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A few great ways to catch up

What can be better than an opportunity for a reunion with old friends to catch up on the good old days of Roseland that we all miss? The answer, of course, is two opportunities! In November (but after my deadline) there was (and will be) the All Roseland-All Ages Reunion Dinner Dance, for which over 400 tickets were sold. However, even before that event for all of Roseland there was the annual St. Anthony Dinner Dance held at the Serbian Social Center in Lansing on Oct. 8

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In a way, the St. Anthony’s Parish and the St. Anthony Dinner Dance can be given a great deal of credit for the resurgence in interest in all things Roseland. The annual event has taken place for many years and has brought hundreds of Roselandites together. In doing so, many people whose only connection may have been as friends of parishioners, also came to the dinners to wax nostalgic about Roseland. This gave them the opportunity to keep Roseland’s past alive in conversations with friends and relatives.

Dan Bovino and I met at St. Anthony’s Church and our talking served as the impetus for meeting with Paul Petratis at the Cal-Harbor Diner. We met there for numerous breakfasts that evolved into discussions about how and where to bring Roselandites together. One of the places we knew where Roselandites got together was at the last Tuesday of the month Spaghetti-Os family style buffet dinner at Carlo’s Lorenzettis.

The St. Anthony dinner dance presents the opportunity for many different classes to have mini-reunions. These mini-reunions have worked well in the past as incubators for coming anniversaries of classes from all of Roseland’s grade schools, not just St. Anthony’s. Many St. Anthony students are married to Roselandites that attended other schools such as Van Vlissengen, Pullman, St. Louis of France, Brennan, St. Salomea’s or St. Willibrord’s to name a few.

At this year’s St. Anthony’s Dinner, the class of 1972 took the opportunity to organize an impromptu reunion with short notice. I spoke with Michael and Ellen Panozzo, Larry Panozzo’s son and daughter-in-law. They operate Panozzo’s Italian Market in the South Loop at 13th and Michigan Avenue. They provided me with some background about the evening at the dinner dance.

Although the information about the event had been placed on Facebook and talked about for months, it wasn’t until a couple of the classmates compared notes and realized they’d be attending the dinner/dance. That spurred them into action and they contacted as many of their classmates as they could find. The result was that about 18 classmates got together out of a class of more than 40.

They were very noticeable at the dinner dance because they were the liveliest, they talked the most, and they laughed the loudest. Everyone was envious of the great time the group was having. The biggest commotion was when they posed for a group photos. As is now the custom, at least three cameras and four phones were used to preserve the historic moment.

The most important outcome of this group’s getting together is that, as they talked about classmates who couldn’t make it that night due to previous commitments, a plan began to develop. By the end of the night they staked their claim to the 2012 St. Anthony Dinner Dance as “40 for the 40th” Reunion. Their goal is to have 40 classmates show up for their 40th reunion. There’s little doubt in my mind that they will make this happen.

Towards that end, Michael Panozzo told me that he’s already established the Facebook Page: St. Anthony’s – ’72. With 25 Facebook classmates already signed on as “friends” they have begun their journey of discovering where their other classmates.

Another reunion

The St. Willibrord’s class of 1961 held their 50th reunion, also on Oct. 8. The main organizers were Linda (Fioretti) Bradley of Rhode Island and Patti (Perrotta) Lange of Naperville who, with other classmates, coordinated a wonderfully nostalgic and fun night. As you can tell by the smiling faces in the photos, everyone had a great time.

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This reunion was months in the planning and resulted in some interesting facts. There were about 38 graduates attending out of a class of 110. Several classmates couldn’t be located and 10 have passed on. The reunion began on Friday evening with a casual cocktail party on Friday, continued with a reunion dinner on Saturday, and ended with a Sunday morning brunch. The logistics of the event were made easier for locals and out-of-towner, by the fact that everything took place at the Williowbrook Holiday Inn on Route 83.

Note e Notizie

Speaking of reunions, if you know anyone who graduated from Fenger High School in January or June classes of 1950, a 62nd year reunion is being planned for September 2012. For information, contact Marion DeMaio Podgorski at 708-895-0669, or Bob Stupegia at 708-532-2567.

The Spaghetti-Os meeting at 5 p.m. on the last Tuesday of the month isn’t just an opportunity to catch up with old friends and to relive great memories. It is also an opportunity to share your photographs of your friends and families that Dan Bovino or I can copy on the spot. It is also an opportunity to bring artifacts such as newspapers, menus, flyers, telephone books and the Calumet Index Annuals and historical documents. So far we have the 1965, 1968, 1969 and 1970 annual in our possession. We would really like to get a copy of the 1966 annual, if anyone has one. It is special because it was the copy that centered on the history of Pullman. Just as the 1968 issue is all about Roseland and its beginning, the 1966 issue gives the history of Pullman from the time George Pullman first decided to build his company town.

If you have any stories or former Roseland businesses you would like highlighted in a “Petals” column, contact CJ Martello at 1501 W. Belmont Ave. #708, Chicago, IL 60657; 773-525-7823; or cjfranoi@yahoo.comRoseland Roundtable on Facebook.

About 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.