INGALLS ST MAM AD 728x90px 03 30 21
12-20-2012-9-52-51-AM-9003045

Garfield Ridge Family Makes Holiday Village

Even the Grinch would get into the holiday spirit after seeing how Garfield Ridge residents Bob and Pat Soltis decorate practically every room of their house for Christmas.

While the outside of their home in the 5600 block of Massasoit Avenue is nicely decorated too, it is the inside where most of the action is.

Pat Soltis said she has been collecting the miniature villages produced by Department 56 and similar companies since 1987, and every Christmas her collection has grown. {{more}}

ÒThey were coming out with new things all the time and I liked collecting them. I was working, and I just enjoyed it.”

ÒI don’t add too much to it now because we just don’t have the space,” she said.

Sadly, the couple felt the need to scale back on their displays this year due to illness in the family. Their son, Bobby, 48, is battling brain cancer, and is being cared for at home.

ÒWith all the doctors and nurses coming in and out of the house, we thought the living room would be too cluttered if everything was up and there would be no room to maneuver,” said Pat.

ÒI thought about not even decorating,” she added, but noted that Bobby wanted the tradition to continue and would have felt bad if the villages didn’t go up.

So now, rather than two large displays in the living room, there is only one. But what a one it is.

Rising up more than six feet, on three tiers of shelving built by Bob, the North Pole collection includes seemingly all sorts of little attractions.

Many are brightly lit and have moving parts. There are elves on moving trains, as well as festive dancers in among the miniature toy shops, gumdrop trees and intricately decorated buildings surrounded by realistic snowscapes.

The retired couple has lived in Garfield Ridge since 1966, raising five children, including Bobby, Jackie, Anne and Jimmy, and the late John. They have eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, and everyone looks forward to seeing the Christmas-themed villages that also include a New England village complete with skiiers and a Dickens village on the kitchen window ledges.

Like the villages themselves, everywhere you look in the house is something different, and if you don’t look closely, you are liable to miss something.

Bob retired after more than 30 years with the Department of Streets and Sanitation, and Pat keeps busy as a Eucharist minister and visiting the sick in St. Symphorosa Parish.

Bob Kargol, a neighbor and friend who stopped by on Monday, had high praise for the couple.

ÒThey are the rock of this block. It is fantastic what they do for everyone,” he said.

Asked to get in a photo with Pat near one of the displays, Bob declined politely. ÒIt’s your thing,” he told his wife, although he willingly pitches in to set everything up.

Putting up the displays is a family affair, with everyone coming over and pitching in, carrying all the delicate figures out of the attic.

ÒIt can take two or two and half weeks to put everything up,” said Pat, noting that she changes the layout every year, so visitors are always noticing something new.

With the grandchildren and now great-grandchildren coming along, the couple is adding to the traditions too.

ÒThe little kids look forward to the real gumdrops that appear under the gumdrop tree every Christmas Eve, and real candy canes too,” she said,

While the couple is not looking too far ahead this year, the displays usually stay up for their annual Super Bowl party, and through February.

Smaller displays go up for Easter and other holidays too.

ÒI don’t mind putting them up but I don’t like taking them down, because that means another year is over,” said Pat.

Local News

Chicago-Red-Stars-Logo

Last home game a winner for Red Stars

By Alison Moran What a way to end a season at home. It was a perfect night for a cool game of soccer, with temperatures in the upper 50s and no rain dampening the field. In front of 4,488 of the Red Stars’ faithful at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, the Chicago Red Stars defeated KC…

Karen Sala

Check your smoke detector batteries

By Karen Sala Your correspondent in Gage Park (773) 471-1429 • [email protected] It’s October. Check the batteries in your smoke detectors. I woke up to the unpleasant chirping of one of my smoke alarms the other morning at about 4 a.m. Thankfully I had a 9-volt battery, so I was able to change it and go…

Mary Stanek

Día celebrations coming this month

By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 284-7394 Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) is celebrated especially by people of Mexican heritage. It is a joyful celebration, rather than mourning. Family and friends pay respects to those who have died. Traditions include building altars…

Peggy Zabicki

Room to grow at new dollar store

By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place • (773) 504-9327 I finally went to the new Dollar Tree at 8444 S. Pulaski. It is a very big store and parking lot. It has the usual fun and useful dollar store items. Everything is still $1. There are lots of empty shelves and room for…

Kathy Headley

Unique collection in need of a caring home

By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 As you may remember, shortly before the pandemic began, St. Rita of Cascia Parish invited Myra Kathryn Richardson to showcase some exhibits from her Mary Eve Thorsen Museum collection in the parish hall. Items from the Dick and…

Mr. Vondrak

A ‘businessman with a heart’

Colleagues pay tribute to Jim Vondrak By Joan Hadac In a business world frequently competitive to the point of being harsh and even cruel, James C. “Jim” Vondrak stood out as a businessman with a heart. The scion of a Southwest Side newspaper family, Mr. Vondrak owned and operated a chain of community newspapers led…

