the state was a part of the infamous “Trail of Tears.” Illinois had the first integrated public school (Otterville Hamilton Primary School, 1836). We had the first woman to receive a law degree, Ada Miser Kepley, Effingham June ,1870. 

We were the state with the first retail mail-order catalog (Montgomery Ward, 1872). We’re also known for the first skyscraper in the world, designed by William Jenny, 1885. Also we were homes to inventors of the game of softball, (George Hancock,1887) the mechanical Braille writer (Frank Hall, 1892). We hosted the first successful open-heart surgery, (Chicago Provident Hospital, Dr. Dale Williams, 1893). On and on:  These firsts go on for pages. Read this book, you’ll love it, I promise.

More Scout news! This time from Cub Scout Pack 109. Pack 109 brought the outdoors into the gym of St. John for the first annual Scout Day on Saturday, Oct. 3. Boy Scouts from Troop 107 lead the younger Cub Scouts in how to identify trees, identifying animal tracks, bird bingo, and designing flags.  Scouts also made their own snack by playing Kick the Can Ice Cream and Tie Dyed Pack shirts.

The skeleton in the window of Creativita has been seen adding a few strokes to the bizarre painting he seems to be working on, stand there for a few minutes and you can actually see his hand move as he adds to that “colorful” painting. This week they’ll be painting tombstones, skulls and the like. It’s a great way to spend a Friday evening.

Happy birthday this week to Sue Paschke, Todd Cote, Jean Schmidt, Jan Behnke, (gone but not forgotten), Cody Healy, Marissa Mullen, Morgan Hosty, Judy Arnold, Kevin Doss, Lily O’Neill, and the Trainor twins, Bryce and Tyler will be one year old! Riley Johnson, Bob Sullivan, Mark Hosty, Eve Dudzik, Barbara Sedlak. Happy anniversary to Karen and Craig Kurey, Katie and John Tricoci, Dan and Rebekah Scollard, Todd and Denise Marler, Tracy and Debbie Gurascio. 

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...