Looking back on 2012

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Happy New Year to all of my Roselandite readers! This past year has been a very busy and blessed one for me. I’ve now been writing this column for four years and wish to thank everyone who has contributed information and photos to Petals from Roseland. I also would like to thank all of those who, throughout that time, have entrusted their Roseland memorabilia to me. Those items are currently on exhibit and available for viewing in my Pullman home until we secure space in the Hotel Florence for the Roseland Rooms Museum.

This also was the year I purchased a Pullman row house, which was built in 1882, and have transformed it into a comfortable home. I hope to complete the interior decorating in time for the 40th Pullman Open House Tour.

My daughter Jamie and her husband, Eric, also had their first child in 2012, my first grandchild, Fiona Francella Reinhardt. The happy family lives near O’Hare Airport.

In August, I attended the wedding of my son, Lt. Cmdr. James Martello, to Heather Koerner in San Diego, Calif. Although they met in the U.S. Navy in San Diego, it turns out that Heather’s parents are from the Chicago area. As a matter of fact, a good portion of their wedding weekend was spent talking with her grandfather about the areas he grew up in–Morgan Park, Beverly and, of course, Roseland! Every time I’ve been to California, I’ve always run into someone who is from Roseland or is related to a Roselandite.

As I said, 2012 was a very busy year, and I’d be very surprised if 2013 could live up to the hype and happenings of the previous year. Either way, I’ll be content as long as I’m looking down at the daisies instead of up at them.

But it’s also been an emotional year. October 25 was the one-year anniversary of the passing of my old friend Angelo Piolatto. Angelo was very active with St. Anthony’s, from the bowling league to the building committee for the new church. I was very pleased and surprised to be contacted by Angelo’s son, Augie, and his wife, Kathy. Augie asked if I would like a poster advertising a St. Anthony event that his father had amongst his belongings. I jumped at the opportunity and told Augie that I would definitely drive out to Manteno to pick up the item.

We made the arrangements, and I took the trip on a Saturday. Augie’s generosity in sharing his father’s St. Anthony memorabilia made the 50-mile journey well worth it. Besides the poster, Augie gave me the St. Anthony’s Holy Name first place bowling trophy for 1963-1964. It was awarded to the team from “Jim’s T.V.,” which included Angelo Piolatto (Captain), August Piolatto, Ronnie Panozzo, Peter Pittacora and Bruno Bernar. The trophy now can be seen in the Roseland display in my home.

Another item that is on display is Angelo’s band uniform from his teenage years. It is in perfect shape and previously had been at the Modern Way Dry Cleaning in Calumet Park, 127th & Page, on March 25, 1977. I know this fact because the receipt and plastic bag are still attached.

The prized featured item, which I’ve reframed for viewing, is a poster announcing the St. Anthony dance. Not only is it for a dance, it’s for the First Annual Dance given by the St. Anthony Holy Name Athletic Club. The event took place on Saturday, Feb. 11, 1950, at Eagles Hall, 2427 Grove St., Blue Island. The rest of the poster read: “Music by Jimmy Day & His Orchestra; Entertainment in Rathskeller; EntrŽe 8:30 p.m.; Admission 85 Cents, Tax Included.”


The first question that comes to mind is what does “Entertainment in Rathskeller” mean? Second, did the Athletic Club encompass a baseball, bocce or football team? Does anyone remember having attended this dance, and was it a successful fund raising effort? Inquiring minds would love to know.

Surrounding the central information area of the poster, there are 23 ads for various businesses on both sides. Interestingly, there are very few businesses that I was aware of when I grew up in Kensington in the 1950s and ’60s. The addresses are all familiar, but they are the addresses of different businesses than I recall. Let’s go over some of those addresses to see if you readers can provide some insight to us younger Roselandites.

Here they are: Chuck Lofrano & Reno Ostarello Car Servicing, 13633 Indiana Ave.; Anthony Fraccaro & Son Beer & Liquors, 644 E. 115th St.; Deer Head Inn, 614 E. 113th, and the Tumble Inn, 11250 Langley, both Maria Valente, owner; Four Clover Inn, 311 E. Kensington, A. Neckroshis, owner; Mary Lou’s Tavern, 228 Kensington; Pete De Maio Sports Equipment, 11446 S. Michigan Ave.; Lofrano’s Music Store, 11748 S. Michigan Ave.; Fin & Feather Club, 11301 Champlain, Frank Fabris, owner; Tony’s 1350 Club, 139 E. Kensington; Art & Ang’s Tavern, 11366 Champlain; and Ted’s Grocery & Market, 617 E. 114th St.

Those names and addresses should ring a bell with some of you former Roselandites. Please call, write or e-mail me with whatever recollections you have. I’m sure other neighborhood stories will come to mind as you recall visiting some of these businesses.


Back in mid-November, I held a housewarming at “Casa Martello,” my home in Pullman. Throughout the day, about 125 people joined in the celebration and among them were: Bev Carli; Jo Navarrette; Lou Ann Pretto; Anna, Dennis and Nadia Magnabosco; Bonny and George Sandona; and Joe and Josephine Pesavento. Gina and Adriano Magnabosco were there in spirit because they had the Veneti nel Mondo meeting to attend, but Gina put in the hard work to make a tray of her wonderful grustoli, which the guests very much enjoyed.

In memoriam

Josephine Ibarra, 88, Richton Park and Roseland, St. Anthony Parish. Wife of Isadore “Ace” Ibarra. Mother of Virginia (late Stanley), Michael, Robert (Patricia), Audrey (Edward) and Frank (Georgeen).

Jennie Benetti nee Ghidotti, 89, South Holland and Roseland. Wife of the late Orlando Benetti. Mother of Vera (Robert) and Barbara (Donald)

Russell B. Sonneveld, 63, Orland Park and Roseland. Husband of Florine nee Danno. Father of Nathaniel.

Contact Petals From Roseland: CJ Martello, 11403 S. St. Lawrence Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60628; cjfranoi@yahoo.com; leave message at 773-701-675.

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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