Tuesday, January 29, 2008


PHOTO: The pretty little girl in front is LaNorma, photographed circa 1946. Standing behind her from left to right: Quinto Neri, Norma's Uncle; Diana Dinelli,Norma's Mother,Dante Dinelli,Norma's Father, and Elvira Neri, Norma's Aunt. Notice the Coca-Cola sign in the background. The letters spell BELTRAMI'S. In 'La Nostra Costa" (P.227) I call this location "Serafina's". It was a Cafe and Gas Stop on the Coast Road owned by Serafina and Battista Beltrami. Part of the building can be see in the background behind Quinto Neri. Also, part of the Old Coast Road,running parallel to the PG&E poles, can be seen just over the Coca-Cola sign at the extreme right hand side of the photo.(Courtesy-LaNorma Family Collection)


That certainly was a great Blagga article regarding the recipes for ‘sprouzzi alla Jounzzi’ , Gino’s minestrone soup and Nancy’s 'ricotta pie'. And what beautiful photos. I enjoyed it all so much. By the way, is the 'ricotta pie’ recipe by Nancy Jacobs (Quilici)??

Buon Compleanno to your Mom, Valentina. She truly was a great lady. I treasure her memory so much. What stands out most for me, besides all her other assets, was her beautiful complexion. She had the peaches and cream coloring…..I so much admired. Her cheeks were always a gorgeous pink color.
I also remember my Dad (Dante Dinelli) bringing us to your house on an occasional summer day and we would all go “al mare” – that was so much fun. Valentina driving the ‘old carrettone” would also pick up my Zia Elvira and cousin Laura Neri (now Gularte). That was before seat belts etc. (Gosh!! How did we all survive?) As you say in your book – La Nostra Costa - the beaches up the coast were to be respected and we certainly weren’t allowed to play in the water as we were at the Santa Cruz beach. Great memories.
Addressing the DMV situation and our dear old timers…….. I remember my Dad telling me that in l927, there were getting to be quite a few drivers on the road. So the DMV (CHP was all one unit with DMV at the time) with some men from their Sacramento office, came to the ranches and announced, “Come up to the Ocean View Hotel in Davenport and we will give out Drivers Licenses” – guess that was how the first of the licenses to drive were issued.

Later on (I don’t remember the exact year), “il gran amico della costa”, John Battistini (John Battistini Insurance) spoke with his friend Bill Lenson, head of the local Santa Cruz DMV Office in regards to giving driver’s licenses to the ranceri and other fellow Italians. As it turned out, after their discussion, the ‘ranceri’ just had to “occasionally” take a driving test, Usually this happened if it was there first time driving. (BTW: Today, Bill is in his 90’s and lives in Spring Lakes with his Italian wife Evie).

One day in the late 40s or early 50s, my Dad, whose license was due for renewal, was getting gas at the Puccinelli (?) gas station on Water Street in Santa Cruz. As faith would have it, Bill Lenson was also getting gas there. My Dad happened to mention to Bill that he needed a new driver’s license. Bill said, “Follow me up to the office and I will give it to you” (DMV office was then where the eastside post office is on Soquel Ave. across from the Taco Bell.) That’s all it took then.

Years later, after Bill had retired and things changed drastically……my Dad did what a lot of the old ranceri did – he obtained all the tests he could get a hold of and studied them so well, that (as you said your father did) he probably memorized all the questions and answers. When the time came to take the written test, he went in with all the other English speaking Americans—and he would get 100%. Like the other Italians “su per la costa”, he did not want any special treatment for the record.
Thank you Gino Campioni for translating all those Blagga articles into Italian. It is such great practice for me (us) to read it and keep up with our Italiano. I miss talking to the ‘old timers’ so much. It doesn’t take much to lose “la pratica” as far as the language goes.

Anyway – thank you Gino – great job – keep up the good work and hope to meet you again. Perhaps in Santa Cruz sometime soon – maybe at a get together to celebrate Ivano’s libro……and also our folks who paved the way for all of us and made the story of “La Nostra Costa” possible.

Ciao per ora – Norma Dinelli Wilson

Ivano says:

Mille Grazie for the memories, Norma. Yes, the recipe for the ‘ricotta pie’ was by Nancy (Quilici) Jacobs, who grew up on a ‘rancio su per la costa’. Nancy is living in Pacific Grove now, however, she also maintains the old family home in Santa Cruz, which is located not to far from Casa D’Valentina. Hopefully, she is continuing to work on her memoirs. (Please check out comments by Nancy. More insights on 'la vita su per la costa'. ("Clicca" on comments below-right.)


Anonymous said...

My mother cooked in the Italian style and of course on the ranch one had to get creative. For example when she made ravioli she would cut them with a shot glass.
However, what I wanted to talk about was the topic of tortas. If you look up tortas on the internet they all come up Mexican more or less.
However, on the Foothill ranch located at Scotts Creek off of Highway 1 in the 1940's where we lived tortas were made. Not all of the time but sometimes for birthdays or special occasions.
I will describe them, I think that I am a good enough cook to be able to replicate them but it would take some time.
My mother made a swiss chard torta with a heavy sweet crust similar to the heavy pizza crusts of today except my mom's crust was sweet. It had a delicate sweetness to it but it was also very hearty. She used the same crust recipe for the following three tortas. One was a spinache/pine nut torta, the next was a chestnut torta my least favorite and the next was a rice/citron or rice/raisin or just plain rice torta. I liked the swiss chard and the spinace/pine nut tortas the best. And then the plain rice torta.
These tortas could be a meal by themselves.
Nancy Quilici Jacobs

Anonymous said...

