Wednesday, January 16, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY VALENTINA


HAPPY BIRTHDAY VALENTINA

PHOTO: VALENTINA (RIGHT) POSES WITH ONE OF HER BEST FRIENDS AND FELLOW 'FURLANA' EVELINA CANTARUTTI. THIS PHOTO WAS TAKEN CIRCA 1946 IN FELTON. EVELINA IS STILL LIVING TODAY, ONE OF THE LAST OF THE 'SORELLE DELLA COSTA'. (LA NOSTRA COSTA PHOTO ARCHIVES.)



TODAY IS JANUARY 16. IT IS MY MOTHERS BIRTHDAY. VALENTINA WAS BORN ON THIS DATE IN 1913, IN NIMIS, PROVINCIA D’UDINE, ITALY. HER PARENTS WERE GIOVANNI AND ANGELICA BRESSANI. SHE WAS THE OLDEST IN A FURLAN FAMILY CONSISTING OF ONE BROTHER, TITA AND THREE SISTERS, VALENTINA, VENERINA AND LINA. (A PHOTO OF THE BRESSANI FAMILY APPEARS ON PAGE 198 IN ‘LA NOSTRA COSTA’. VALENTINA IS NOT IN THE PHOTO BECAUSE SHE WAS ALREADY IN AMERICA AT THE TIME THE PHOTO WAS TAKEN. LINA, AT THE FRONT PETTING THE DOG, IS THE ONLY SIBLING STILL LIVING.)

I WRITE EXTENSIVELY IN ‘LA NOSTRA COSTA’ ABOUT MY MOTHER, HOW SHE LOVED US AND ALL THE HARD WORK SHE DID TO HELP SUSTAIN THE FAMILY. HOWEVER, THE ONE THING I REMEMBER MOST ABOUT HER WAS THAT SHE WAS THE DISCIPLINARIAN IN THE FAMILY. MY FATHER, BRONCO,FREQUENTLY 'BARKED' WARNINGS AT GIOVANNI PRIMO AND ME (MOSTLY ME), BUT SELDOM IF EVER TOOK ACTION. IT WAS VALENTINA WHO TOOK ACTION.

IN ‘LA NOSTRA COSTA’, (P.64-65), I DESCRIBE HOW MY BROTHER AND I WERE SUBJECTED TO THE MOST VILE CURSE WORDS IMAGINEABLE, SPEWED FORTH FROM THE MOUTHS OF THE ‘RANCERI’, (THE ITALIAN RANCHERS). USUALLY THEY COUPLED THE NAME OF THE DEITY WITH CERTAIN OFF COLOR OR DEROGATORY ADJECTIVES AND/OR PRONOUNS. VALENTINA TAUGHT US TO SUBISTITUE THE WORD ‘BUONO’ (GOOD) FOR ALL THOSE OTHER BAD WORDS. “DIO BUONO” (GOOD GOD), ACCORDING TO VALENTINA WAS NOT A SWEAR WORD, SO SHE WOULD USE IT QUITE OFTEN. HOWEVER, HER RATHER HARSH ‘DIO BUONOS’, USED WHEN SHE DISCIPLINED US CERTAINLY IMPLIED SOMETHING MORE THAN A FORGIVING AND BENEVOLENT GOD.

TO ILLUSTRATE THIS I DESCRIBE IN THE BOOK, ONE PARTICULAR OCCASION WHEN SHE CAUGHT ME SMOKING CIGARETTES WITH MY BOYHOOD FRIENDS, MARIO AND ELIO RODONI. I WAS PROBABLY 10-YEARS OLD AT THE TIME, AND AS USUAL WITHOUT A FAIR TRIAL, I WAS BLAMED FOR INSTIGATING THE WHOLE EPISODE. SENSING THAT I WAS ABOUT TO ‘CATCH HELL HERE ON EARTH’, I QUICKLY STARTED TO MAKE MY GET-A-WAY. IN THE BOOK I DESCRIBE THE ENSUING “ACTION’ AS FOLLOWS (P.65):

'As I tried to make my get-away, she (Valentina) grabbed a broom and started chasing me around the house yelling, “Dio Buono, Ivano! Aspetta quando ti piglio [peel’yo]”. In effect she meant something like, “Good God, Ivano! Just wait until I catch you!” She sure wasn’t calling on the good graces of God to bless me, on that particular day.'*

I DON’T THINK THAT VALENTINA EVER CAUGHT ME, HOWEVER, EVENTUALLY I HAD TO GIVE MY SELF UP. SHE DIDN’T USE THE BROOM ON ME, BUT I AM SURE I RECEIVED A COUPLE OF GOOD HARD “PATAFFS” (SLAPS) ABOUT THE EARS AND BUTT. AS ALWAYS,A FEW DAYS LATER, ALL WAS FORGIVEN.

