Above / Many years ago, for the February front page of PN, photographer Jo Lundeen snapped a picture of her grandchildren near the Landforms sculpture located at the heart of the Naperville Riverwalk, Eagle Street at Jackson Avenue. Landforms by sculptor Jack Arnold was commissioned by the Naperville Art League in 1984 as a gift to the City for all to enjoy. (PN File Photo by Jo Lundeen)
February with its heartfelt celebrations always was a big deal growing up. First the tradition of Groundhog Day captured our attention. Then came Valentine’s Day. Before Presidents Day became recognized as one holiday in 1970 to give federal workers a 3-day weekend, we celebrated Lincoln’s Birthday and George Washington’s Birthday, one holiday at a time. If you finished high school before 1970, you likely remember the fun of all the themed assignments at school that crowded the calendar during the shortest month of the year.
What’s more, at our house Valentine’s Day was my parents’ anniversary. My dad was a fearless romantic and like clockwork on Feb. 14, a dozen long-stemmed red roses would arrive for my mother. And there were chocolates in heart-shaped boxes. One year after an overnight snowfall, Dad went outside early in the morning and stomped a humongous heart shape in the front yard. Mom loved it!
Then one year the price of long-stemmed red roses nearly doubled. Always prudent, Dad opted for a dozen long-stemmed red silk roses that year. As I recall, he tried using the silk variety for a couple years—and then not so much.
My folks also shared the “perfect” anniversary card that depicted the two of them well. That card was saved for dozens of years, going back and forth with a loving new message from one to the other every Valentine’s Day anniversary. Toward the end of their 69-year marriage that card was tucked away. I’m not sure whatever happened to it. My mother lived to be 88. And Dad, four years older, lived another three years until he was 96 in 2019.
Looking back / February 2002
Here in Naperville, life goes on. And last September 2022 is when some readers jested that we’d come of age, mindful that our little independent family-owned business was 21.
More than other years, likely because of the slowdown of events finding their way to the community calendar, inflation and other challenges that unite us, I’ve been flipping through old issues of our publication to see what was happening back in 2002. Golly, it seems like yesterday.
Without much change that first year, this second-page commentary editorialized about our mission, aiming to attract readers and sponsoring advertisers to our new monthly publication. We also repeatedly promoted the development of Fredenhagen Park, one brick and one granite stone at a time.
Under the heading “Getting the most from Positively Naperville” our words professed that this publication was “focused on a variety of events, fundraisers and volunteer initiatives that make our community rich in relationships, resources and smiles.”
We went on about local independent businesses and individuals “that take an active role in a city that offers quality education, great parks, public safety and public services with many opportunities to join in the spirit of Naperville’s success.”
The front page of February 2002 presented the Rotary Sunrise Beaux Arts Ball and the Jaycees 2nd Annual Mardi Gras. Flipping from page to page, fundraising featured upcoming events in February and March such as the 29th Annual Bids for Kids Benefit Auction of Little Friends and the WSI St. Patrick’s Parade.
Other pages pitched the Naperville Municipal Band Winter Concert, a Larry Gatlin Concert at Pfeiffer Hall and the Riverwalk Spring Spruce Up hosted by the Riverwalk Foundation.
And right there on the back page of our mostly black and white publication, a full color photo featured citizen volunteers Paul Hinterlong, Gerry Cassioppi and Pete Stefani with Lisa Tuttle at a Naperville Area Homeowners Confederation Trade Show. The four volunteers were members of Community First, a collaborative group that created advisory guidelines featured in a workbook titled “A Guide to Successful Redevelopment.”
Kindness in Naperville
Moving right along, heartfelt kindness was communicated in a lasting impression titled “Greetings and special gifts of Valentine’s Day” in that first PN February edition. Jeanne Johnson and Larry Johnson, former owners of Art & Frame/Naperville, were pictured in Philadelphia atop the bright red LOVE pop art sculpture by Robert Indiana.
And our pages reminded us that even before Positively Naperville, the theme of the Jaycees Last Fling Parade had been “Attitude is everything.”
Fast forward 21 years and find kindness in Naperville. Celebrate safely. Pay attention.
Thanks for reading. And thanks for the memories.
–Stephanie Penick, PN Publisher