Oak Park and River Forest High School English teacher Paul Noble is a teacher, first and foremost. That drug dealer you saw on the first episode of Prison Break (if you looked fast) was Noble all right, but he just plays one on TV.
Many of us remember the simultaneously cheesy and heartwarming television Christmas specials of yesteryear. From Judy Garland to Bing Crosby, all the old stars used to host their own annual seasonal variety show. These programs, which became a popular staple of December television viewing, broke up the monotony of TV's otherwise rigidly constructed schedules.
Mark Maginnis is a big fan of Christmas. When the kids were little, he and wife Diana filled their December backyard in Forest Park with large holiday figures he'd carved from plywood. And lots of lights. "Our Christmas joke was that we got a thank-you note from ComEd," he says.
For just $20, you could have given that special someone a trek to Italy, along with a side trip to Austria, a pilgrimage to a historic monastery, a springtime romp in an Alpine meadow, and a secret viewing of a den of thieves in the Abruzzi mountains.
Young dancers from Oak Park and River Forest will be appearing in the Joffrey Ballet's production of The Nutcracker at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Parkway, from Dec. 14 to 28.
For the last few years, Oak Park's Robert Bailey has spent three or four months out of every year on an AIDS prevention research project in Kenya. Bailey is a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, as is his wife, Nadine Peacock. When the couple found themselves anticipating simultaneous sabbaticals last year, "We thought it would be a great opportunity to spend a whole year in Kenya," Peacock said.
There's a story about a man on a quest who tracks down an old poet because he wants to probe more deeply, to the very core of his poetry. When he finally finds the old guy in a hellhole of an artist's garret, the poet fixes him with a steely eye and asks, "How far do you want to go?" The seeker loses his nerve and says, "Oh, just far enough to say I've been there."
Thanksgiving, as it does each year, never fails to remind me of the lesson about Native Americans teaching the Pilgrims how to farm in the new land. The image that comes to mind from my early school days is an Indian planting a whole fish along with a few kernels of corn, illustrating, no doubt, the sensible farming practice of fertilization.