In memory of Anne Smedinghoff, our adventurous ambassador of peace, River Forest wrapped white ribbons around our trees to memorialize her inspirational vision of peace and possibility.

Every tree on every block of this small, saddened village stood strong, waving a white-ribboned salute, signaling that we had lost a neighbor, a daughter, a friend. For 30 days, candles were lit and memorials held, sharing soulful stories of Anne’s Amazing Adventures. She was our country’s ambassador, bravely bringing books — her optimistic offering of a future beyond borders, bombs, and bans on educational freedom.

Not satisfied with only ribbons, candles and tears, we came together to continue Anne’s vision of peace. Hundreds of students, teachers and parents collected thousands of books in less than two weeks. We created community, commemorating Anne.

Our lofty dream of 10,000 books was nearly doubled: We collected 19,150 books, plus generous cash donations. Thousands of needy kids in Chicago will now receive books through Bernie’s Book Bank, our wonderful partner. And we were part of something even bigger than 60305 — Johns Hopkins and others also collected books in her name. Wow!

For this amazing accomplishment, we thank:

Anne’s alma maters, Fenwick High School and St. Luke School, as well as Lincoln, Willard and Roosevelt schools in River Forest, the River Forest Public Library and Follett Library Resources, Lynn Rees and the Avengers of McClure Jr. High in Western Springs, Kelly Masterson and Barnsdale Road School in LaGrange Park, St. Giles School, the Oak Park Temple and Oak Park Public Library, Keystone Montessori, Grace Lutheran School, and Gepetto’s Toy Store.

Thanks for helping us keep Anne’s spirit alive.


Susan Lucci and her Circle chicks

Join the discussion on social media!