Officer Maureen O’Neill in her final days on the job at the Chicago Lawn (8th) District Police Station. --Greater Southwest News-Herald photo by Lorena Paredes

She bleeds blue

Officer Maureen O’Neill retires after 38 years By Tim Hadac If things appear a little unglued in the commander’s office at the Chicago Lawn (8th) District Police Station, it’s because Officer Maureen O’Neill recently retired after serving in the district for 38 years, 7 months and 1 day. “It’s fair to say that in some…

GSWNH_PurpleForAPuurpose_102221

Purple for a purpose

Taking a momentary break from tying purple ribbons around trees and fenceposts at West Lawn Park last Saturday are CPD Officers Sarai Trevino, Maria DeLaTorre, Raymond Tracy and Jose Supulveda, and Shari Grassmuck and Nancy Arroyo. The group made the park go purple in observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. DVAM has been a national…

GSWNH_HoubyParade_102221

Scouts march in Houby Parade

  Members of Boy Scout Troop 1441, sponsored by St. Mary Star of the Sea Holy Name Society, participated in the annual Houby (Czech word for mushroom) Parade, held in suburban Cicero earlier this month. Scouts enjoyed food vendors, live music, games and a carnival. Any boys ages 11 to 17 from any school interested…

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-1st)

Rush wants lower phone rates for inmates

From staff reports U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-1st) this month continued his push for his Martha Wright Prison Phone Justice Act (H.R. 2489) in the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. The bill would ban the commissions that prisons and other confinement facilities receive from communications providers, which are the primary cause…

Neighbors

Subscribe Today.1
CRR NH Tool Store House Ad
CAPITOL RECAP: Major action expected in veto session's second week

CAPITOL RECAP: Major action expected in veto session’s second week

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – The legislative action was light during the General Assembly’s first week of fall session, and lawmakers in both chambers left town a day early after leadership canceled the Thursday session. That means bigger items, such as a vote on congressional maps and potential changes to the Health Care Right…

Pritzker mandates vaccine for day care professionals

Pritzker mandates vaccine for day care professionals

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker announced an executive order Friday that will add day care personnel to the list of professions that must either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly testing. The governor’s office said it expects the order to affect 55,000 individuals in the state,…

Illinois Supreme Court strikes down Cook County tax on guns

Illinois Supreme Court strikes down Cook County tax on guns

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a Cook County tax on gun purchases is unconstitutional, but it left the door open for a more tailored tax that specifically goes toward mitigating gun violence and its effects. The Cook County gun tax, which took effect in…

Public speaks out on proposed congressional maps

Public speaks out on proposed congressional maps

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Members of the public got their first chance to speak directly to state lawmakers Wednesday about a proposed set of new congressional district maps, and most of those who did were critical of the plan. Democrats in the General Assembly released a proposed new map Friday…

Heavy workload expected next week as lawmakers cancel Thursday session

Heavy workload expected next week as lawmakers cancel Thursday session

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The legislative action was light during the General Assembly’s first week of fall session, and lawmakers in both chambers left town a day early after leadership canceled the Thursday session. That means bigger items, such as a vote on congressional maps and potential changes to the…

Federal court throws out June legislative maps, declines to send issue to bipartisan commission

Federal court throws out June legislative maps, declines to send issue to bipartisan commission

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – A three-judge federal court panel in Chicago ruled Tuesday that the legislative redistricting plan that Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law in June – before official 2020 U.S. Census numbers were available – was unconstitutional because the population variances among districts violated the “one-person, one-vote” doctrine.…

State ramping up vaccine booster campaign

State ramping up vaccine booster campaign

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker on Tuesday urged eligible Illinoisans to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot and called on skilled nursing facilities to make booster shots available to patients and staff by Thanksgiving. Currently anyone who received the Pfizer vaccine and is over 65 years of age…

State worker vaccine deadline extended to Oct. 26 for first dose

State worker vaccine deadline extended to Oct. 26 for first dose

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker announced Monday that his administration has reached agreement with multiple trade unions requiring certain state workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, but it is extending the deadline for workers to get their first shot to Oct. 26 while negotiations continue with the state’s…

Lawmakers returning to Springfield to consider congressional remap, more

Lawmakers returning to Springfield to consider congressional remap, more

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Illinois’ first congressional remap draft is out but changes could be in store as lawmakers return to Springfield Tuesday for the first of their final two weeks of scheduled session in 2022. It’s customary for lawmakers to meet each fall to consider overriding or accepting any…

CAPITOL RECAP: New congressional maps unveiled ahead of veto session

CAPITOL RECAP: New congressional maps unveiled ahead of veto session

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – Democrats in the Illinois General Assembly released a proposed set of new congressional district maps Friday, just days before lawmakers return to the Statehouse for the start of their fall veto session, which begins Oct. 19. All states redraw their congressional districts following each decennial census. The proposed new…

CRR NH Archer Heights Credit Union
Regional First Secure Bank House Ad