Sneed: Hillary making time for her gal pals in visit to Chicago

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Hillary Clinton is surrounded by a village.

It’s a village comprised of her high school classmates; loyal buddies who shared olive burgers with her at the old Pickwick Restaurant in Park Ridge; chums who grew up with her when she considered herself a Republican; buddies who made her laugh.

And they’ll be with her when she comes to Chicago next week.

“We all stick like glue,” said Bonnie Klehr, who was Hillary’s pal at Maine East High School. Recently, they have been following her on the campaign trail, hitting debates and caucuses to lend their support.

“And that glue is pretty strong,” Klehr added.

In an exclusive interview with Sneed in 1996, first lady Hillary Clinton talked about the importance of her Park Ridge chums: “My friends are from grade school and high school, and they are incredibly honest with me,” she said with a laugh. “There is no evidence whatsoever that they are in awe of me, and sometimes I wish they were.”

They dine with her; drink wine with her; and share pictures of grandchildren with each other. And Klehr even makes necklaces for her.

Clinton, who sports tailored clothes and prefers slacks on the campaign trail, is rarely spotted without jewelry.

“Hillary loves necklaces and liked one I made some years ago so much — one I was wearing during her ‘It Takes a Village’ book signing — I began to make her necklaces she wears frequently while campaigning and giving speeches. She even wore my mom’s earrings when she was on a book tour in England. It made me cry.”

“When we get together it’s really special,” Klehr said. “Hillary is far from the woman critics feel is passionless and calculated. She is so loving and spontaneous. And what you may not know is that she has an incredible sense of humor.”

Klehr also finds it ironic they were all drawn together back when they all called themselves Republicans. “Remember, we were all from Park Ridge. But now, although we have moved to other places, we have become a village of friends.

“I suppose you could say Hillary’s village.

“We travel with her whenever we can; Betsy [Ebeling] we consider our angel. Ernie [Ricketts], Patsy [Bowles]. I think there were nearly 30 of us in Iowa during the caucuses.”

And naturally, Hillary’s schoolmates — including best girlfriend Betsy Ebeling — were also in attendance at Hillary’s sixth Democratic debate with Bernie Sanders in Milwaukee on Thursday night.

• Translation: To those who think Hillary is passionless, controlled and contrived — her loyal Park Ridge schoolmates will instruct you to please think again!


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Top Hillary tips .  .  . 

Trail tales: When Hillary Clinton hits town midweek, she’ll announce the opening of two Chicago campaign offices: One on the North Side and one in a historic building on the South Side. Also, watch for her to appear on the Steve Harvey TV show and hang out with her school buddies, natch.

Downton blabby .  .  . 

Well, well. Do tell: The faux, but glittering pearl and crystal “Queen Mary” tiara — part of the stunning “Downton Abbey” wardrobe collection on display at the Richard Driehaus Museum — was donated as a separate attraction: It is actually owned by Chicagoan Pat Besser, an avid tiara collector.

• Glitter twitter:  It was designed for an episode starring actress Lily James as Lady Rose as a debutante, my dears.

Downton blabby II .  .  . 

Dear, dear me! Brit actor Brendan (nee David) Coyle, who plays the sexy valet Bates in the hit PBS Masterpiece series, was just banned from driving for four years because of a tippling trouble. Coyle, 52, was caught driving mega-over the booze limit on New Year’s Day after spending the month of December at a clinic in Thailand, if you get my drift.

He was ordered to be of service for a while. He certainly has the skills for that, dontchathink?

Sneedlings .  .  .  

Today’s birthdays: Christina Ricci, 36; DeMarco Murray, 28, and Thomas Grusecki, ageless.

Tweets by @Sneedlings

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