DID VALENTINA’S DISCPLINARY METHODS DO ANY GOOD? WELL, I CAN TESTIFY THAT I HAVE BEEN A NON-SMOKER FOR ALL OF MY LIFE. VALENTINA'S METHODS CHANGED THE WORDS (AT LEAST IN MY MIND) OF A POPULAR SONG OF THE DAY "SMOKE,SMOKE THAT CIGARETTE" TO " DIO BUONO!! YOU BETTER NOT SMOKE,SMOKE THAT CIGARETTE".


HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MA. I LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU. IVANO

*As it appears in 'La Nostra Costa' (Our Coast), copyrighted by Ivano Franco Comelli and published by Authorhouse: www.authorhouse.com


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ED IN ITALIANO: TRADUZIONE PER GINO "D'BAFFI" CAMPIONI

Felice compleanno, VALENTINA

PHOTO. VALENTINA (alla destra) INSIEME DI UNA DI SUE FAVORITE AMICHE E PAESANE FURLANE, EVELINA CANTARUTTI. QUESTA FOTO ERA FATTA CIRCA 1946 IN FELTON. EVELINA è ANCH'ORA VIVA, UNA DELLE ULTIME "SORELLE DELLA COSTA". (DAL ARCHIVIO FOTOGRAFICO LA NOSTRA COSTA)

Oggi è il 16 gennaio. Era il compleanno di mia madre. Valentina nacque questo giorno nel 1913 in Nimis, Provincia di Udine, Italia. Suoi genitori erano Giovanni ed Angelica Bressani. Era la prima in una famiglia furlana con un fratello, Tita, e tre sorelle, Valentina, Venerina e Lina. (una foto della famiglia Bressani appare in pagina 198 nel libro "La Nostra Costa". Valentina non appare in quella foto perchè era gia in America al tempo che la foto fu presa. Lina, davanti carezzando il cane, è l'unica sorella sempre in vita..)

In "LA NOSTRA COSTA" scrivo tanto di mia madre, come ci voleva bene, e tutte le fatiche che fece per sopportare la famiglia. Però, la cosa che rimane piu chiara nella memoria di lei è che lei era la disciplinaria nella famiglia. Mio padre, Bronco, spesso "abbaiava" dei monimento verso Giovanni Primo e me (piu che altro à me), ma per solito faceva poco. Era Valentina che metteva i monimenti in attività.

In "LA NOSTRA COSTA", (P. 64_65) DESCRIVO COME MIO FRATELLO ED IO ERAVAMO SOGGETTI ALLA PIU VILE MALEDIZIONE IMMAGINABILE, SPUNTANDO DALLE BOCCHE DEI "RANCERI", (AGRICOLTORI ITALIANI). PER SOLITO AGGIUNGEVANO I NOMI SACRI CON CERTE PAROLE PEGGIORATIVE. VALENTINA CI HA INSEGNATO DI SOSTITUIRE LA PAROLA "BUONO" PER LE PAROLACCIE. "DIO BUONO", SECONDO VALENTINA NON ERA UNA BESTEMMIA, DUNQUE USAVA QUESTE PAROLE MOLTO SPESSO. PERO SUOI PIU DURI "DIO BUONO" QUANDO CI DAVA DISCIPLINA, CERTAMENTE CI DICEVANO UN PO PIU CHE DI UN DIO BENEVOLENTE E PERDONANTE.

PER ILLUSTRARE QUESTO, DESCRIVO NEL LIBRO, UN'OCCASIONE PARTICOLARE QUANDO MI HA TROVATO FUMANDO SIGARETTE CON MIEI AMICI MARIO ED ELIO RODONI. AVREI AVUTO CIRCA 10 ANNI IN QUEL' TEMPO. PER SOLITO, E SENZA UNA PROVA GIUSTA, HO RICEVUTO LA COLPA PER TUTTO QUESTO EPISODE. PENSANDO CHE STAVO PER "RICEVERE L'INFERNO IN TERRA", HO COMINCIATO DI FARE LA SCAPPATA. NEL LIBRO DESCRIVO QUESTA AZIONE COME SEGUITA (P. 65):

"Mentro provai di scappare, essa (Valentina) prese una granata e comiciò di rincorreremi intorno la casa gridando,
"Dio Buono, Ivano! Aspetta quando ti piglio". Sono sicuro che quel giorno non cercava le benedizioni di Dio per me.

