Friday, July 28, 2006

Tessie's People Article

The article below was written by Tessie Kennedy, who writes a column (Tessie's People) for the Banner and Valley Press , , which covers Scotts Valley and the San Lorenzo Valley, Jim Reed, Editor.

Tessie, unlike some reviewers, actually read the book from cover to cover. Being from the mid-west, she found the history of Santa Cruz and "La Costa" of particular interest to her. Her comment that the book read like a novel, was particularly gratifying to me.

"Former Scotts Valley resident, Ivano Franco Comelli, is the author of La Nostra Costa (Our Coast), newly published in March. It tells of his growing up years on the coast along Highway 1 as a member of an Italian immigrant ranching family and then as a police officer. He graduated from San Jose State and worked there in the San Jose Police Department while living in Scotts Valley. His wife, Mildred was a real estate agent and later a broker. She worked briefly for Coldwell Banker in Scotts Valley. They had three daughters and lived in Scotts Valley almost 20 years. It was while living in Scotts Valley, that then Police Sgt. Comelli, received a devastating phone call informing him of the killing of his best friend, Officer Richard Huerta, while he was writing a traffic citation. He dedicated his book to his seven grandsons and his nieces and nephews

A book signing and reading will be held on Tuesday June 27 from 1-4 at Agnes Dei Christian Bookshop, 134 Walnut Avenue. Ivano Comelli graduated from Santa Cruz High with the part-owner Esther Wilson.
Friends from Olympia,Washington and Maryland are attending the book signing and Ivan Comelli, as he was known in Scotts Valley, hopes to see more friends from his past. He is still gathering material.

Since being published Comelli has been on the radio, TV and in the newspaper. He has been contacted by News Italia, a paper in Italy, by a 2nd cousin in Italy he hadn't seen since '78, and by a police officer he hadn't seen in 20 years. It took four years to write this interesting life story which tells the hardships of being Italian here during World War II. There are interesting local history items. Comelli's father immigrated to the United States when he was 23. His father, called Bronco, was a Brussels sprout rancher and his mother, Valentina, worked cleaning sprouts and for a time as a cook at the ranch. Ivano Franco Comelli attended Laurel School, now the Louden Nelson Community Center. One summer the family rented a vacation house in Felton by Henry Cowell Parek. Any local history buffs will find this a great book. The arcade at the Boardwalk used to be called the Penny Arcade. Although a true life story, I found this book to read like a novel. I read it in three and a half days. The history in the book is fascinating. The daily life details of the 40's kept my interest. I related to his mother who he says was a great cook.

Now Ivano Franco Comelli, is known as Ivan Comelli or Grandpa and is busy going to Little League games and promoting his book.

"La Nostra Costa"(Our Coast is published by Authorhouse, and is available through their website, ,or order by phone 1-888-280-7715. It is available at the Agnes Dei Christian Bookshop and the Capitola Book-Cafe."

Thanks Tessie for a great article. 'Con Un Bacin D'Mor. ivn0


Anonymous said...

I am so excited that Tessie's People made it into a blog. I read the whole book in 3 and 1/2 days and really enjoyed it.

Tessie Kennedy

Ivano Franco Comelli said...

e-mail from Jolene: "I can't put this book down. I must tell you that it is delightful and I do believe that it will attract many readers, those that knew the Coast and of course those that did not. (The History Element is Tremendous!!!!! ) Wow, what a small world it really is, Peccino and Louise Presepi are my sisters Aunt and Uncle by marriage into the Petrocchi Family. I was around them a great deal as a child and still keep in touch with Louise (or Zia Louise as I call her). When I read the Gulch Ranch, I let out a gasp and wondered if Peccino would be mentioned. Piccino's parents had two children, Nicolina and of course Piccino. I always thought he was called little one because he was the baby of the Family. (He was always wonderful to me too). I am sure you know this, but Louise Presepi is still alive. (I believe Zia is 97 now and is still living on King St. P.S. I bought my edition through Barnes and Nobel. "con un bacin d'more' xoxo

Ivano Franco Comelli said...

To add on to Jolene's comments, Piccino (real name Amerigo)and Louisa Presepi, were two of the finest people I knew "su per la Costa". The fact that he was a "hard" boss did not diminish (at least in my eyes)Piccino's image. The rancere were "rough and ready" people. Some were rather unruly. A tough "bosso" was often necessary. Louisa and Piccino are and were a big part of "La Costa's" history.Hopefully they will not be forgotten.

B/W: In the book I mistakenly identified Piccino as a "Toscano".
At my book signing last month at Agnus Dei Christian Bookstore in Santa Cruz, I was informed that Piccino was "Bolognese". Sorry about that Louisa. ivO

Ivano Franco Comelli said...

E-Mail from Angela: Hello Ivan,
"I found your book and bought it at the Religious Store (Agnus Dei Christian in Santa Cruz)before we began our trip home to Sebastopol. I was fascinated by the History of the area. Your discriptions add to the color of that time.

I looked at the photo of the Laguna Inn for 1934 (LNC - Chapter 22), and am hoping that you are able to find the large picture. If you could make a copy and mail it, I would be forever grateful.

I am looking to include the information on the Laguna INN, in our family history. As I told you,my aunt was driven from SFO by my father, Giovanni Demattei, to Daventport to the Laguna Inn. Giovanni was the innkeeper and my mother and their children lived and worked there. My brother was born in March 1934, and on his Birth Certificate, my father said that he was an Innkeeper.

I don't know how long they were at the Laguna Inn, but I do know that when I looked in the City Directory, for 1935, they were shown to be living at 49 Market Street, Santa Cruz. Thank you.
Angela Polley."

Thanks Angela. A copy of the picture is on its way to you. Buona Fortuna. I hope you find what you are looking for. ivnO