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So much to be thankful for

Once a year, it’s time to reflect on all of our blessings and be thankful. True or false? The truth is that Thanksgiving Day in November is meant to highlight the thanks we should be feeling and sharing throughout the year. Why do we need that feeling to be acknowledged? Perhaps it has something to do with the busy lives we lead.

How often do we, as Roselandites, think about how “The Ave” was the center of our social lives? How often do we recall with a pang of nostalgia those days when we were children of summer going out to play in the morning and maybe not returning home until “the lights came on.” How often do we recall the neighborhood kids that were so vital to our home life and pick-up sports games? We haven’t forgotten those schoolmates of ours, from the kids who were the most fun or did the most outrageous attention-getting to those who seemed to aspire to sainthood.

We have grown and added to our list of thankfulness by including our growing families and extended families, and by recalling fondly those who have passed on.

The last group of Roselandites who left when the neighborhood changed are approaching their 70s. This is the time when everyone looks back on their memories with a fondness and thankfulness for the richness, lessons and, most of all, for the love they’ve benefitted from throughout the years.

St. Anthony of Padua of Church hosts many events throughout the year, and attendees are always thankful for the opportunity to gather and share memories of days gone by. St. Anthony’s, as we know, is the home of eight former Roseland area parishes. The members of those parishes didn’t disappear, many became active members of St. Anthony’s. They show their thankfulness by volunteering to take part in and help run the various festivities and activities that support the families and youth of the parish. We can all be thankful that these St. Anthony parishioners have stepped up to keep our legacy alive.

I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to say that Roselandites are being thankful when they recall activities, events and people from their Roseland past. Recently, someone mentioned the bocce games they watched when they were kids. The topic elicited more than 25 comments on where bocce courts were located, who played the games and the vino and cursing that kept the games lively and watchable. Keep in mind that bocce ball hasn’t been officially played in Roseland and its environs in more than 50 years. The closest is the annual Spaghetti-O’s bocce tournament and that takes place in Frankfort every September.

In Pullman there are many activities and events that take place throughout the year that show a thankfulness for Pullman’s role in the birth of Labor Day. These events demonstrate Pullman’s history and importance to the nation.

The annual Pullman House Tour that takes place annually the second weekend in October shows off the history of seven houses and six historic buildings. There is also a December Christmas House Tour of a number of private residences showcasing Pullman’s holiday spirit. Each of these events show a thankfulness for Pullman’s past and an appreciation for its longevity, both historically and ethnically.

’Tis is the season to be thankful and, for my money, Kensingtonians, Pullmanites and Roselandites never have a problem finding things to be thankful for or ways to show that thankfulness.

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