Donald Keme and Ashley Lepse enjoy soup and conversation at Soup and Bread Tuesday last week. (Courtesy Mary Lane)

There are only a few weeks left to get in on the Soup and Bread Tuesdays. These dinners are really like a party where you can meet your neighbors and have a great time. These last four weeks will be held at Skrine Chops Feb. 3 and move to Old School Feb. 10, 24 and March 3. Old School is at 201 DesPlaines Ave. in Forest Park. Soup and bread dinners are from 5:30- 8 pm. The “Pay What You Can” offering benefits The Forest Park Food Pantry and Hephzibah Children’s Association. Former Forest Parker Mary Lane is the generous soul behind these events. This activity is sponsored by Lane Custom Framing, Szurko Trio and the Forest Park National Bank. Among the distinguished guests at last week’s soup dinner were Donald Keme from Togo! Yes, we had a visitor from Togo right here in Forest Park. Mr. Keme was accompanied by Ashley Lepse, who is involved with Hephzibah. Donald showed us where Togo is: Picture Africa like the outline of an ice cream cone. Togo is on the west underside of the ice cream. 

Jessica Rinks, our local micro-farmer, has found some land! Jessica was farming at the Altenheim when the village council declined to renew her lease and left her without a place to grow vegetables and flowers. She moved operations to Elgin, but has grown tired of the commute. Her new farmette is on the south side of Chicago. She was matched up with the land through a program called Growing Power. She’ll continue to provide local vegetable deliveries to Forest Parkers through her CSA and she’ll keep selling flowers at the Hines VA Hospital Farmers Market. Don’t fence her in!

For more excitement, of another kind, come to the Schubertiad at the Frank Lloyd Wright Unity Temple in Oak Park. This is a joint venture of the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest and Martha Swisher, music director at the Unity Temple. Music of Franz Schubert will be featured, naturally.

 Ken Trainor’s article in this week’s Wednesday Journal gives a history and explanation of the “Schubertiade” much better than I am able. (That final “e” is from the German). Schubert’s birthday is celebrated all over the world. Musicians have come together, sometimes in several rooms in one house to play his music. Professional, amateur, all music lovers, listeners, spend the day performing and listening to the music of Schubert. Local Oak Park musician Stuart Leitch has long been a lover of the music of Schubert and Chicago’s Pianoforte is sponsoring this year’s event. This year’s Schubertiade will take place on Saturday, Jan. 31 from 3 – 6:30 p.m. at the Unity Temple, 875 Lake Street. Tickets are $20-25 (students and seniors $15) available at and at the door. For more information visit

Continuing the tradition of this musical winter of 2015, is Sts. Peter and Paul Lutheran Church , 250 Woodside Road (that’s 31st Street and DesPlaines Avenue). The Ensemble Monticello will perform there on Sunday, Feb. 8 at 2 p.m. Members of the ensemble include Thomas Weyland, violin; Kenneth Humenyj, cello and David Richards, piano. The concert is free and features works by Beethoven, Dvorak, Copeland and Rachmaninoff. Refreshments will be served following the performance. For more information call (708) 442-5250. 

Elections are soon to be back in the news. This time let’s recall the words of Mahatma Gandhi “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.” Running for offices in Proviso are three well educated people of integrity, and two of them are from Forest Park. In many cases integrity seems to be lacking in our politicians. The children of Proviso East are important, human beings who will live out their lives for the next 50, 60, 70 plus years. They need to be given the best in our power. 

What a thrill that the Harlem Maennerchor und Damenchor performed in Forest Park for the Historical Society Fo-Pa Palooza Saturday at the 1st United. We are lucky there are chances to see cultural events here in Forest Park.

Happy birthday to Marlene Quandt, Matt Walsh, Sharon Andrews, Lisa Pardun, Richie Beam, W. A. Mozart, Susan P. Ainley, Kolton Smentek, Rose Krieger, Aiden Grant, Becky Lauris, Sally Cody.

 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...