Giving thanks for Roseland

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This is the month for giving thanks and Roseland gave us many things to be thankful for. We can start by being thankful for the fact that we ended up with a deeper appreciation for all things Roseland. Whether it is due to the fact that succeeding generations move out of neighborhoods, or the fact that racial flux is an urban reality, neighborhoods do change. However, in the case of Roseland, the change was sudden and shocking and I believe it is this factor that made Roseland a more deeply woven part of the fabric of our lives.

For those of us from St. Anthony’s and the Kensington neighborhood, the church bulletin prints a half page article on the history of St. Anthony’s. This month’s article related the efforts of Fr. Nalin to gain archdiocese approval for his new church. He was rebuffed numerous times until finally his persistence paid off and he obtained the pledges needed to raise the funds and received the approval of the new Archbishop, Albert Cardinal Meyer.

What would have been the state of things in Kensington if Fr. Nalin had not succeeded? What if no new basilica-like church had been built? Today, we can be thankful that Fr. Nalin succeeded and St. Anthony’s has become a linchpin for any vibrant activity in the Roseland Kensington neighborhood.

Those who attended the Oct. 9 St. Anthony Dinner Dance at Chateau Bu Sche, showed their thanks in buying tickets to the event and the raffle that took place. In return, they spent a wonderful evening reuniting with old friends and reliving their memories of St. Anthony’s and life in Kensington.

One of my recent columns was about “the Ave.,” (Michigan Avenue), which was a mainstay of our youth and provided us with many things for which to be thankful. Gail Sisnoski Willet reported that the column was handed out to attendees at the Fenger June and January 1963 Reunion, which was held recently and attended by 242 people. The column was a great starting point to get memories and stories flowing.

I’m sure we all had a particular store that we favored in addition to Gately’s, which was everyone’s favorite. From Zordan’s for music to Karmel Korn for a treat, we have so many stories to be thankful for.

There’s Palmer Park, which had to be one of the best parks in the entire city: the great outdoor swimming pool for kids to play in all day long and adults to enjoy in the evening. What made Palmer Park so great? Summer camp and year around programs, seven baseball diamonds, and bocce ball and horseshoe courts and Halloween parties, which are all deeply imbedded memories to be thankful for.

The education we received is definitely something to be thankful for, whether it was the schooling we received from the older kids on the Ave. and in the parks, or the more formal education from one of the many Roseland schools. There were the high schools — Fenger, Chicago Vocational, St. Willibrord and Mendel — which provided us with the basics to move on in life as we saw fit. Of course, I can’t mention the high schools without the dances at St. Willibrord or Mendel. We’ve got plenty to be thankful for in the memories of those dances. Everything from first dances to first kisses to getting separated by the brothers at Mendel’s for dancing too close.

We are at the age where memories of our lives mean more to us and we are fortunate to have so many memories to be thankful for. Due to the changes that took place in Roseland, our memories are frozen in time. We were the generation to experience the closing memories of that chapter in the life of Roseland.

Note e Notizie
The Veneti Nel Mondo will meet Nov. 7 at Redeemer Lutheran Church,158th and Lavergne, Oak Forest. On August 29, I attended their Madonna di Monte Berico luncheon at Villa Brunetti with about 85 other members … The SpaghettiOs will meet on Nov. 30. At the latest meeting, we were entertained by the Convertibles, an a cappella group including Augie and Louis Gonzalez, who we grew up with in Roseland. Contact them for parties or reunions at … The Fenger class of 1966 is planning a reunion for next summer, with more info to follow.

Contact CJ Martello at 1501 W. Belmont Ave. #708, Chicago, IL 60657; 773-525-7823; or; Online: 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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