A half a century later …

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Fifty is a nice round number and since I possess a 1972 Greater Roseland Area Directory and a 1972 Calumet Index Ninth Edition Greater Roseland Area Annual Yearbook, I thought it would be great if we could review what was happening 50 years ago.

Roseland’s service organizations were the main topic of the Annual Yearbook. As we’re all aware, Roseland had many charitable service organizations that we or our parents belonged to. I know as a student at St. Willibrord’s High School, I was involved with the Lions Club through the Key Club Program, which got us out on the The Ave (Michigan Avenue) raising funds by passing out Kiwanis Club Peanuts.

I can recall my father shopping for new living room furniture at BASS Furniture & Rug Co. at 11431 Michigan Ave. The store is still there and has been a supporter of St. Anthony’s for many years. It has had the same owners since the 197’s and is still regarded as a vital part of the Roseland community.

First on Kensington and then at 305 E. 115th Street, Pullman Wine & Liquors (Italian Cheese Co.) was a popular after-church stop for St. Anthony parishioners. Brothers Vic, Bruno and Mac Bernardi ran a fun store that offered part-time jobs for many of Roseland’s high schoolers. Even though the Bernardi’s went upscale with the name “Pullman Wine & Liquors,” everyone still called it Italian Cheese. These days the choices like Dal Santos in Crete, D & D Italian Foods in Chicago Heights, Frangella Italian Market in Palos Park, Calabria Imports on 103rd St., or Rubinos in Tinley Park are a distance from Rosleand and require a little bit of driving. They are the places where everyone on the South Side goes for their Italian grocery fix.

St. Anthony’s Holy Name had a very active bowling league well into the 1980s. I know they originally bowled at the Rose Bowl because our St. Willy’s students had a couple of bowling events that took place on their bowling night. For safe keeping, I was given the Holy Name 1963-64 First Place Trophy, which was won by the team from Jim’s TV. I believe by that time, the St. Anthony’s Holy Name League had moved up to Palisades Bowl at 11550 S. Halsted.

I don’t know if it was a St. Anthony school requirement or just the way my dad thought, but June meant “crew cut” time. My brother Augie and I would dutifully go with my dad (as if we had a say in the matter) down to the Veterans Barbertorium at 33 E. 111th Place. Along with your choice of 25 barbers, they had a couple of mottos that kept everyone coming back every year such as “Why pay more elsewhere!” or “If your long unruly hair is not becoming to you, you should be coming to us.”

Of course, if you were down on Kensington, the former St. Anthony’s kindergarten building was the home of Joe’s Barbershop, owned by Joe Giustolesi. The building is still referred to as “Joe’s Barbershop” even though it has been through a couple of owners.

Sunday ritual was always family mass at St. Anthony’s followed by preparations for Sunday dinner. For our family, the routine consisted of heading up the hill on Kensington to Michigan Avenue and an immediate right turn, to stop at Panetti’s for some Roseland’s famous Italian sliced roast beef. I recall my mother bringing a pan into the store with us and it wasn’t until years later when I was talking with one of my sisters that I found out why.

Panetti’s was the Italian store for everything from polenta corn meal to ciopette bread. The ciopette were baked fresh in the basement ovens and sold out by the end of the day. Ciopette, or ciope, were a unique tasting northern Italian horn-shaped bread and were meant to be eaten fresh. If they weren’t eaten fresh, they would harden within 24 hours and could only be eaten as dunkers for coffee.

The reason was in the way the unique taste was achieved. The dough for the ciope was kneaded over and over until all the gases and air had been kneaded out. The bread was never meant to sit on a shelf for more than 24 hours. This unique taste is what led to the lack of ciopette currently being offered in any Chicago area bakeries. The lack of demand means that the bread would have to be stocked fresh on a shelf and that would be impossible with all the gases and air kneaded out.

In the past, I have used pre-made dough and achieved the ciope shape with horns but the taste cannot be duplicated. I’ve given up trying to duplicate the ciope taste we grew up with and am satisfied in duplicating the appearance. By the way, ciopette are available at bakeries in Venice in the neighborhoods around the Marco Polo Airport.

