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Easter in Roseland

The way we look at things is influenced by the way we were brought up. That may be why we miss the good old days of Roseland where we were full of maybes that our parents and our surroundings instilled in us. Looking back on our lives we can find “maybes” regarding the paths we’ve chosen in life or those we’ve chosen for lifelong love. The more serious “may be” concerns itself with the Roseland we remember and love. Things may be different in Roseland but our memories are solid with no “maybe” about it.

With Easter just past, every Roselandite no doubt thought back on their Easter outfit shopping days, when they either hit the ladies stores or Gately’s on Michigan Avenue, or the Robert Hall store at 112th and State streets. And then there were the “homemade” Easter outfits. Having attended St. Willibrord High School, I vividly recall the Ward family’s Easter attire receiving coverage almost annually in the Calumet Index almost annually. It was of special significance to my fellow St. Willy’s students because Joanne Ward and her many siblings were classmates of ours.

For my family of Catholics, Easter was all about Lent and what we were giving up. The nuns always made a big deal about going to confession so we could feel unburdened by the weight of sins. The priests must have been bored almost to death listening to grade school kids drone on and on in the confessional. I know in my case, I had to make up some sins just to make things a little more interesting. After all, who wanted to go to confession with no sins to confess?

As we got older, we began to pay attention to the confession routines of our friends. We learned they didn’t always make it to confession and often went only because their parents insisted on it. There was also the combo confession, where they scheduled going to the later confession and factored in going directly out partying for the night.

Then there was the matter of which priest you were going to confess to. If you were going to confession at St. Anthony’s, you would try to avoid Fr. Nalin —that’s not quite right. What you were hoping for, rather than avoiding anyone, was to get into Fr. Delfino’s confessional line. Fr. Del was the “no messing around” priest for any religious ceremony.

If you went to his 9 a.m. Mass on Sunday, you knew you’d be out by 9:45 at the latest. Therefore, it followed that if you went to confession with Fr. Del, you were in and out in two or three minutes with a light penance. No lingering. No gnashing of teeth. No sweating the small stuff. It was out the door and onward Christian soldiers in no time at all.

St. Anthony’s is heading in a different direction than it has in the 12 years. I’m sure by May we will be dealing with the new information of who the Archdiocese will assign to lead the parish. As all Roselandites are aware, change is unavoidable and we learn to adapt like the weather-wise Chicagoans we are.

Pullman is gearing up for all of its summer activities, including the annual Garden Walk on June 29, a communitywide garage sale or two, and the Second Annual Pullman Art Festival. The Pullman Artspace Lofts are moving right along with the ongoing interior construction and site development.

Gotham Greens, the hydroponic grower of leafy greens with its first location on the rooftop of Method Soap Factory, is planning to open, and may already have opened, a second greenhouse in Pullman. The new $12.5 million, 105,000-square-foot greenhouse will be situated just north of Planet Fitness along the Bishop Ford Expressway — on South Doty Avenue — on the former Ryerson industrial site in Pullman.

The IA-Literati, the Italian American author’s literary group is having its 15th annual celebration on Saturday, June 1, starting at 9:30 a.m. in the Italian Cultural Center at Casa Italia. The center is located at 1621 N. 39th St. in Stone Park, two blocks east of Mannheim Road and two blocks south of North Avenue. All writers, and those that would like to be, are invited to join us at this informative free event to find out what paths others have taken toward publication. Check out the event on its Facebook page for complete information.

Casa Italia, the former Sacred Heart Scalabrinian Seminary, now houses not only the Italian Cultural Center, but the Italian American Veteran’s Museum, Sacred Heart Chapel and the offices of a dozen organizations, including Fra Noi. The Casa has a Festival Center for outdoor events, a community center for indoor events, and Office Center and a Banquet Center.

Help! I’m always looking for ideas for future columns and 85-year-old Lou Dal Santo suggested a column on famous Roselandites. I hope you can add to the list we began by sending me your suggestions of famous Roselandites to consider. The list we have so far is: Dick Butkus, the members of STYX and Fred Olivi, the co-pilot of the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki during to end World War II. Please help me out with other famous Roselandites.

Contact me at 11403 S. St. Lawrence Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60628; 773-701-6756; or cjfranoi@yahoo.com.

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.