Ah, the harbingers of spring! In my corner of the world that would include the sighting of robins, daffodils and tulips popping up and friends with sports cars driving past our house to remind me of the days when I had a sports car (I miss that Jaguar XKE).
I even saw my first slip and slide on Saturday, complete with shivering kids and moms ready with big towels. Then there are the golf sightings, with clubs shined and a new supply of golf balls.
With golf in mind, we only need to look at the Riverside Golf Club, which was established in 1893 and is known as one of the oldest and most historic courses in the country. But did you know there was a golf range was built directly across the street, where the North Riverside police and fire stations are now? It existed from 1957 until 1975. We liked to call it “Stop and Sock.”
The golf range was built by Fred Wilson, an educator and dean at Morton High School. Wilson was a North Riverside resident, who served the village as trustee and mayor from the years 1957 to 1975.
Children liked to go with parents to hit a bucket of balls and with child-sized clubs in hand, we were thrilled if we could hit the ball off the tee. Teenagers liked to try to hit the machine which picked up the golf balls on the range.
Since many of the jobs at the golf range were staffed by kids, some of them got to ride the machine and became the target of their friends. Occasionally, a ball would slice its way over to the railroad tracks and hit a passing train.
That whole area along the east side of Desplaines Avenue has changed. At one time it was the site of the favorite restaurants and night spots like Melody Mill Ballroom, Czech Lodge and Braccio’s. While the east side of the street is very functional and a plus for North Riverside with all it provides for its residents, you still can’t forget what used to be with appreciation.
Despite the return of cold weather early this week, I took the snow brush out of the car and baseball has started. So whatever is your spring thing, enjoy it and take time to smell the roses, the lilacs and whatever else does it for you.