Another favorite after-church place was Jolly Inn at 556 E. 115th Street. Before KFC, Jolly Inn was selling buckets of chicken. Families coming down  the hill” (115th) would make it a point to pick up a bucket for their families Sunday dinner.

If you left St. Anthony Church, lived in Pullman and headed straight home, chances are you hit up one of the Pullman places like Tony & Kate’s, otherwise known as Tony Ha-Ha’s. Located at 114th & Langley, they were such a part of the neighborhood that everyone who lived in Pullman brings up Tony Ha-Ha’s in any conversation about Pullman and food.

For special Kensington celebrations, two Italian restaurants always came to mind. On Kensington and Front Street there was Parise’s restaurant and banquet hall. On 115th and Front Street was Pesavento’s, which was a favorite of locals but more so a favorite of anyone having to wait for an Illinois Central train. Pesavento’s was the place where my family held a dinner to welcome me back after my 1967 tour of duty in Vietnam. Parise’s and Pesavento’s provided many St. Anthony parishioners and Kensington residents with great family memories.

Roseland, Kensington and Pullman had a tight-knit community feel that persisted despite the fact that there were many different ethnicities, religions and beliefs. These differences are what created such fond memories for us. Especially now that many of us are getting up in years, our emotions take us back to the best times in our lives and for many of us that is our lives in the community of Roseland.

Love the column? Buy the book!

Copies of “Petals From Roseland: Fond Memories of Chicago’s Roseland, Pullman and Kensington Neighborhoods” are available from me with prompt delivery at $20 + $5 s&h. My book is also available at D & D Foods, 1023 S. Halsted, Chicago Heights, at Bookie’s New and Used Books, 10324 S. Western Ave, Chicago and at Miles Books, 2819 Jewett Ave., Highland, IN.

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


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.

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  1. My father, Joseph Serafini, went every Friday to shop at Panetti’s for Italian beef, ciope buns and the brick hard cheese. He always choose a hard cheese that had mold on the outside and would scrub it off before it was sliced. Oh. the memories of eating the food from Panetti’s. Dad was a friend of one the bakers, Tito. Sorry I can’t remember his last name. We left Chicago “Thornton” in 1972, moved to Texas near Dallas. I enjoyed the article. Thanks for the memories.

  2. My grandfather drove the bread delivery horse cart for Panetti’s and later my mother did their laundry as they were too busy with running the store. I have a photo of the horse drawn cart with my grandpa at the reins and my dad on a horse. Oh my! Long ago but for some strange reason I dream of 115th Street and Panetti’s along with a carnival at the top of 115th although. I have no idea if my dream memories are accurate. Fun though.

  3. It was 1990 I was signed on to a baseball team to play international games I played 3rd base and caught i started in Roseland little league and then West Pullman so the cubs and others signed us and sent us overseasDenmark,Sweden,Russia,italy We had dinner with gorbachev and then a couple of us headed out while the rest of the guys got on the Team bus and back to our suites As we walked we ended up in Red Square As we entered my police instincts told me that a russian in a blue jacket was no good We went back to watching the kgb high march towards the tomb and suddenly that russian i mentioned was in front of me with a gun in my chest armed robbery I used my skills against the russian broke many pf his bones and disarmed him hid the gun under my left arm pit and ordered the guys to walk away and stay with me The gun hangs on my wall in a showcase nowadays we went undefeated in baseball also then in world games sydney australia we won the gold medal team usa buzzards when i hit a walk off homerun batting 4th

    • John, veery interesting path to go down with a beginning in the Roseland Little League.

      Thanks for sharing this great memory with the rest of us Roselandites.

      Take care and thanks for being a reader of Petals from Roseland.

      CJ Martello

  4. I grew up 24 E. 118th St., across from the home store. I used to go to Ray’s food store with pop bottles to buy our rubber baseballs to play fast pitch at St Louis of France playground. My dad was the custodian there. Bob Bass. What a great place to grow up.

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