Riverside Bank does not have a drive-through.
Always in a hurry, I complained.
But, I was told, by not having a drive-through, people come into the bank, exchange the niceties of life, have a bit more hometown conversation and, in the case of youngsters on weekends, learn about banking while playing Wheel of Fortune.
I was rather impressed with the idea. Everyone has drive-ups. My goodness, in California, one can even do a drive-up wake: a little visitation without ever having to leave one’s car. But here, it was a bit of a throwback to an earlier time when people somehow found time for each other. There is always a plate of cookies, out, too.
But modern life quickly made an appearance as the bank’s change-counting machine could now be run in three languages, as English was no longer enough. In the good old days of banking, a bank employee would take a person’s piggy bank or bag or whatever container held treasured change and run it through a change-counting machine. Now the customer could do it on their own in a choice of either English or Spanish or Polish. Apparently, at bigger, downtown banks, there are even more choices on languages as Illinois, and little Riverside itself, become part of the global economy.
I still come from a generation who recalls that if you started a savings account or a checking account at any bank, one could get a toaster or a percolator or a waffle iron or some other kitchen appliance. One has to wonder where all of those gizmos came from which so peppered our homes as a token of appreciation for being good savers. With layoffs, high gas prices and greedy government officials who keep jacking up taxes, Americans now are lucky to save anything.
I remember my dear grandmother, Babi Shuss, who would enlist my mother or me to drive her around so that she could spread her Social Security checks over many banks. She had lived through the Depression, had seen bank closures, and was going to diversify her meager savings so that she could always make sure that her money was safe. When Cermak Road was known as the Bohemian Wall Street with more banks and savings and loans in one location than even in major cities, the ability to garner numerous toasters and appliances was endless as the savings institutions competed for funds. My grandmother was a master at amassing what looked like a small GE warehouse. As she pointed out, they made for great wedding and shower presents. I could not disagree.
To other issues: One has to hand it to North Riverside President Richard Scheck, who is not seeking reelection but whose efforts in behalf of the American Cancer Society and in honor of his late wife, Betty, has netted huge amounts of donations while continuing to provide a pleasant day for villages. His Betty Scheck Shuffle was another rollicking success with a good turnout with weather cooperating. Richard Scheck will go out with a bang, leaving his mark on North Riverside in so many good ways as a well-managed village that enjoyed prosperity under his tenure.
We also like the farmers’ market, which now holds weekend residence at the North Riverside Commons, providing fresh produce and other products for a healthier life.
And, I have to give a public thank you to one Brian Brown, an employee at Best Buy in North Riverside. Brian, new to Chicagoland from Ohio, is one of the Best Buy geeks who fix high-tech things that mechanically and computer-challenged people like me break. I could not believe the service he offered in such a big, impersonal company. He gave it a face for sure. I am hoping he can continue to be so helpful to people because his is the kind of job that grinds one down. Nothing like disgruntled customers to really make one feel great. But Brian kept his humor, a sunny outlook, while I whined and moaned about my Garmin navigator. Thanks, Brian, hope you get a raise!