Harry Potter fever hits Oak Park again this weekend, with "Countdown to Midnight," the village-wide party in honor of the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth book in the series. Events and activities will be scattered throughout Oak Park beginning on Friday, July 15, at 2 p.m. and ending with the release of the book at midnight.
As I mentioned in a recent column, I can't say enough about Todd & Holland Tea Merchants. This has been true since the very first (serendipitous) day when I walked into that extraordinary tea shop (formerly in River Forest) and met Bill Todd.
There were other white and black pioneers connected with the early sawmill along the Des Plaines River in what's now River Forest, but after a brief sojourn they all moved along further west. In the 1830s, Ashbel Steele (1794-1861) was the first permanent white settler.
Circle Theatre held its annual fundraiser, Private Party, at its Forest Park theater on June 11. The gala Mardi Gras-themed event mixed a $1,000 raffle, a silent auction with more than 50 items, a Big Easy-inspired dinner and open bar with Southern-style drinks, a chocolate dessert buffet and a performance of Circle's current production, Thou Shalt Not.
Denise Doll of St. Petersburg, Fla. and Chuck Brooke, formerly of Oak Park, will be married July 16 on Florida's Anna Maria Island, North Beach. The bride-to-be is the daughter of Richard Blankenship and Marcia Doll. The groom-to-be is the son of Lee Brooke of Oak Park and Mary Domermuth Brooke of Bradenton, Fla.
This is an hour of history that troubles our minds and hurts our hearts," said Gerald Ford in his 1974 inaugural address. He had it right. Vietnam and Watergate were hardly over, and we faced runaway inflation, a depressed economy and energy shortages.
Sharpened pencils. Crisp sheets of paper. Brand-new folders and notebooks not yet worn around the edges. Shiny new backpacks. "It's just cool for a kid to get new stuff," says Terri McConville, an Oak Park resident and chair of the Backpack Project.
What do we expect from a disaster movie? We're conditioned to be satisfied as long as it has three elements: a highly improbable, scientifically embarrassing explanation for the cause of the havoc, a slew of unrelated characters experiencing the disaster and, finally, a superficial light show of special effects. When you've got these three things in a script, it's bound to get made.
On Friday, June 10, the Oak Park Arms Retirement Community hosted its 26th Annual Seniors' Prom, "Summertime in Venice." Following an Italian dinner buffet, residents and guests were serenaded by strolling accordion player Joe Martino. The king and queen of the prom, Helen Ulias and Bernie Gusfield, were crowned by last year's king and queen, Mikki Reinhold and Fred Czerwionka.