Georgia Noren Sullivan paints an ornament at Creati.vita studio. (JACKIE SCHULZ/Contributor)

To Forest Parkers the name Judy Baar Topinka will forever be linked to the late Nancy Bower. Everyone loved Judy, but Nancy ADORED her. Nancy, who died in Oct. 2012, was always one to acquaint herself with the politically influential so I’m pretty sure she got the person in charge newcomers to bring Judy up.

Stories and quotes from Judy are legion, one memorable one from a friend who knew her (everyone who knew her was her friend). It was after a dinner and the ladies went off to the ladies room.  The line there was unending, but there was no line at all outside the men’s room. So Judy just walked right in and shouted “men get out, the ladies are coming in!” one man sheepishly crept out.

Many journalists and friends have written they treasured the hand-written notes from Judy. Did you know in 1988 Judy submitted her handwriting to be analyzed by the Review’s handwriting columnist Jim Murray? Jim said her handwriting showed she was a “fine communicator” with “mental flexibility.” Jim also said her penmanship showed some signs she was “sarcastic, impulsive, excitable and impatient.” Her “heavy T crossings” indicated she was enthusiastic, he said. Jim congratulated her for being a good sport to submit to her script to his expert analysis.

Our Forest Park teens are really making a difference. The wonderful members of the library’s Teen Service Club got together Dec. 9 to assemble toiletries and other essentials for the “A Hand for the Homeless Care Package Drive.” Our treasured youth librarian Regina Townsend helped with the event.

A sad farewell to Sue Bothie who has been charming Forest Parkers from the window at the Village Hall for thirty-one years! She was so much a part of the place we never thought she’d leave us. Everyone will miss her and her presence will always be felt there. Good luck and good-bye to a good friend and good worker. Rich Barger and Terry Meffley were honored at Monday night’s council meeting. Congratulations and come back to see us occasionally.

A really Forest Park  holiday show is taking place at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn Saturday, Dec. 20. Local band the Redmonds, fronted by Katie and Jim Redmond will perform, along with a special holiday segment by local children from Forest Park. The kids are a combination of three of Forest Park’s most prominent musician families — the Gasses, Redmonds and Medinas. Ginny and Maggie Redmond, Mariatheresa, Gabriel and Camilo Medina; Ernesto and  Antonio Gasse all live a few blocks from each other and have been making music all their lives. Also joining the fun is Grace Treese.

The Redmonds and FitzGeralds will donate 10 percent of the night’s proceeds to Team Champion Charlie. In 2007, Forest Park parents Michael and Tracy Krupka welcomed baby Charlie Krupka, born four months prematurely at only 24 weeks gestation. Termed a “micro-preemie,” Charlie was one of the smallest babies born at the Advocate Good Samaritan and spent 97 days in the NICU unit fighting for his life. Today, Charlie age 7, is a second grader. He has cerebral palsy, but is defying the odds and learning to walk and ride his special tricycle. The Krupkas moved to a one-level home in Naperville for Charlie’s needs. The fund helps pay for medical/therapy/equipment needs to help Charlie live his best life.

 It isn’t too late to paint a picture or ornament for someone on your Christmas list. Creati.vita will be open to aspiring painters this week-end and next. Here is Georgia Noren Sullivan, daughter of Tanja Sullivan, painting a surprise tree ornament for her brother. It will be a family keepsake for years to come.

We missed last week’s Merry Christmas lesson so here are two for this week. We have a Greek and a Polish “Merry Christmas” for you. First the Polish Weso%u0142ych (phoenetically speaking Ves O Wisch shvee ahnt). Got that?  Now for the Greek “Kah lah krees tu gen( hard “g” sound) ah.” Very good!

Happy Hanukah this week and a happy birthday to L.v. Beethoven, Aris Gianokopoulis, Adam Ritter, Sue Stanton, ,Bill Hopp, Amanda Rychtanek, Tim Flanagan, Irene O’Shea, Diana Dylewski, Scott Popelka, Kaylee Ross, Giacomo Puccini, Angelina Cote, Jennifer Vince, Peggy Madden, Angel D’Souza,Daniel Gerger, Vince Cirrintano, Thalia Becker, Norm Hopp, Marilyn McKenzie, Lauren Duvall.  

 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.

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...