In Chapter 21;( Serafina's ) in "La Nostra Costa" I talk about Pete Pianavilla who in his "booming" voice would love to denigrate the Game Warden Forrest McDermott. Pete an avid cacciatore (hunter) would enjoy telling anyone within "cannon shot" how he outwitted that "S.O.B"
McDermott. What follows below is a couple of e-mails from Hank
Bradly,Bob Lemmon Jr and Thelma Micossi-Gill, and my responses. I had originally posted them as side comments to the "Book Signing" article however, they are of such interest that I thought I would publish them at the top of the BLOG;
I'll pass on a yarn I heard from my dad about Pete Pianavilla, back in the 60s. I believe Pete at the time was farming west of the highway and north of Davenport, pretty close to where your Swanton Berry Farms book signing took place. At any rate, one morning he found some urban adventurers camped out in one of his fields, and read them the riot act about respecting private property. One of them argued back something like private ownership was wrong and he had a right to sleep anywhere he wanted, and maybe some other remarks offensive to Pete. But he made this argument without leaving his sleeping bag. Big mistake. Pete grabbed the head end of the bag and jerked it upright, and now the argumentative fellow was trapped by gravity in the foot end. All Pete had to do was thump the bag up and down against the ground until sufficient apologies were heard from inside the bag.I didn't know Pete well myself, but always enjoyed talking with him, usually a very warm and humorous fellow.Cheers, Hank
LNC: Great Story Hank. I speak of Pete and his 'booming' voice in the Book (Chapter 21 "Serafina's" page 223). I will always associate him with that 'booming' voice and his stories of Forrest McDermott, the Game Warden. I am sure that you remember him. ivno
Ivano:As a participant in the various modes of hunting up the coast (mostly legal, for the record) I shared with my fellow hunters that dislike of Mr. McDermott. Probably he was just a guy trying to do his job, like any law enforcement - you would certainly know this. But he certainly had a bum rap with almost all the locals. I knew him only by reputation, never met him or heard any details of his evil deeds. Maybe we all just had bad consciences.Cheers, Hank
LNC: Thanks again Hank. BTW: I heard through the LNC Grapevine that Pete Pianavilla and Forrest McDermott became great friends after McDermott retired as Game Warden. ivno
robertlemmon jr. said...
Ivan, Enjoyed the two stories posted by Henry/Hank Bradley, one of my SCHS '57 classmates.--Only met Forrest McDermott, who died here in SC in Mar 1979 at age 81, one time -- and that was on Pacific Ave in front of the old Santa Cruz Bowling Alley. I used to practice there since "lines" were cheap even though I bowled in league at the Surf Bowl.Ed Varozza, our longtime next-door neighbor who worked the front counter at the United Cigar Store for many years, often went with me when I bowled, for it gave him a chance to smoke a few more of the 500,000 cigars someone estimated he had smoked during his 92 years.As we left the bowling lanes we met Forrest McDermott, who had the ever-present cigar stub in the left side of his mouth, on Pacific Ave. He clapped Ed on the back and told me, "Best damn quail shot in the state!"Though I only went hunting with Ed once and he missed the one pass shot he made at a band-tail pigeon, I hunted many times with my late father and mother's father. It was clear that Forrest was right: Ed Varozza knew how to handle a shotgun.Bob L Jr.
LNC: Thanks Bob. I am sure, as Hank said in his message, Forrest McDermott probably was just doing his job. As a Police Officer, I often thought that I got a "bum rap" for just doing my job. This was expecially true when I became a supervisor and had to discipline my own kind. Not too popular, but that was the nature of the Job. ivn0
I've been enjoying all the postings on the blog and I'm sure that you are too. Everyone I talk to has such favorable comments about your book. In fact, my boys have enjoyed it so much.
Peter Pianavilla was a big part of the "Rancieri Culture." If I recall correctly his father era un ranciere in "Siberia". I remember his father and Margarita, his mother, very well. Peter, during the war, was a bosseto (a boss) at Poletti's Packing Shed in Davenport and gave me my first job at probably the age of 12. What fun that was. He hired all of us kids from Pacific School. From there I remember him being a bartender at the Ocean View Hotel.
Hope all is well with you. Keep up the good work, you are making a lot of people happy. Un bacin d'amor. Mandi,
LNC: Thanks for the kind words Thelma. And thanks for the story on Pete. Also the insight on how life once was in Davenport. ivn0