In the end — and there will be, at an unknowable date, an effective end to the COVID-19 pandemic — what will matter is how Forest Park hung together during this enormously stressful time.
The buildings will be here, the institutions will survive, though in an altered state, many businesses will return, though some will not. But what about the sense of community, the connections big and small?
That’s why it is so gratifying to see our neighbors turn out to celebrate a young child’s birthday with a drive-by parade of balloons and whistles and waves. To see a send-off to a longtime Forest Park family making a move out of town. To see a subset of the fabulous Proviso East marching band gather on a front lawn to play some tunes in a birthday celebration. To see a Forest Park fire truck rightly at the head of one of these parades.
Betty Alzamora, an occasional Review columnist, is photographing as many of these moments as she can. She does it immediately for the families, in the mid-term for Facebook lookbacks a year from now, and for posterity to show future Forest Parkers how this generation beat the fear and the isolation of living through COVID-19.