Fond summer memories

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We Far South Siders know a good reunion when we see one and this summer was no different. More good times were shared by people taking advantage of the opportunities to attend an array of reunions. Not only was there a major one in Pullman but a number of the Cook County forest preserves were reserved for Roseland / Pullman / Kensington and Fenger confabs.

roseland-flagOnce again, the Annual Pullman Family Reunion Picnic was the most well-attended. In fact, it was the picnic that drew the most varied group of picnickers. I would go so far as to say “virtual picnic” was the reason so many people came to Pullman: they didn’t need to bring any picnic items! Food and beverages were available as well as many extras like beer, flavored olive oil and, for the first time ever: a Pullman flag.

Chuck Livingstone, Ed DeLeon, Kelly Starcevich and their committee marked this year’s picnic with the idea for the Pullman flag and sold out of their first edition and, for the first time ever sold out of their annual picnic t-shirts. The flags were sold at cost and were a bargain at $50. If you take a ride through Pullman don’t be surprised if you see some very interesting flags flying that feature photos of the Pullman National Monument Administration Building, the Market Hall Circle, a Pullman Executive Row House and the Florence Hotel. This committee did a great job and, of course, had to run around like chickens with their heads cut off sometimes with all the demands placed on them. They survived and everyone that came to Pullman had a great time.

Among the picnickers were Joe and Carolyn Panozzo who came in from Yorkville to check it out—like many other suburbanites. The only difference was that Joe is an accomplished piano player, via the Bortoli School of Music, and brought along his accordion. Joe’s musical talents were evident as he filled the air of Arcade Park with the sounds of Italian music like O Sole Mio and a Philip Souza march. The music brought childhood memories back to many of the attendees who gathered at my canopy where I had Roseland memorabilia exhibited.

Since the weather was great that entire weekend, I was able to bring out and display copies of my Fra Noi columns Petals from Roseland from the past eight years. I also had copies of The Calumet Index Annuals, Fenger, CVS, St. Willibrord, and Pullman Tech yearbooks. Of course, I had plenty of St. Anthony celebration books including the brown leather book from the 1961 dedication of the new church building.

The St. Anthony book that was the biggest hit, according to Margherita Alberello and John Pesavento, was the 70th Anniversary souvenir book. To place this book in the right context, the Mass schedule for Sundays had six masses and the weekday schedule had five masses. This 1973 book contains photos of each parishioner family listed in alphabetical order. It was almost the last opportunity for those of us born shortly after the war who attended St. Anthony grade school to see the adults, many veterans, who were prominent in the church. That is to say everyone from the mass ushers, members of the Holy Name Society to the members of the parish council and the scouting groups. It was a real flash back in history for those that took the time to review the materials on display.

A couple of people commented on the copy of the Roseland Sports Hall of Fame souvenir booklet from November 1992. As far as anyone could remember, this was the last time a dinner was held. The book has a number of lists including inductees, almost all Roseland civic and religious organizations and their founding year. There is also a song by Dr. Gene Ossello entitled “Roseland, Roseland” and sung to the tune of “My bonny lies over the ocean.” The first verse: Our mem’ries are not of the ocean. Our mem’ries are not of the sea. Our mem’ries come from Rose-land. The town that meant so much to me. (refrain)

As the day went on, people who couldn’t attend earlier in the day showed up and livened up the day. As people walked around Arcade Park, they would spend time visiting with the different groups of people they knew. Sometimes, they would end up returning to a previous stop with someone they just ran into that knew so-and-so. There was a lot of laughter, storytelling, and reminiscing about their youth and the trouble they got into. There were a couple of visitors who came from other countries such as Australia, Italy, and Spain. Everyone knew someone from the old neighborhood, school, church, or they used to work together at the Pullman Companies or other Roseland companies like Jays Potato Chips.

The Zimbauer family held their annual picnic on the next day and that always brings out a lot of Roselandites. It is a by-invite party but contacting them will get you the invite as long as there is room. There were a number of different groups of people that sat together and reminisced about the good old days. It is always a fun time and gives everyone a relaxing day in a nice wooded setting. Besides the eats provided at the picnic, if you wanted to eat and continue the conversation at the end of the day, there’s an Aurelio’s right at the corner as you go from Oak Park Avenue to 159th Street.

scardineMary and Al Pizzato were joined by Al’s sister Dolores Pizzato Scardine who came up from Indianapolis for the weekend of reunions. It turns out that Dolores and I are related through marriage on her late husband Bob’s side. It’s not unusual for Roselandites to find out that they’re related somehow with all the cousins and aunts and uncles that were part of the fabric of Roseland.

St. Louis Academy alum, Doris Ganz came to the picnic and reported she is making good use of her retirement. She recently completed eight weeks of training to become a docent, tour guide, for Chicago’s Architectural Tours. She was able to visit with some of her fellow St. Louis Academy classmates who I have seen at the Friends of Roseland Pizza Party.

Speaking of opportunities for a Roseland reunion, the next Friends of Roseland Fall Pizza Party will take place at Traverso’s on Saturday, October 1, at 6:00 p.m. It’s $15 per person which includes pizza, salad, bread & butter plus pop or coffee/tea. They like to get an advance headcount which is why Moe Marquardt would like to hear from you by September 27th at the latest.

Contact me at 11403 S. St. Lawrence Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60628; 773-701-6756; or; or visit Roseland Roundtable on Facebook.


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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