CREDO CHE VALENTINA NON MI HA MAI CATTURATO, PERO ALLA FINE MI TOCCAVA ARRENDERMI. NON HA USATO LA GRANATA, MA MI DIEDE UN PAIO DI "PATAFFE" INTORNO LE ORECCHIE ED IL SEDERE. AL SOLITO, POCHI GIORNI DOPO, TUTTO ERA PERDONATO.

I MEZZI DISCIPLINARI HANNO FATTO DEL BENE? POSSO FARE TESTAMENTO CHE NELLA MIA VITA NON HO PIU FUMATO. I MEZZI DI VALENTINA HANNO CAMBIATO LE PAROLE DI UNA CONZONE POPOLARE IN QUEL TEMPO. "FUMA, FUMA QUELLA SIGARETTA" DIVENTO PER ME "DIO BUONO!! NON FUMARE FUMARE QUELLA SIGARETTA".

FELICA COMPLEANNO, MAMMA. TI VOGILO BENE E MI MANCHI TANTO. IVANO

20 comments:

Gino Campioni said...

Ciao Ivano,

Thanks for that picture and story of your beautiful mother. I remember her very well, and with much fondness.

(It also reminded)me that Red Skelton often talked about his daughter, Valentina. It is a fine and worthy name. In fact it does mean "worthy". (from the Latin for strong, valiant, or of worth i.e.. valor)

Saluti, Gino

Thanks Gino: My mother was indeed all of that. ivno

lido cantarutti said...

Dear Ivano,

Thank you so much for alerting me to this entry on your blog site today. It is just wonderful to remember Valentina’s birthday, and so touching to see her in the picture with my mother — now 95 years old!

Thanks again, Ivano!

Lido

Ivano Franco Comelli said...

Lido: Thanks for your kind words. Also Happy Birthday to Evelina. I believe your mother was born in December 1912, so she was one month older than my mother. I hope she is doing well. I also believe that the photo on the 'Blagga' was taken in Felton in 1946. I am sure you remember that vacation. The War had just ended, Harry Truman was President, and Joe Louis had just knocked out Billy Conn in their long anticipated second fight. We of course weren't much concerned with all that . We just wanted to ride down the San Lorenzo river on that big rubber inner-tube, that Phil Taurian said came off a WWII Bomber Plane . Them were the days, my friend. ivno

Anonymous said...

I'll never forget Zia ...or Zio. Cherished memories. Joanne

reno cantarutti said...

IVANO Can't tell you how touched I was to see the article about your mother's birthday . I am not good with words , but I will give
you my thoughts on the one and only VALENTINA.

First of all , there is
a little bit of a "mystery " here. Growing up in a small town like Nimis, where was she able to get all that worldly knowledge she had?? I do know that no one had a greater influence on my mother than Valentina, to adopt to her ways here in AMERICA.

Upon meeting her you had to warm up to her because of her out standing SMILE and charm . Of course all our stomachs knew how good of a cook she was.And how organized she was to whip up a complete meal in no time, and enjoy doing it.

However, I personally remember that she won't hesitate to get on my habit of starting to drink soda before starting to eat.

Yes I do remember her favorite
phrase " DIO BUONO " I can still hear her words echoing in my ears, as well as her chasing you with the broom , and seeing you cover your head , before
she gently tap you on the head with the broom----the loving touch of GREAT mother .

VALENTINA we miss you and love you THANK YOU for all the
wonderful, memories we shared , I will NEVER forget you . HAPPY
BIRTHDAY VALENTINA . RENO

Canadian Furlan said...

Ivano my fellow Furlan. Wishing Valentina a very Buon Compleanno. As I mentioned in another section. Our family was very good friends with Evelina's sister Luigia (Gigute) in Windsor Ontario Canada. This is Lido's and Reno's aunt. Fantastic people. I will make sure to keep your mother in our prayers. And Ivano again I mention this excellent recount of all the historical events Su per la Costa. I feel as if I grew up there as well. I can see it now.. Take care my fellow Furlan. Ciao e Mandi
Doriano

ivano said...

