Collecting memories

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We often find comfort in our memories! Fond memories are wonderful not just because they sustain us in life’s calm or rough waters, but because they are self-replenishing: Every day brings us new memories that we store in our mental Rolodex files. When the time is right, we just send that Rolodex spinning until we hit upon the memory that will bring a smile to our face right when we need it.

Fortunately, through readers of my column, St. Anthony parishioners, Spaghetti-Os members and and Pullman residents, I am often presented with great material that brings up many memories. I’ve been gifted with materials for my Roseland Collection that people have decided hold no interest for their family members. I gladly accept these items so I can write about and display them for the enjoyment of others.

I’ve received everything from St. Anthony graduating class lists and photos to program and dedication books for parish and community events. I’ve also been given old copies of local and Chicago newspapers that have relevant articles. Bob and Donna Stella have given me a variety of items and Evelyn Campbell and Joe Galassini gifted me a 1950 St. Anthony School dedication booklet and 100th anniversary booklet for the parish along with two cloth dedication badges.

Dennis Stella (St. Anthony’s class of 1971) contacted me about his visit with Sr. Sharon, principal of Saint Anthony’s School from 1971 to 1992. They recently connected when Dennis found himself near the Congregation of St. Joseph at 1515 Ogden in La Grange Park. He made it a point to stop by and introduce himself to Sister Sharon and Sister Joanne Vallero (St. Anthony Class of 1959). He had such a good visit and after having read some of my columns, he asked me to join him on his next visit.

Sister Sharon is holding her own and doing fine. Sister Joanne happened to be having a visit from her brother Jim, class of 1963, from Chicago Heights. The timing couldn’t have been better. We had a grand St. Anthony-Roseland-Pullman reunion right there in Sr. Sharon’s apartment. Dennis’ gregarious nature kept the conversation flowing while I let everyone look through the memorabilia I had brought along from my Roseland Collection.

The best part of our little get-together was the far-reaching topics we covered, since Sr. Sharon even spent some time living in Pullman and Sr. Joanne and her brother Jim grew up there. A special thanks to Sr. Sharon and Dennis for creating such a unique and special occasion.

The book I received from Evelyn was for the 1951 dedication of the school addition, which I hadn’t realized was the entire building on the west side of the school. I was in kindergarten at the time and 6 years old so I’d hardly have any recollection.

That is why I found the photos in the booklet so fascinating. I graduated in 1961 so I was actually among the first students to make use of the “addition” from the first grade through the eighth grade. The booklet has many photos showing the classrooms with the built-in cloak rooms and even the recreation room with a shuffle table game. In the future, I will be scanning the entire booklet and posting it on my Roseland Recollections Facebook page, where I hope its appearance will bring up more stories that people will share. The following photos are of the 1951 kindergarten, the shuffleboard and the glider with styling teens.


The other book from Evelyn was from the 2003 centennial celebration of the founding of St. Anthony’s. While leafing through this book, I was fascinated by the families that are represented in page after page paid for by donations. There are family names that I recall from growing up, but this book takes those names way back to the 1903 beginning of St. Anthony’s.

From the Adducci families and the Bernardi’s of Italian Cheese, to the family of organist Virginia Marcon and the Gianottis, to Joe Aurelio of Aurelio’s Pizza and the Dal Santo family of Dal Santo’s Italian Sausage and Catering, these ads wishing the best to St. Anthony’s are a throwback to a time we all remember fondly.

The parishioners of St. Anthony’s have always shown strength and faith in the belief of the goodness and success of the mission of St. Anthony’s to always be there for its parishioners. The parish of St. Anthony’s has survived through many changes in the area, in the economy and in the number of parishioners. There has never been a lack of caring parishioners coming forward throughout the years, as is shown by 2003 Centennial dedication booklet.

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 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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