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.

Random Roseland memories

Throughout the more than 10 years I’ve been writing Petals from Roseland, I’ve been told many stories. I’ve also conducted many interviews with friends, family members and readers. These have yielded a treasure trove of random snippets, some of which I’d like to share with you now. The Pullman Tech All Class Reunion back on Oct, 14, 2016, was a special event for me because I finally got to meet accordion and keyboard player Frank Rossi in person. He, Michael Vittori and Bruce Meyer have been entertaining Roselandites for years but this was my first face-to-face encounter. We’ve been buddies ...

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A never-ending love story

  You might think that I’ve covered all the Roseland bases after writing this column for 12 years. Not so! So many people have such a deep love for Roseland that it’s become a never-ending love story. I’ve been busy lately, what with selling my book, delivering local copies, and, as always, keeping an open ear for all things Roseland. As a result, I’ve found three more groups of Roselandites that regularly meet to share a meal and reminisce. I’ve attended a number of those casual meet-ups,  interviewed a 94-year-old mother of seven from Roseland, received more Roseland memorabilia for ...

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The Easters of our youth

Many of the traditions we grew up with have gone by the wayside. Somewhere along the way we’ve come to realize and accept, albeit grudgingly, that change happens — without our approval! Halloween is working hard to overtake Christmas as the major holiday of the year. President’s Day his when we buy our mattresses at great savings and, rather than focusing on former members of the military, Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day weekends have regrettably become opportunities to save money on appliances and material for home improvements The Easter of today is more about bunny rabbits and plastic eggs in ...

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A book and a look at Pullman’s past

This is definitely that time of year when winter has dragged on for too long and we’re anxiously awaiting spring. It’s also a time when we can look back on what’s taken place over the winter and ahead to what might be coming up. First and foremost is the celebrated publishing of my book, which is a compilation of the best of 10 years of my column: “Petals from Roseland: Fond Memories of Chicago’s Roseland, Pullman and Kensington Neighborhoods.” The book was in print by mid-December and became an instant hit as a Christmas gift around the world. I can ...

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St. Anthony’s is alive and well!

The Chicago Catholic has been reporting a lot lately that the Chicago Archdiocese is going through many changes, and we know that it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future due to the ever-changing demographics of Chicago and its suburbs. Parishes are being closed or consolidated a couple of times a year, sparking valiant rescue efforts by the affected parishioners. Roseland’s St. Anthony of Padua Parish has not been affected or mentioned in these announcements. Many Roselandites have wondered whether our St. Anthony’s has closed. These are usually former residents who haven’t been back to Roseland in 40 ...

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Echoes of a bygone Roseland

When we were in our 20s, it was a whole different ballgame. Way back then, we couldn’t possibly have predicted what our life would be like as we enter this new decade of the 2020s. We’re all aware that the Roseland we grew up in has changed dramatically over time and some of us former Roseland residents have taken daytime trips to today’s Roseland to see just how much change time has wrought. Many of the houses we grew up in have had their date with the wrecking ball. Some fell apart sooner rather than later for lack of tender ...

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Christmas through Italian-tinted lenses

Christmas is a time for celebration, but how celebrate has changed over the centuries. How do you celebrate Christmas? Do you embrace the more secular version embodied by Santa Claus with his big bag of presents, or the more religious one in which gifts are given in recognition of God’s gift to us of His Son Jesus Christ? One tradition I embrace is the Christmas story told by Mario Avignone, the founder of this column. Fr. Pierini asked him decades ago to start writing Petals as a way of keeping Roseland alive in our hearts. In my 10-plus years as ...

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Winter brings out the neighbor in us

“Winter’s on the horizon, and as true Chicagoans, we may complain about the weather, but we handle it like troopers. We realize that resistance is futile. We all have friends who have become “snowbirds,” escaping to Florida annually and, this year, straight into the arms of Category 5 Hurricane Dorian! By staying in Chicago, we deal with life as we always have. And yet, we’ve never had to rebuild or relocate. That being said, winter can be a great time for recalling the way we’ve dealt with our major storms — the Chicago way I recall being home on leave ...

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Pullman Tour celebrates an urban-design gem

Here we are headed into fall, another seasonal change — which we know we have no control over, other than doing our part to lessen climate change. Autumn in Pullman is an interesting season because a whole new view of the community is revealed to us. As the leaves change color and fall from the trees, decorating the ground in lyrical shades of sienna, auburn, red and yellow, we begin to see more clearly the urban masterpieces created by architect Solon S. Beman and landscape designer Nathan F. Barrett. Beman’s Queen-Anne style was exactly what George Pullman wanted to see. ...

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Summer’s over, but life goes on

We’re finishing up another great summer in Chicago, with fond memories of many activities and so much to look forward to. Here in Pullman, the Pullman Artspace Lofts project is nearing completion and the first tenants are brimming with expectation while they wait for their move-in date. The construction fence is gone and the larger construction vehicles have done their job and the buildings are looking more Pullman-like than they did in the artist’s renderings. After ten years, the community will see how the added designation of “artist colony” melds with the national reputation Pullman has as a preservation community ...

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