Saturday, November 24, 2007


Top Photo: Tre Famiglie Furlani taken on the Gulch Ranch,'su per la costa',c.1947. ' (LNC: Page 139). Standing (L-R)Guido Cantarutti,Evelina Cantarutti,'Bronco'Comelli, Mario (Rosso) Taurian and Valentina Comelli. Seated (L-R)Lido Cantarutti,Reno Cantarutti, Elso Taurian, Felicino (Phil)Taurian,Giovanni Primo (John) Comelli, and Ivano Franco Comelli. My brother Johln is holding "Copi" our third family dog. Unknown if he was a Furlan.

Bottom Photo: My Aunt Lina (Bressani)Gemignani taken in Italy,c.1942. This was prior to being taken prisoner by the Nazi SS. (LNC: P.187)


I just finished reading your awesome book "La Nostra Costa". My rating is 10 out of 10. You can be rest assured that I will honourably advertise your book. You can be guaranteed of that.

There were a few sections of the book that greatly impressed me. The section regarding your Aunt Lina Bressani (Gemignani) I am guessing Lina is about my Father's age born in 1924? Well her experiences after the war were not uncommon. My mother recalled in her home town of Bressa di Campoformido Udine, many local girls had their hair cropped off by the Partisans because they were seen even speaking to a German Soldier. Also, it was also well known that there were numerous individuals within the ranks of the Partigiani that were also devious and felt they were above the law,stealing and pilfering from their neighbours. There were numerous reported incidences that certain individuals of the Partigiani also tortured German Soldiers as well as their own people in the local towns. Just because they were Partigiani did not make them holy.

There were some real characters in their ranks as well. My Mother's two older brothers were both Police Officers during the War, as a matter of fact Amelio the oldest was one of the many selected to guard Mussolini when he was imprisoned after 1943 when King Emanuel ordered Benito interned and Italy formed an alliance with the Allies. Well my Uncles were always threatened by the local, lower ranking Partigiani, because being Police Officers they were automatically perceived to be Fascists since it was a state held position. However, no-one knew this at the time but both my Uncles joined the Partigiani prior to 1941, they were all given the orders to do so, since the demise of Italy was seen by all ,except for Benito and his band of merry hoodlums.

And as your Father Bronco mentions many times what the Partigiani did to Mussolini was not well received. Bronco was correct "Che brutta figura che questi Italiani fanno" the Allies certainly were not in favour of this sickly display of law and order. Again as was evidently seen after the war the Partigiani themselves were not united, this was evident during the after war referendum and subsequent interim democratic government elections. There were two facets of Partigiani, the Communist facet and the Christian Democratic facet. Italy was divided well after the War and did not truly find it's bases until the 1970's, economically this was very evident. And I can attest to this having lived in Italy from 1967 - 1968, the economy was still in a restructuring mode, and did not compare to the rich productive North American example.

By the way your Aunt Lina still lives in California? It would be interesting to meet her, I know my Father and Mother would love it.

The other most impressive part of La Costa Nostra is your thorough recollection of all your family friends and the various outings. They are similar to my experiences. Also, what Bronco experienced with Peter Rinaldi(LNC: P.98), was similar to what my father experienced. One thing for certain and this holds true anywhere in the World where Furlans live, Furlans are hard working non pretentious honest people. And they are basic, not showing off what they have even if they have $1million dollars.

Excellent reading, thoroughly enjoyed it... keep in touch !!!

Ciao e Mandi

Doriano "The Canadian Furlan"



The Canadian Furlan said...

I am extremely honoured for having my review published on "La Nostra Costa". Ivano you have made my day. You have a great blogg which I will assure you continual input. I also would like to wish all of you in the USA a Happy belated Thanks Giving.

PS Ivano I owe you my review translated in Italian... please allow me a little more time. Thanks my fellow Furlan !! Ciao e Mandi !!

Ivano Franco Comelli said...

Thanks Canadian Furlan for such a fine review. It makes it even more special when you add your knowledge of the history during this time period. I don't think many of our fellow Italians are fully aware of the terrible burdens that had to be shouldered by their relatives during WW II and shortly thereafter. This was especially true of the Furlans. Living in the north-east section of Italy they were among the first Italians to be occupied by the Germans and the last to be liberated.

rogerr bell said...

Ivano - I have thoroughly enjoyed your book. I purchased it at Gugleilmo's cork equity botteling Saturday. I believe I was the first to buy one that day. Since my grandfather (Gaetano Andrighetto) came from Cavaso del Tomba, Italy in 1906 (Veneto region - Treviso) I was most anxious to read about your Italian heritage and the Santa Cruz North Coast ( su per la costa). Since I was born in 1936 in Porterville, Calif - we grew up with similar memories and it was fun to read about your re-count of them growing up. I (my sis and I) lived with my grandparents most of the WWII days since my dad (step) was in the Pacific and mom worked away from home for a few years. Most of the Italianos (around Porterville) came from that same region - they spoke similar dialects. Only Tony Della and his family spoke a southern dialect (Siciliano I think). Tony was the "hot headed one." And yes my first smoke was ont of those short Italian cigars as well - I was about 10 or 11 and tried one down near the river (Jimmy and I) and yes we got quite sick. My grandfather would soak the butts in a pale of water and spray the plants - killed aphids and other critters quite well. My grandfather did not go to Italy for his wife (his uncle Louie Palloni went back to Italy in 1906 and brought him to California). While working in the mines east of Porterville, near the Tule River Indian reservation, he met my grandmother, Carmelita Valdez, at a dance (my grandmother was born on the reservation). They were married a year later. An Italian and a Mexican/Indian. My oldest sons Sister-in-law (Bertie Cook - SJPD - currently at the airport) wants to read your book too - She remembers you. - Incidently, in 1953 and 1954 I was the quarterback for Monterey High school - I remember playing Santa Cruz High - I think we won one and lost one - I never finished the season (injuries) - my painful recollection of SCHS was a kid named Papas and the other was Finn (sp.?) - One of them "clothslined" me on a kick-off return and put me out of the game. Fun years.
I left after 3 games my senior year and went to Japan (my dad was career army). I have many friends (Italian) on the peninsula - we get together often. Even though I did not graduate in the Class of 55 at MUHS ( finished in Japan) - they have adopted me and I go the the reunions (55 and 57). My wife (Penny) was class of '57. I will be sharing your book with a few friends. Thanks again for writing the story. Fun to read and remember. God Bless - Roger G. Bell.

Canadian Furlan said...

..... I remember the years living in Friuli my Grandfather who was 81 born in 1888 smoked Toscani cigars. I remember him breaking one cigar in half and smoking it for a week. He would light it up after dinner take a few puffs and extinguishing it and placing it into a metal carrying case for another day. My grandfather was tough as nails. He was wounded during WWI shot during a battle in the Carso region. Carso borders Austria. He was shot in the chest piercing his lung. While recuperating he managed to Father another child my uncle who was born in July 1916. My grandfather was returned to the front line and managed to survive the War. After the war he fathered another 8 children... living the remaining years with only one lung.
He recalls the very first time he saw an automobile.. in 1908... I can still see the expression on his face... now how he recalled the night he saw the automobile... you would have thought it was from outterspace... I remember my grandfather having a problem with one of his teeth and pulling his own tooth out with a pair of old rusty pliers... what's a dentist .

Ciao e Mandi