Seems the photo ID for our prom couple (OK, OK: wedding couple) was a head-scratcher only for Dan Haley.
Every single guess was correct. All 92 of ’em.
In the 45-year-old photo we ran last week, Oak Park Village Clerk Sandra Sokol, and her husband, David, an author and retired professor, are the 20- and 21-year-old newlyweds.
She’s the one with the smile everyone recognizes. He’s the one people know as the picture-flasher.
“Yes, David does carry the picture in his wallet. He showed it to us at John Seaton’s party at the conservatory last June,” Jean Guarino wrote.
The legendary photo was snapped at a catering hall in the Bronx, just after their graduation from Hunter College, the commuter school where the Sokols met. Sandra says she had an umbrella she needed to share with somebody; she picked him. David says he couldn’t let their one class together end without asking her out.
Less than a decade later, the native New Yorkers landed in Macomb, where David, an art history professor, got a teaching job at Western Illinois University. In 1972, David’s offer from the University of Illinois at Chicago brought them to Oak Park. They haven’t budged since, neither toward Chicago nor toward New York.
“This is home,” Sandra says.
In their almost four decades here, the Sokols have raised two sons – Andy, 39, born on Valentine’s Day and Adam, 41, born on Veterans Day – and nurtured lots of change. They take pride in helping to change the name of the middle school at 416 S. Ridgeland to Percy Julian.
And they beam just as much talking about their days as organizers with the Oak Park Community Council. “We turned around the village’s housing stock,” Sandra says.
Knowing the Sokols is a measure of respect for many, including contest winner Amy Schmidt. The River Forest mom of three got word to us as early as 10:23 p.m. Tuesday – minutes after Wednesday Journal posted online and hours before our papers fell on any stoop. Amy credits her husband, the eagle-eyed Rex Burdett, for alerting her to the photo on our site.
“You know, he’d only met them once,” she told us right after having her picture taken with the Sokols. Amy knew of the Sokols from her days at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
“David Sokol was my favorite grad school professor. Not only is he very bright, but he has a wickedly funny sense of humor.”
For Amy-as for Officer Elizabeth Fox, one of Sandra’s many co-workers who wrote in-scoring a correct ID wasn’t about the prize.
“I don’t need chocolate. I need bragging rights,” Officer Fox wrote.
Elizabeth, you were the first to write us from village hall, so boast away.
To neighbors across Harlem Avenue in Forest Park, having such a photo in Wednesday Journal sparked the usual, “Those Oak Parkers. They’ve got it all,” response. When we stopped by Shanahan’s restaurant to pick up the gift certificate from La Maison de Bonbon, folks were thumbing through our sibling paper, Forest Park Review, and shaking their heads at finding no Sokols.
“We need the same photo contest here. But do we have a couple this adorable?” Radana Shanahan asked.
As for a follow-up here, Oak Parker Trudy Doyle, writing in from Naples, Fla., suggested:
“Next should be a contest to put a caption to that look on the bride’s face.”