Eric Hollander's handiwork produced this recreation of an old Chicago railroad yard. | JACKIE SCHULZ/Contributor

Congratulations to big James Holton who is now officially a big brother. His mother and father became parents for the second time when they produced little Audrey Holton a few weeks ago. The parents are Dr. Jacob and nurse Tricia Holton, congratulations to the whole family, including dogs Jersey and Brisco

Life is constant change as we all know. The 500 block on Thomas was home to the Becker family for probably close to 100 years. The last Becker home was sold last week. It’s sad to walk by and see things from the house that I’d seen so many times. In the old days, Diane and Jack had great parties. What parties! 

Also the 400 block of Thomas has had a Neubeiser living there since 1865. Gary said the last old homestead was sold. Fond memories of his mother sitting under the big pine tree will remain just that. 

The Stover house on Beloit has undergone beautiful changes. Makes you wonder why some of those things weren’t done long ago. Have you seen the old Scolero house, corner Adams & Thomas? What a beauty!

The friendly bench at Schauer’s Hardware finally gave way. Dogs are still welcome and dog treats still dispensed with a smile, but eat and leave will be the new routine. 

No sitting around and schmoozing.

The Symphony of Oak Park-River Forest (and Forest Park and Berwyn, and points north, south, east and west) has its 2016-17 season planned. In case you would like to attend the special non-subscription concert at Concordia University, it will be heard on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017 at 4 p.m. The most beloved masterpiece — the Beethoven Symphony No. 9 (the choral symphony) will be conducted by Maestro Jay Friedman and sung by several choruses, including City Voices, Kapelle Choir of Concordia, Tower Chorale and the Symphony of Oak Park-River Forest Chorus, conducted by William Chin

The symphony’s season will begin, Oct. 2 (that’s 2016) with Heroic Beethoven: Emperor Concerto and Symphony #3. These concerts are held at Lund Auditorium of Dominican University, 7900 W. Division in River Forest. No driving downtown, ample, free parking. Such a deal. And such excellent music. In November you’ll hear Vivaldi, Danzi and Nelsen. The spring concert will be held on March 19, featuring Grieg’s Peer Gynt and Vaughn Williams’ Symphony #8. The spring concert will end the season with the Brahms violin concerto and Kodaly’s Peacock Variations.

Many Forest Parkers are doing their spring garden shopping at our newest: Empowering Gardens Inc. at 7730 W. Madison. This garden spot plans to build a gift shop, where vocational skills will be taught, and job opportunities will be developed for people with disabilities. Donations can benefit from the 501 © (3) since it is a non-profit organization

The photo of former downtown Chicago with the old railroad yard is not a photo taken years ago. It is the artistic handiwork of Eric Hollander done in conjunction with his hobby of trains, minutely accurate and fascinating to see. Ask him. Maybe he’ll invite you down to see this most amazing train display. 

A new monthly book group called Senior Moments Book Group will begin Thursday, June 16 at 1 p.m. At the Forest Park Public Library. The book that has been chosen for the month of June is Orphan #8 by Kim Van Alkemade. You can check out the book at the circulation desk. Come and meet our new library director.

This week you can sing “Happy Birthday” to Tony Sarley, Jack Pingel, Nancy Brod, Steve Huebner, Nicole Rice, Pat Williams, Christy Cesario, Marilyn Lentini, Lucian Duham, Janeen Dunst, Pat Gotier, Carter Leonard, Nick Ross, Stella Kovarick, and Charlotte Caccaro.

Happy Anniversary to Tom and Diane Gatl, Pat Williams and Howard Hansen, Ruth and Jerry Belonsky, and Mary and Walter Murphy.

 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...