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A Pullmanite at last!

Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo! This December issue brings you Christmas greetings and best wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year! I know for myself, this promises to be an exciting year as I have finally become a resident of Pullman. After four long months and many moments of fleeting hope, I have persevered and am now the proud owner of the house at 11403 S. St. Lawrence. In the months leading up to my moving from Chicago’s Wrigleyville back to my roots in the Roseland-Pullman-Kensington area I became involved in many discussions.

They ranged from “It’s dangerous there, isn’t it?” to “That’s great” to “I haven’t been back to Roseland and Pullman since I left in the ’70s.” All of the comments were made with good intentions and with a tinge of curiosity. My response is, “Why would Pullman, which is home to the 5th District Police Headquarters, as it always has been, be more dangerous than Wrigleyville.” I’ve saved copies of the Wrigleyville neighborhood newspaper that details quite a bit more crime than Pullman has ever seen.

If youÕre interested in seeing what Pullman is like today, I invite you to stop by my house. ItÕs the one with the American and Italian flags flying on the second floor. IÕd be happy to give you a tour of Pullman and to share my hospitality with you. Pullman is the closest you can get to your Roseland roots and memories.

In addition, I’ve arranged two bookcases of five shelves each with all the Roseland memorabilia I’ve been entrusted with over the past four years. This is in lieu of the Roseland Rooms we have been anticipating having at the Hotel Florence. The construction that the hotel has been undergoing for the past months has altered the potential for the Roseland Rooms Museum to become a reality.

If you would like to view the items I have on display such as the Calumet Index Annuals, the Operetta Club dinner programs or any of the other various books, pamphlets, St. Anthony anniversary sponsor books, Roseland photo slideshow, or other memorabilia I have on hand, please feel free to call me to let me know you’d like to stop by. All of these items were presented to me so that I can share these memories with all Roselandites.

Many of my fellow Pullman residents have never left the Pullman area since their birth, and others have been residents of Pullman for 30 years or more. When they speak of Pullman, and this includes the newer residents, they all have a personal pride in Pullman. Being a Pullmanite carries with it the meaning, “This is our community: We love it and take great pride in it.” It is a diverse population composed of many ethnic backgrounds, age groups, and occupations, all of whom are willing to share their knowledge, wisdom and, best of all, their sense of family and congeniality. So, give me a call and let me know you’re coming down for a “look see” and I’ll give you a Pullman welcome. In return, you can take me on a Pullman walk and tell me about your memories of your life in Pullman. Remember, you can no longer use the excuse that you don’t know anyone in Pullman to make your visit worthwhile.

Back on Oct. 6, St. Anthony’s once again held their annual reunion dinner dance at Lansing’s Serbian Center. With good food, good music and good friends, the night was enjoyable from beginning to end. Everyone was having such a great time that there wasn’t the usual mass exodus after Fr. Mark finished awarding the evening’s cash raffle prizes.

The crowd of more than 200 had a great time visiting from table to table or around the open bar. For many, this is the only event they attend annually so that they can visit with old friends and even some relatives they don’t see very often. In some instances, it was an opportunity for parents to spend some quality time with their sons or daughters. Some of the names that come to mind are Marilyn Meneghini Carone and her son Richard; Julia Savaglio and her daughter Maria Scaramello; and Kathy Sandona and her daughter Kathy.

The dinner is famous for the dancers who are on the floor every opportunity they get. The best dancer is the always debonair Dominic Valente. The ladies love dancing with him because he definitely knows what he’s doing. This year, another dancer who could hardly stay off the dance floor was Adriano Magnabosco. Once he got his wife Gina’s permission, he spent as much time as he could tripping the light fantastic to what everyone agreed was a very good ensemble that played very danceable music all night long.

The annual dinner dance is St. Anthony’s main fundraiser, and during these hard economic times, things are pretty touch-and-go for St. Anthony’s. It would be great if you could remember St. Anthony’s in your prayers. It would be even better if you would remember St. Anthony’s with a gift during this holiday season. A financial gift in honor of the fond memories you have of your time as a St. Anthony’s parishioner or in memory of your deceased relatives and friends would be timely.

It is unusual for me to make this request, but through no fault of its own, St. Anthony’s has to deal with an ongoing financial struggle. What especially brings this home to me is the fact that when I was a member of a church in the South Loop, their weekly receipts were in the area of $12,000, compared to St. Anthony’s weekly total, which is in the area of $2,300. Fr. Mark has done a remarkable job in keeping the parish vibrant and a true beacon of Catholicism in Roseland-Pullman-Kensington. However, in light of the strong base of our Catholic upbringing, which had its beginnings at St. Anthony’s, I think it would be a right and appropriate action to make a small sacrifice with a financial gift to St. Anthony’s during these difficult times.

For those of you who wish to contact me or make a donation of Roseland memorabilia for display, I am including my new information: 11403 S. St. Lawrence Ave., Chicago, IL 60628. You can call me and leave a message at 773-71-6756 and I will get back to you, or you can email me at cjfranoi@yahoo.com.

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.