"Life's been good to me," says Neil Sheehan, enthusiastically, as he seems to say everything, and some of his best years were spent as a District 97 principal from 1967 to 1987. The man from Libertyville became principal at Whittier School in 1967 ("Being a principal in Oak Park was a real feather in your cap," he recalls).
In 1994, Isabel Wilkerson, then the New York Times’ Chicago Bureau chief, won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for her articles about Mississippi River flooding. At the time, she was living in Oak Park just north of the Harrison Street arts district (our profile appeared in the April 20, 1994 issue of Wednesday Journal).
Talking with Isabel Wilkerson last week about the black diaspora put a lot of things in perspective. Wilkerson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning N.Y. Times bureau chief and former Oak Park resident, is the author of The Warmth of Other Suns – The epic story of America's Great Migration.
Philander Barclay's life came to a sad end, but he loved Oak Park and left a legacy worth celebrating. Which is why the man the Historical Society of Oak Park-River Forest calls "a one-man historical society" was the focus of a "birthday bash" last Wednesday evening.
Being a fan is a serious commitment in Chicago. Being a fan usually means suffering. Championships are few and far between. The Blackhawks' triumph this past spring was their first Stanley Cup in 49 years. The 2005 White Sox won their first World Series in 88 years.
Over 400 Girl Scouts hope to fill local food pantry shelves on Oct. 9, the day they go door to door, collecting bags of food and toiletries for the Oak Park-River Forest Food Pantry (housed in the First United Church basement) as well as the smaller-scale Forest Park Food Pantry (located in the Forest Park Community Center).
Glenn Toppen died recently at the age of 62 of congestive heart failure (we ran his obituary on Sept. 8]. A lifer, he attended Lincoln School here in Oak Park, graduating from OPRF High School in 1966.