On Friday, May 12, Ken Trainor launched his latest book, Our Town Oak Park: Walk with Me in Search of True Community, at an event attended by 50-plus locals — DOOPers [Dear Old Oak Parkers] and otherwise — at the Oak Park River Forest Museum, 129 Lake St. Having had the opportunity to get a sneak preview of the work as its main copy editor, I was in turns informed, entertained, and finally excited to see this collection of three decades of Ken’s Wednesday Journal columns all in one place.
I had read many of the columns at the time they had originally appeared in the Journal, but evidently had missed many more. I learned a lot, smiled a lot, and sometimes was quite touched by these very local yet universal stories.
Taken together, these tightly-crafted and pithy pieces reminded me that Oak Park has an unusually strong sense of place, and this place has an unusually strong sense of its own civic self. We represent something, and it’s important, and it is ours.
It’s also important to note, in this age of short attention spans, that it’s a really easy read. I’ve been recommending Our Town Oak Park (the title deliberately hearkens back to Thornton Wilder’s classic play) as a gift idea this spring for local graduates, but I’m still creating a gift list for others I know who used to live here and would like to remember a special place and time in their lives.
Thanks for letting us walk with you through this place, these people, and these memories, Ken. We look forward to continuing to walk with you in the coming months and years through your columns in Wednesday Journal.
Oak Park, 1992-2021