This Saturday is Woody Guthrie's centennial. He was born on July 14, 1912 — Bastille Day, which seems appropriate for a singer/songwriter famously dubbed the "Dust Bowl troubadour," who emerged from Depression-era Oklahoma and defiantly pasted a label on his guitar that read, "This machine kills fascists."
It's the Fourth of July, the country's 236th birthday. It is also the 236th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence — a document that hardly anyone reads except when forced to in school. As is our custom, whenever the 4th lands on a Wednesday (the last time was 2007, before that 2001), we print the bedrock text of democracy in its entirety.
I'm not really a perfectionist, though I do have a hard time living with my mistakes. I'm not really obsessive compulsive, though I do have tendencies. I'm not really anal retentive, but … let's leave well enough alone.
Do you have a favorite tree? One of mine is the big old mulberry bifurcating broadly at the northwest corner of Oak Park Avenue and Lake Street. That's also one of my favorite corners — a triangular, cobble-stoned people place with plenty of places to sit and, of all things, a Prairie-style "horse fountain," adapted to serve as a watering hole for human beings.
Oak Park and River Forest High School is the state champion in baseball. It's particularly sweet since they weren't expected to win it all this year (finishing third in their conference) and because they disposed of their archrival, Lyons Township (the defending state champ), winning on a walkoff single in the last half of the last inning.
Sometimes you just have to stare down uncomfortable truths and state them publicly. Wednesday is my 60th birthday. As milestones go, this one offers a unique vantage point, so for those who want a preview (or a review), here's my report on how the world looks at 60.
Way back in March of 1993, I wrote about my search to track down Mrs. Cannon, a legendary teacher at Ascension School back in the 1960s and early'70s. I had written a nostalgia piece about her a few weeks earlier, and it generated quite a response. Everyone wanted to tell a Mrs. Cannon story.
Scoville Park at Oak Park Avenue and Lake Street takes up just shy of 4 acres, or one square block. It doesn't look big, but there's a lot more going on here than meets the eye. The park is collared by trees and almost every one tells a story. This is the epicenter of the park district's memorial tree program, the largest concentration of trees dedicated to individuals, the dead and the living.
What if birds didn't sound as lovely as they do? I thought about that one morning before the sun rose. Most mornings this spring, I have awakened to the sound of birds. They start singing early, just after 3 a.m., beginning with a robin, usually, in a tree outside my bedroom window.