And then there were eight. Neil Armstrong's death last week sent me into a tailspin of memories and musings about the space program, which played a central role in my 1960s' childhood, filling me with optimism and pride and, most of all, wonder.
We live at the intersection of Continuity and Change. As I write this — at the intersection of Oak Park Avenue and Lake Street — I'm looking at the hole in Scoville Park where my mulberry tree used to be. It wasn't my tree, of course, but I was fond of it. I wrote a column two months ago [When being 'shady' is a blessing, Viewpoints, June 20], extolling the virtues of shade, which this particular tree provided in abundance at the entryway to Scoville Park, a popular gathering place.
Thirty years ago, on June 30, 1982, the deadline for passing the Equal Rights Amendment expired, falling three states short of the 38 needed to clear the three-quarter bar required for ratification. Illinois was one of the only northern states failing to ratify. A devastating defeat? Depends on how you look at it.
Every Sunday over at Unity Temple, Pastor Alan Taylor tells the assembled, "Whoever you are, wherever you are on your life's journey, you are welcome here" (he stole it from the UCC Church). Regardless of its origin, that message should be spoken at every house of worship every single Sunday. And I'll take it one step further: It ought to be the motto of the Village of Oak Park.
Over the years, I've learned to be skeptical of anyone who claims to be in possession of "the facts." Media messiahs are forever spewing overcooked statistics from half-baked sources. If you don't know the source, "caveat redemptor."
Shakespeare in the park is as pleasant a way to while away a hot August night as you'll find, especially this summer. If you're looking for a silver lining in the Drought of 2012, it's right here: zero mosquitos and almost no chance of being rained out.
So here we are, a dozen years into the third millennium, and evidently no one is safe — anywhere. We and our loved ones are completely vulnerable to any deranged individual with a grudge and access to all the guns he wants, who takes it into whatever's left of his mind to make a name for himself by shooting up a herd of docile humanity, collected passively somewhere for his killing pleasure.
Has anybody seen my comfort zone? I can't find it and can't remember the last place I saw it. Maybe just before the hot-air balloon lifted off and I found myself floating a thousand feet in the air (roughly the height of the Sears/Willis Tower) in the middle of a vast open plain surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. That was in May when my son and daughter-in-law gave me a surprise 60th birthday present. I was terrified and thrilled and got to cross an item off my "bucket list."
On Sunday, July 8, I attended a presentation at the Hemingway Museum by Chicago Tauromachy, a collection of bullfighting aficionados and Latin culture enthusiasts, which includes local residents as diverse as Linda Tibensky, the Oak Park Republican Committeeman, and Carol Dudzik, the former longtime principal at Lincoln School.