It didn't used to be so long ago that I was a boy. The late '50s were just right there. Almost current events. Nikita Khrushchev was real and I told my mom I hated him during the Cuban missile crisis. She told me that I shouldn't hate anyone no matter how mad I got. It made more sense to me when the world didn't blow up.
Again this year, Wednesday Journal is asking readers for their nominations for our annual Villager of the Year award. Previously this selection process was as secret as picking the pope. But we asked for your ideas last year and the world didn't end, so we have decided to ask again.
No way in: Here's the money quote: "You bought a house right near North Avenue. There's traffic." Give River Forester Patty Marino the prize. She lives on Ashland Avenue just south of North Avenue and she opposes a proposal to make it illegal to turn right onto her street.
Oak Parkers used to quake at the thought of stores selling liquor. Especially on Madison Street. "Why you know, it's a clear shot from the West Side to Maywood," went the refrain. White liberal Oak Parkers weren't proud of the images it all conjured in their minds: Scary black people. Pint bottles. Endlessly zooming back and forth along Madison.
He talks about the great principal and the failing principal. And test scores don't come up. No mention of data or technology. Rather, Jean-Claude Brizard, the CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, describes walking into two Chicago elementary schools, neither in the affluent neighborhoods of the city, and knowing almost instantly that one principal was a high flyer, the other rudderless.
The Oak Park village board is on to me. Or maybe they are on to us. That would be all of us who use the annual fall leaf collection — the only free service remaining in Oak Park — to dispose of, oh, so many things.
Oak Park, it has been said, is Evanston without the lake. Or perhaps Evanston is Oak Park without Wright and Hemingway. Or perhaps Oak Park is Evanston without the airs. Oh, that's right, we are just as smug — and just as insecure — as Evanston.