Home / Author Archives: C.J. Martello

Author Archives: C.J. Martello

CJ Martello has returned to his roots as the author of “Petals from Roseland.” After five years of writing his column as a resident of Chicago's North Side, CJ put his money where his heart is and moved to Pullman, near the Roseland area in which he grew up. Having joined the Spaghetti-Os, Veneti nel Mondo and St. Anthony of Padua Parish and being one of the founders of the Roseland Roundtable Facebook page, CJ has become reacquainted with countless friends and acquaintances from his youth. CJ is looking forward to retirement and completing the books he has put on hold, including one that will encompass as much of Roseland's rich, beloved history as possible.

The many faces of Thanksgiving

What comes to mind when you think of Thanksgiving Day? The Thanksgiving celebrations of our youth will yield one answer. And if you’re talking about Thanksgiving today, the answer will be completely different. And what about your favorite Thanksgiving memory? The truth is that our view of Thanksgiving has most likely changed over time as we have been exposed to a variety of celebrations. My family would gather at my parent’s home every Sunday for the family lunch meal. Ma — God knows there’s no way I’d be calling her “Mom,” that was for the American kids — would put ...

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Due famiglie e la nostra famiglia

I’ve been wanting to write about families for quite a while now, and everything finally came together recently when I took part in a few family events. Family is an important part of recognizing who we are from the perspective of where we came from. The families I’ve been fortunate to spend time with have experienced life in many different ways. Their stories are varied and interesting but the shared common thread of famiglia is all-important to their present day lives, their perspectives on their past and their future as carried forward by their offspring. A generous invitation was extended ...

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Looking forward while glancing back

If only I had a dollar for every time someone said, “I wish we had our Roseland back,” I’d be a wealthy man. It should come as no surprise to Roselandites, but whenever I talk to Italian Americans from Taylor Street, Bridgeport, Melrose Park or Elmwood Park, the sentiment is the same: “I wish we had (insert neighborhood or town) back.” I don’t know if that’s any comfort, but it proves that change is unavoidable no matter where we’ve come from. “But, CJ, if the neighborhood hadn’t changed, it’d be the same.” Tell that to the Italian Americans who used ...

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The best uses of summer

As summer winds down, we recall the events we’ve attended throughout the season. We’ve celebrated everything from baptisms, communions and confirmations to graduations and class reunions to picnics with family, friends and neighbors. All of these events constitute a “best use of summer” kind of life. We Midwesterners so look forward to summertime that you’re hard-pressed to find us at home. This month’s column salutes these best-use-of-summer events and the togetherness and camaraderie they bring. St. Anthony’s always signals the start of summer with its communion and confirmation celebrations welcoming new members into the fold of the Catholic Church. Of ...

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Ready. Set. Reunion!

Once again, it’s time to get your nostalgia on! The Annual Pullman Family Reunion Picnic is scheduled for Aug. 5. It’s time to come together to reminisce about Roseland’s good times. It’s another opportunity to visit with old friends that you haven’t seen since our beloved neighborhood went through major changes in the 1960s and 1970s. Throughout this past year I’ve attended six different events and each time I’ve met someone who knew of this column and appreciated the memories they brought forth. I’ve told every single person that they can continue that feeling and catch up with old friends ...

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Summer seasonings

Once again, we’ve survived another winter. I was going to say “Chicago Winter” but we are all aware that this past winter was hardly representative of a true Chicago winter. This leads us to wonder if this summer will just be a summer or will it be a “Chicago Summer”? You know, summer days where the temperature ascends into the 90s. Or where the gods in charge of climate control keep things dry for swimming and athletics. The summers of our youth always began with the Little League Parade down Michigan Avenue (“The Ave”) heading south all the way to ...

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A mother remembered

May has always meant Mother’s Day as well as the May Crowning of Mary, the Blessed Mother. Of course, those feelings are based in memories of how attending St. Anthony’s School shaped me into the man I am today. I am sure the same sentiment can be expressed by many of today’s men and women who had their early childhood’s formed by the Sisters of St. Joseph and the Scalabrinian priests of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in the Kensington/Pullman neighborhood of Chicago’s Roseland community. All the priests left an impression on the nuns as to how our Catholic learning ...

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St. A’s is planning a Grand Reunion!

For many years on the last Sunday in April, past parishioners of St. Anthony of Padua in Roseland have gathered for a reunion breakfast in the church hall following the 9 a.m. Mass. This year, the event will take on a whole new scope and meaning. An open invitation is extended to everyone with ties to the St. Anthony Parish or its parishioners to take part in a Grand Reunion in the church hall after an 8:30 a.m. Mass on April 30. Monthly, the Spaghetti-Os meet at Carlo Lorenzetti’s on US30 in Chicago Heights. This group is composed of Italians, ...

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A change of venue

  People ask “Do you still go to church at St. Anthony’s?” Of course, those are the people that aren’t on Facebook or my column email list, don’t go to meetings of the Spaghetti-Os or haven’t seen my one-man George Pullman show. Otherwise they would know that I bake something every Sunday for the 8:30 a.m. Mass Coffee Club. Not only do I bake, I do the second reading in Italian at that Mass. This is the Mass that brings many of us longtime St. Anthony parishioners from the “old days” together. We look forward to this Mass because it ...

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Far South Side chroniclers

  It’s been more than eight years since I began writing the Fra Noi Petals from Roseland column, but I haven’t been writing it by myself. Those who came before me such as Mario Avignone also write this column with me. You might well ask, “How do they do that?” The simple answer is through the words they left behind in their writings or in the projects they took part in that have benefited posterity. Unfortunately, I never received any of Mario Avignone’s files, records or copies of his columns, however I did receive copies of St. Anthony’s Broadcast, which ...

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