Looking forward and back

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Here we go again, rolling into another year whether we’re ready for it or not. After all these years, one thing we’ve learned for sure is that we’re moving ahead regardless of how we feel. Let’s take a look at some of the happenings from 2022 as we look forward to good things to come.

Pullman is always a happening place, ever since President Obama proclaimed it a national monument. As a part of the National Park System, the Ranger staff is always busy doing their job of promoting the park and enticing new visitors. The programs they have promoted throughout the past year have been engaging and educational for both adults and children, covering topics from the Pullman porters to the meaning of Labor Day to the effects of the 1894 Pullman Company strike.

As visitors to the Pullman National Monument become more aware of the beauty of the grounds surrounding the building, I’m sure they will realize the intent of the layout is to make it available for picnicking and other relaxing activities. There are permanent benches and table areas for private time to sit and read or enjoy some quiet time in our bustling world. Checking the website for the Pullman National Monument will keep apprised of upcoming programs.

The Pullman has been experiencing a business renaissance and 2022 has been one of our best years. That will only improve with the Red Line extension, which will pass through Roseland and parts of Kensington. A number of residents have mentioned that, just like back in the late ’60s and ’70s, realtors are out in force offering to buy properties before the CTA comes through with their offers. We’re all aware that the realtors are planning on paying low to the owners and selling high to the CTA, cutting the owners out of real money.

New dining options are emerging in the area. The Pullman House Project has come up with the Pullman Coffee Club, a coffee house offering pastries that is now open for business. The setting is the former Sessions Executive Restaurant at 111th and Lawrence Avenue.

Coming soon will be a 101-room Hampton Inn that won’t have a restaurant but will offer a continental breakfast and conference facilities for meetings. At this point, that project is seeking financial backing but there are no problems envisioned. It will be located on the north side of 111th Street next to the Pullman National Monument.

The next big investment will be a Veterans Roaster and Brewery, right next to the Hampton Inn. It will be a two-story building with an outdoor area on the second floor, facing north. The current plan is to employ 60-70 veterans and to partner with Chicago’s Haymarket Brewery. The land will be purchased from the Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, which has done such a great job of bringing businesses to Pullman. Thanks to CNI’s efforts, I’m sure we can look forward to more business setting up shop in Pullman.

Speaking of veterans, on this past Nov. 11, our Pullman community came together to remember both our deceased and current veterans at the Pullman Veteran’s Monument on the west side of Pullman Elementary School. There was a ceremony which I introduced and led with the Pledge of Allegiance, followed with an invocation by Rev. Luther Mason of the Greenstone Church. There were short presentations by community residents Tom McMahon, Beatrice Hardy and Wilfred Ortiz. The ceremony ended with the laying of a wreath and Pullman resident Q Kiser playing Taps. The community fellowship was continued with a refreshment event at the Florence Lowden Community Center on 113th Street. Even though COVID meant we couldn’t do our usual presentation inside the school, the outdoor ceremony was well-attended, with the Pullman community showing their respect for all our veterans.

St. Anthony’s is doing as well as can be expected as a stand-alone parish under the Archdiocese’s Renew My Parish Program. Other parishes have been combined, and some even renamed after combining. Although, St. Anthony’s didn’t officially gain any new parishioners via combining with other parishes, several new faces have joined the community of St. Anthony’s. Our attendance seems to be steadily on the increase, and we still maintain the outstanding COVID protocols Fr. Mark put in place a couple of years ago.

Although COVID contributed to the end of the annual St. Anthony Dinner Dance, it had little financial impact. The event always did a little better than breaking even, which means the real benefit came from the raffle. Once again, as in the previous few years, the raffle tickets were mailed and made available for purchase in mid-October until the raffle in late November.

Thanks to the generous support of our parishioners and former parishioners, the last St. Anthony’s raffle was a success. Fr. Mark earmarked the funds to replace the automatic chimes system of church bells that were installed in the new church in 1961. They lasted almost 60 years until 2020, which means the church, the parishioners, and the neighborhood have been without the sound of church bells reminding them of Christ in their lives for nearly three years.

I’ve got Roseland plans for 2023. Sitting still is not part of my lifestyle, although for my two cats and two dogs it apparently is. My first book sold about 800 copies, but more importantly, many of those who’ve read my book, “Petals from Roseland: Fond Memories of Chicago’s Roseland, Pullman, and Kensington Neighborhoods,” have commented that memories came flooding back as they read each chapter. To continue that Roseland storybook trend, I’ve decided 2023 will be the year of my second book: “Roseland Recollections.”

In my 14 years of writing Petals from Roseland for Fra Noi, I’ve heard many stories about everything Roseland. In my 76 years, I’ve been part of a lot of stories that have added to my life. Coming from a family of eight crossed a lot of generational story lines, gave me a sampling of places and groups in Roseland that I would not have been able to be part of. Being the youngest in my family may have put me into the trendsetting ’60s, but thanks to all my older brothers and sister, my stories cover a lot of ground that wasn’t my personal experience.

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. 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. I attended Mendel for 4 years so walking 111th St. to what use to be South Park Ave. was a daily event. How about an article about Mendel? It’s roots go back to the Pullman Tech days. My uncle Ken Panozzo went to school there. I remember the tunnel that went from the school to the bank on the corner so that students could attend a class on finance all those years ago. The library next to the school was small and aged but did contain needed resources for school papers. A favorite stop for my parents was the the ‘Italian Cheese’ store where we could buy that wonderful ciope bread. My dad would buy a case of’Crema di Marsala’ dessert wine for Christmas get togethers. This favorite of ours has been lost to the ages. There were several other stores we would visit in those days such as Frigo’s and Del Santos. I really miss those days. While in the area, we never missed a n opportunity to visit my nono and nona who had their little farm on 132nd and Indiana Ave. Giuseppe and Theresa were my solid connection to Italy as they spoke almost no English. Lots of good memories.

    • Great memories! I’ve never heard of that tunnel. Ciope are no longer available, but I am making some this weekend. I’ve learned to use frozen bread dough and to go for the shape rather than the taste which will never be duplicated. I make use of the Pullman Library often as I live in Pullman. Dal Santos is in Steger and still popular. Yesterday, I was just talking to Neal Valente about the small farms over near Rosebud Farms store. Keep your eye on my columns and one will be about Mendel. Thanks for contacting me with your great memories. CJ

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