Reno: Thanks for your kind words about Valentina. I know that she loved you and also your entire family. I know others will be touched by your words.

As I told Lido, I believe the photo was taken in 1946 in Felton. I am sure you remember that vacation. You twisted your ankle going down the side of the Hill to get to the San Lorenzo River before us. I am sure you wanted to be first to go down the River on that big 'inner-tube'. Haste Makes waste. Thank God for Valentina's egg white concoction. (Beat several egg whites;fold onto cheesecloth and wrap around ankle.) It saved the day.
I think you were walking the next day. Sempre Avanti. Ivano

ivano said...

Thanks Doriano, for your comments and insights. They make interesting reading for everyone. Keep them coming. Yes, I feel that you are one of us. I will have to come up with a new certificate for 'Honorary Figlie della Costa'. BTW: Kathy and Derrill Kerrick (Those Honorary Furlans) finally made it to California. They brought with them Ramandolo Wine and Friuli Grappa. Con Bon Gusto. Wish you were here to enjoy it with me. Mandi ivno

canadian furlan said...

Ivano
Ramandolo WINE it's the best !!!! Last time we were there took my Mother and Father to the bar right next to the Church in Ramandolo we had a few bottles. By the way my father will be 84 on Saturday January 26th... he is a little upset because in the province of Ontario once you reach 80yrs old you have to renew your drivers license every two years. He went to do his test and instead of giving him an oral test they gave him a written test. Subsequently he did not do very well, needed to reschedule for another test. He's very upset. He is in good health and has been driving for 66 years with not one accident. He is good. I will tell him about the Ranadolo wine and grappa. My Father always has a bottle of Grappa he said it keeps you going. A good friend of ours from Friuli turned 100 yrs old this past July and she drinks a glass of Grappa every day. Her youngest Son who is 72 brings her the Grappa every day like clock work, and she is living in an old age home in Welland Ontario Canada. By the way she told me she has a signed autographed photo from Primo Carnera when he was in the area during his Wrestling days back in the early 50's. I have to go and pick it up.
Take care and I will keep adding to your site you can rest assured of that.

Ciao e Mandi e "Sempre Avanti"!

PS Have a glass of Grappa and I will have one and we can say Salute !!! to each other...

Doriano

Carolina Cariola said...

Ivano:

Oh my!! Two beautiful ladies. And Evelina is still living at age 95. I heard that the people from North Italy live very long lives. I wonder if Evelina drinks 'Grappa'. Like Doriano related, my father also drank a 'shot' of grappa in the morning. He lived to be 83 years old. Maybe there is something to it.

That story you tell about getting caught somoking cigarettes, reminds me of a an incident that occurred when I was about 6-years old. I caught my brother Giancarlo, then about 11 years old smoking behind the garage. I threaten to tell if he didn't let me smoke one of his cigarettes. Being blackmailed, he gave me one of his 'smokes'. I inhaled and then began ooughing really bad which alerted my father who was working in the family garden. Oh My!! Giancarlo didn't have chance. My father was on him in a moment's notice. He didn't need a broomstick. The back of his hand sufficed nicely. Talk about a 'pataff'. Whack!! Right across poor Giancarlo's face. That sent him reeling. It only took one. Giancarlo began crying and running away to find Mama. He wouldn't speak to me for days after. He figured I was the cause of his problems. Of course, I got away with only a warning from my father. I was his favorite.

Now, when I smoke a cigarette (which is not often,because I have weak lungs) I am reminded of that incident. By the way, like you, Giancarlo is a lifelong non-smoker. I always attributed that to that one big 'Pataff'. Carrie

Canadian Furlan !! said...

Ivano, and Carolina Cariola....yes Grappa is a mandated staple in all Furlan households. I can remember for many years begining right after the new year, starting mid January all the Furlan men would hibernate in their Cantina for hours.Transforming their left over crushed grapes, from their September wine production, into this white liquid which was placed in one of those large canning jars and passed around to all the paesanos who all sipped it and closed their eyes saying "Veramente buonissimo, il migliore. Between the Grappa making and the salami production the Furlan men made it a two month ritual. We would always have parties during the weekends where both the salami and the white liquid in the canning jar would be passed around for all to taste. Both the men and women and yes even some of the children. There were no issues as long as it was controlled. I firmly believe these traditions must be passed on and maintained. Ciao e Mandi Doriano

Saratoga Sam said...

