Oak Park's Ranger Scouts may not have the same legacy as the Boy Scouts of America, but a handful of parents believe an alternative is better until the 100-year-old group changes its course on discriminating against gay scouts and leaders.
They were the first generation out of the closet, recognizing their sexual orientation when homosexuality was still illegal in many states, when it was still classified as a mental illness by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-II).
Posha Carter remembers some of the family stories shared with him by gay teens from Oak Park and surrounding suburbs when he was youth leader with OPALGA, the Oak Park Area Lesbian and Gay Association.
The stories of two Oak Park same-sex couples illustrate how far society in general has changed in the last 30 years. When Leah Fowler was a teenager in the early 1990s, she would, from time to time, have crushes on girls she knew, but she resisted the possibility that she might be gay.
It was a dream eight years in the making. When Oak Park artist Mike Hedges and his wife Julie purchased a home across the street from her parents, they knew what they were taking on: a mortgage and a plan for their future family. Hedges knew the responsibility came with a downside.
Opening night of Oak Park Festival Theatre's Amadeus was threatened by impending predicted showers but the rain held off until literally the last lines of dialogue were being delivered. Talk about a show-biz miracle! This classy, riveting production was savored by a large, receptive audience; not one person left early despite the ominous distant rumblings of thunder.
The second Sacred Spaces House of Worship Walk, co-sponsored by the Oak Park-River Forest Community of Congregations and the Historical Society of Oak Park-River Forest, offers tours of seven churches, temples and chapels in north Oak Park and River Forest on Sunday, June 23, from 2 to 5 p.m.
One parent had an easier time than others; she has seen the dress her daughter was wearing at four other OPRF graduations. In fact, Mary (Pigoni) Herner wore the dress herself in 1980. Her sisters, Nancy and Peggy, wore it in 1976 and 1977, respectively. Mary's daughter, Maranda, wore the dress in 2007, and last Sunday, Eleanor (Elle), Class of 2013, became the fifth female to don the flowing gauze creation with delicate lace and ribbon trim.
In Oak Park, Frank Lloyd Wright is known for a lot of things. Not only is he the father of the Prairie Style of Architecture, but his personal exploits have added intrigue to his narrative. Personal life and foibles aside, Wright houses are not typically thought of as family-friendly. Architecture aficionados often treat Wright homes as lived-in museum pieces. Lovers of modern, open-concept homes, meanwhile, think Wright's style means small rooms, low ceilings and dark interiors, ill-suited to the way families live today. One Oak Park family says both stereotypes are wrong, insisting their Wright home is perfect for their family of four.
The Alphawood Foundation has announced the lead gift of $10 million for the restoration of the 1908 Unity Temple, rated by ZAGAT as "one of the coolest churches in America." This is big! The grant is intended to be seed money to support the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation in fundraising for $22-25 million to restore our stunning "Jewel Box" on Lake Street.