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“It’s in the book!”

MartelloSuch a simple phrase for a never-ending trip down memory lane. Throughout the years, Roselandites have entrusted many nostalgic items to me in the hope that they will find a permanent home in a display of some sort. I think it is time to celebrate some of these items by discussing them in my column.

Whenever one of us kids would ask, “What’s the phone number?” our mother or father would yell out “It’s in the book!” Of course, the book they were referring to was the local phone book that was about the size of a half of an 8-1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. The version many of us are familiar with had a yellow and brown cover.

The ads on the cover added to its distinctive appearance along with the books name: “The Greater Roseland Area Directory.” The book that I have in my possession is the 1971-72 version, which is actually the last year I lived in Roseland at 15 East 116th St., IN8-3676). That was just around the corner from St. Louis of France, 16 E. 117th, PU5-0150). That was right next to our friends the Defina family at 20 E. 117th, 264-4432).

Some of the real “bell ringers” that had ads on the cover of the phonebook include Roseland’s KFC introduction, Buckley’s Plantation with Kentucky Fried Chicken, 119th & State, IN8-1144; Roseland Radio TV Laboratory, 10814-16 So. Michigan Ave., PU5-9495 or WA8-7600; Schmid-Lofgren Prescription Laboratory Inc., 30 E. 111th St, 785-0106; and three funeral homes, Doty-Panozzo, Milton Bos, and Carlson Funeral Home.

Of course, the first two pages are the local politicians: 9th Ward Alderman Alex Adduci and 9th Ward Democratic Committeeman Leslie V. Beck, 11102 Indiana Ave., WA8-6668 or CO4-2909; also 9th Ward Republican Committeeman Robert R. Blouin and State Representative 28th District J. Theodore Meyer.

Union National Bank, all phones 468-6500 was a big advertiser throughout the phonebook as it had to compete with the Pullman and Trust Company, 785-1000. Of course, we all remember that Union Bank, as we locals called it, was right around the corner from Giovanni’s Pizzeria, 29 E. 111th St, WA8-9000. Giovanni’s and the Martello family go way back as my sister Jean, her husband Bob, my sister Tootsie, and my brother Bill all worked there at one time or another.

The one pizza place that was near and dear to Pullmanites, Kensingtonians and Roselandites alike was Ken & Dick’s Cocktail Lounge & Pizza, 11358 S. Front St., WA8-1188. The Ken & Dick’s Traverso family still carries on the tradition of great pizza and Italian food at their 15601 S. Harlem Ave. However, the atmosphere and friendships that Ken & Dick’s brought to generations of young people as they grew into legal drinking age can only been reminisced upon—and believe me there’s a lot of reminiscing as those same teenagers now in their 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s gather together at Traverso’s.

I might as well stick with the subject of restaurants for a minute and tie it into Sunday mornings after church. Through the years, there are some restaurants that families stopped by for their Sunday lunch meal to give mom a break and to maintain some kind of family tradition. “Chicken our Specialty” was the slogan for Jolly Inn, 556 E. 115th St., CO4-9442, which I believe had family sized-servings in a bucket before KFC hit Roseland. Going the other way, Mundo’s Venice Inn, 318 W. 115th St, 264-9639, had the westbound crowd from at least two churches: St. Nicholas, 11335 S. State, IN8-3737 and St. Anthony’s,11533 S. Prairie, 468-1200.

There were a couple of other well-known restaurants such as Lorenzetti’s, 128 E. 111th, 785-8574, which is gone but not forgotten because their Chicago Heights location at 560 W. 14th St. is where the Spaghetti-Os club meets every last Tuesday of each month. Before anyone jumps up to tell me that I’ve forgotten a couple of very important places here they are: Pesavento’s, 11500 Front St., IN8-3156 or CO4-9750 and the other end of the block we have Parise’s, 11544 Front St., 264-9500. Interestingly, Parise’s Tavern has a separate address at 401 E. Kensington, CO4-9501 — it was located across the street from the restaurant which was at the corner of Front Street and Kensington.

For the guys that grew up with a car fixation, I couldn’t find gas stations because they didn’t come into being until the 1960s. Before that time, all gas stations provided auto service and repairs so, looking under that listing there are quite a few that I’m sure hold significant memories.

Satriano’s Texaco Service, 11500 Perry Ave., CO4-9612; Spiller’s Service Station, 11736 S. Michigan Ave., 785-9698; Lou’s Service Station, Louis Veneziano, 162 E. Kensington Ave., CO4-9067; and Fehsel’s Auto Service & Towing, 12000 Michigan, 785-9464. Fehsel’s may have been a good place to get your car repaired and your gas tank filled but I remember it for continuously sponsoring a Roseland Little League team.

My last look at phonebook nostalgia is the famed world of Roseland barbershops — union and non-union. Every start of summer vacation from school, my dad would take us down the “Ave” to get our heads shaved — one more way to save money — for a buck. Across the street was the other non-union barbershop with small narrow windows up high so that “union bombs” couldn’t be thrown through the windows.

The other barbershop of note specifically to readers of this column is Joe’s Barber Shop, 203 E. Kensington, CO4-9626. Joe’s has a long history with St. Anthony Church, which was across the street. Joe’s building actually served as the St. Anthony Grade School kindergarten classroom for a time. I believe it was while the addition to the school was being built as the kindergarten room.

I’d like to write about the numerous outstanding florists that had shops in Roseland throughout the years. I recall some of them such as Richards, Matt Summers, Bernard Arrivo’s but, I’m sure that others have experience with more than those flower shops. I would appreciate it if my readers could share with me any recollections they have of their having worked at or used the services of any Roseland florists.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these phonebook recollections and that they spur more nostalgic thoughts and reminiscences of our shared great times in Roseland.

Contact me at 11403 S. St. Lawrence Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60628; 773-701-6756; or 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.

8 comments

  1. great job…always fun to read.

  2. Helen Doyle Miller

    Enjoyed reading your article- great job taking us down memory lane! Thanks.

  3. Mary Ellen Craig

    Thank you, thank you and thank you.
    For putting so many memories in print. We may be a fading generation; but, as long as we have these memories and pass them down, we will live on for generations to come. We grew up, maybe not the wealthiest, but the richest in Family, Loyalty and Safe in our surroundings 24 hours a day. The movie “American Graffiti” could have been filmed on Our Michigan Avenue on any given night. I feel sad for the kids today, they will never know that feeling of brotherhood that we feel for Roseland.

  4. We did not realize it in our youth, but it was a truly a grand place to live, love, and grow up

  5. Great story! My dad always used Matt Summers florist to buy my mom a dozen long stem red roses on their anniversary!!!

  6. Thank you for the interesting businesses in Roseland& Pullman in past years.from J Vezina

  7. My name Rick Zagotta. My families came to Roseland from Calobria and Venice in the 1890s along with my Mothers family, The Santiago’s. when I left Roseland in 1974 the families had grown to about 200 cousins. Your site is just great! Brings back all memories! Keep it up!

  8. Will allwase Remember Roseland and Pullman.

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