Carrie: Your account about your brother Giancarlo, reminded me of the time that my mother found out about me playing "You show me yours and I will show you mine" with the girl next door. I think we were about 9 or 10-years old at the time. My mother told my fatherabout it. My father gave me what you call a "Pataff" (only we called it a "Schiaffo or a "Sperrla") with his backhand, right across my face.
Then he said, "You no do it no more!! Eh!! Capito".

Believe me, I understood. I never did it again. It still amazes me today that I have three children of my own. SS

ivano said...

The e-mail below is from my Aunt Lina (Bressani) Gemignani, my mother's youngest sister.

Thank you Ivano for your Mother 's picture. I really don't know where you found that one, Evelina most have had it. I couldn't Believe the way they looked at that time,--- slim, the midriff exposed like Marilyn Monroe style! It must have been something for the Davenport people to see. Thank you again.Love, Lina.

Thanks Lina: Actually the photo was in my collection. I have a few more that are my favorites (some include you) and from time to time I will post on the Blagga. ivno

Ivano Franco Comelli said...

Doriano: Your story of your Father and the Driver's License, reminded me the my father,'Bronco' probably 80 years old at the time had to take is Driver's license test. Like in your father's situation, the DMV insisted that he take a written exam. Of course not knowing how to read English very well, he failed. So he took the failed test home to study. He also solicited tests from everybody he knew who had taken the exam. He acutally memorized many of the questions with the correct answers. Sure enough, next time around he passed with 'flying colors". Leave to a Furlan to find away. Sempre Avanti ivno

Derrill Kerrick said...

Ivano:

I am really puzzled about who he (Saratoga Sam) is. From previous blog comments he
apparently knows me quite well. To (possibly)solve the mystery, maybe you
should add the following comment on the blog:

Saratoga:

Uomo di mistero: rivelisi prego a me.

Derrill ("Il impersonator")

Anonymous said...

Judging from Carolina Cariola's physical attributes, I would have never guessed that she had 'weak lungs."

Jaio said...

What a charming story dio bono:-)

Reno Cantarutti said...

IVANO Boy you really brought back , memories about my father , and the trauma when it came to taking the drivers test. His story goes like this:

Like most people his (trials and tribulations) started about 6 months, before renewell. (Of course), he would get
nervous. My dad never let anything bother him ,but this hit a nerve.
He would always take the RECORD test , same amount of questions, but harder ,because you couldn't go back to a question once it was repeated twice.

Also he would ask among his friends where there might be a DMV where there might be an ITALIAN , who in some way might be able to help .

This one time, I took him to a DMV in BERKLELY, ( which was recomend by a friend.) Once inside the DMV , he started to shake. An
AFRICAN AMERICIAN man who was there to take the same test , came up to dad to give him encouagement and said to him " Hey man don't be nervous , I had to take this test 4 times; its a piece of cake , no sweat " . (Lo and behold) he (my Dad) did pass the test. It happened to be the last one he took. RENO

Ivano says: Great story Reno. It's amazing what these 'Furlans' could accomplish in L'America.

Carolina Cariola said...

Reno: I just read your wonderful story about your Dad and the DMV.
It brings back memories when I had to take my exam. Although I can read English, I would always be so nervous that I would have to take the test a couple of times. Once they actually made me drive. Every thing went well, until I had to parallel park. I kept driving up on the sidwalk. Luckly,the DMV Examiner felt sorry for me. He allowed me to pass. He was really a nice guy. I dated him a couple of times after that.

To Anonymous Polenta-Head: Better 'weak Lungs' than an 'empty head'. Carrie

Anonymous said...

I called a friend who gave me this cialde recipe. It is not the same as the one my mother made or maybe it is. Here it is.
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup butter or oil ( I would use canola) but that would take it to how cooks cook today).
2 tsp. anise flavored liqueur
or 2 tsp anise flavoring
2/3 cup water
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. whole anise seed

1. Combine all EXCEPT flower and anise seed.
2. Beat well
3. Stir in anise seed and flour
4. Drop batter by the teaspoonfuls onto the center of each cookie section on baking tin.
5. Close lid and allow to cook 30 to 45 seconds or until LIGHTLY browned.
Use either towel or a rack if you have one and place them on either the towel or rack.
Wait until cool.
Dust with powdered sugar and you are done!
I have not made this recipe so I cannot guarantee anything!
Nancy Quilici Jacobs