A little over two years ago, I began my journey as the author of Petals from Roseland. Little did I know at the time that I would be tapping into the fountain of youth. Of course, now I’ll have to explain myself.
Roseland as we knew it in our youth was a fun place to grow up with the same friends, some we still have today, and familiar businesses and schools and hangouts. I was recently reminded of those days of our youth, not necessarily mine, while at a Spaghetti-Os dinner.
Aldo Panozzo had a small photo album he was passing around the table to his high school friends that all belonged to SAYPA. At first he passed me by with the book, saying “You’re too young. You wouldn’t remember any of this.” Not one to be left out, I managed to get a hold of the book after Carmella and Ed Ryan got through with it.
No, I didn’t know anyone in the book when the photos were taken back in the late ’40s and early ’50s. However, many of the young people in the photos were sitting at the same table with me that night! When I asked for some description of the photos, I was told they were all members of SAYPA and I said “Say what?”
Saint Anthony Young People’s Association was a group Fr. Nalin of St. Anthony’s Pastor helped form to give all the young people something to do after the war years. One of the photos showed a group horsing around in a parking lot and then near some water. I couldn’t place the beach and asked Carmella where it was. “Green Lake,” she replied. That still didn’t tell me much until she clarified that it was at 159th and Torrence Avenue. That’s when it struck me: “P-Soup,” as we called it. Green Lake was the official name.
Some of the girls in the photos were also part of a group of nine St. Anthony’s 1940 graduates that still meet to this day. There are now five surviving members that get together: Carmella Ryan, Diane Greco, Rose Salinas Adducci, Evelyn Spiller and Grace Adducci. Carmella told me that many girl groups got together to knit or sew. But the St. Anthony Nine didn’t do anything but get together and talk and eat; just being together was sufficient to sustain their friendship.
Another “youth” group is the Pullman Tech Alumni Association. Thanks to Olga Brazzale Claeson and Carmen Cal Adducci, co-editors, and the other alumni officers, there is a bi-annual newsletter of eight to 12 pages. It’s not just a newsletter, but a memorial to the friendships and bonds that were formed those many years ago.
They also mention the Pullman Scholarship, which provides financial backing to academically promising youth from Chicago-area schools. Coincidentally, while attending a volunteer recognition party for the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago, I met a new staff member, Emmi Costello, the daughter of former Roselandites Jim and Peggy Costello of Mount Greenwood and Evergreen Park. As I discussed this column and the topic of Roseland, Emmi’s eyes lit up when I mentioned Pullman Tech. Emmi was a very gracious and appreciative recipient of a Pullman Scholarship when she graduated from Mother McAuley in 1989. She told me it was a great help to her in enabling her to continue her education.
This past October, Pullman Tech Alumni held a well-attended all-class reunion at the Oak Lawn Hilton. Their newsletter is definitely a fountain of youth as it restores and enlivens the memories of their classmates as they share stories of a life in Roseland that we all hold dear.
Anyone accessing the RoselandRoundtable on Facebook is given the same opportunity to tap into the fountain of youth. The word has gotten out that we make replicas of your photos or memorabilia. In this way, you can hang on to your precious memorabilia and still share the photos. If you lack computer skills, just ask your children or grandchildren to bring up the Facebook site RoselandRoundtable on their computer for you to view the pictures that we have already posted online and you too will be able to tap into the fountain of youth.
The Spaghetti-Os will meet at 5 p.m. on Feb. 22 at Carlos Lorenzetti’s in Chicago Heights.