My mother, even though she was way overweight was a first. Why? Because she was a semi vegetarian and really did not like meat. In those days no one was a vegetarian. Now many people are. Her breakfast was a lot of diffrent fruits, some from the fruit trees that we had planted at 503. She liked persimmons and the persimmon tree that she planted is still there and still producing fruit. She planted it over the sewer line and I had to replace part of the sewer line this last summer.I gave some persimmons to Virginia when I was there this last summer. I find persimmons to be a finicky fruit because they have to be just the right ripenesss or they are just plain bitter! Lunch and dinner for my mother consisted of a lot of vegetables, mostly from the garden.
Everyone else was a meat eater including me but on a small scale.
My mother really liked citrus. Anything orange or lemon was great to her.
For the holidays she made cardone and I do not know if I am spelling it right. That was quite a job because the cardone had to be wrapped for a week I think and then parboiled and finally carefully fried in olive oil. It was very tasty indeed. I don't think that I can make that one. I'll give it a maybe, maybe I can and maybe I can't!
Nancy Quilici Jacobs

Anonymous said...

Louis Poletti
If I am not mistaken that was my father's partner. Louis Poletti owned the Foothill Ranch and my father was either a partner or a part owner of the ranch or both.
I remember Louis Poletti's office across Highway 1 from the Davenport Cash Store. His business was called the Davenport Growers Association and I had an ash tray which was at 503 and it was one of the things stolen. We used to pack the sprouts and artichokes in colorful boxes and the artichokes in colorful paper and boxes and then they would be taken to Poletti's shipping house in Davenport where they were put on the train and shipped out if I am not mistaken. I kept the shipping paper for the artichokes and made a cover for my catechism book which I still have. The color has faded but it was quite beautiful when new. I remember meeting Mr. Poletti who had a cane.
Nancy Quilici Jacobs

Canadian Furlan said...

These recollections of past events along the coast "La Nostra Costa" are historical time capsules. There must have been a community that flourished regardless of situations, the Depression, WWII, they continued their work. I certainly also like all the recipes that are posted as well. The Furlans certainly had a way of improvising. I guess everyone during those difficult times had a way of improvising.. that is something that some of us should adapt now... Also the traditions like home wine making, salami and muset,does anyone out there know what Muset is??? Lets see who the real Furlans are!! That is one of the reasons I am involved with the Furlan Club of Niagara.. to ensure these traditions are not forgotten... Ciao e Mandi

Anonymous said...

Signora Norma,

Grazie tanto per suoi commenti gentili. Per me รจ un piacere fare traduzioni ed usare la nostra prima lingua.

I wonder if anyone knows how to make cialde. (pr."CHAL-deh") They are almost like Chinese fortune cookies, but the pastry is much thinner. They are formed with some sort of cookie cutter-like device, then sprinkled with powdered sugar. I met a lady from my father's home town of Uzzano. She lived in Portland. She called them "briciatini".

My mother made "cenci fritti". (pr. "CHEN-chee FREET-tee,i.e. fried rags) They were somewhat like what the people here in Oregon call "elephant ears", but were much smaller.

Buoni ricordi dei nostri vecchi.

Saluti, Gino

Rosa said...

Great Pic and nice story Norma and Ivano! Mille Grazie!

Carolina Cariola said...

LaNorma: What a pretty little girl you were. And such a pretty dress. It reminded me of the dresses I used to wear when I was that age. Of course, I had weak eyes so I had to wear glasses all the time. It wasn't until "contacts' came in that I was able to shed those spectacles. Carrie

anonymous fulan said...


Cathy Brovia said...


I just want to let you know how very much I have enjoyed your book.... I pick it up now and then and read different chapters. I have never read a book that kept my interest, such as the coast book....I re-read those chapters, and feel like I have lived those days with all you folks...Sure sounds like you people had such good times even though things were pretty tough in those days....My life was always pretty dull growing up, but thinking back there were things that I remember, but not the happy times such as you describe about growing up in Davenport.. I guess I should find more books that you have written and start reading more.

I have sent your blagga to many people, and they all enjoy reading it.

Take care, Joe (Brovia) and Virginia will be 86 on the 18th...sure hard to believe....


Ivano Franco Comelli said...

Thanks Cathy: Yes, It is hard to believe that Joe would have been 85 years old. It seems like only yesterday that he was 'swinging that bat' for the Sacramento Solons of the Pacific Coast League. I (we) will never forget him. And Happy Birhday Virginia, who still lives in Santa Cruz today.

Your article you wrote for the Blagga about growing up in the mid-west, indictated that your life was anything but boring. Along those lines, let me recommend a book, that you probably can get at your local library. It is entitled:
"Little Heathens",'Hard times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm during the Great Depression' by Mildred Armstrong Kalish,

I am sure it will bring back many memories to you. ivano

carolina cariola said...

Happy Birthday, Joe and Virginia Brovia. I will always remember Joe. He was such a handsome man, and boy, could he hit.

To:Annonymous Furlan. Don't worry, buddy!! I still have my 'ali'. I can take flight anytime I want. cc

Canadian Furlan said...

Ivano Mio Caro Amico and to all the Furlans "Su Per La Costa" refer to this web site http://www.regione.fvg.it/inglese/
it covers the entire area of Friuli and it is in English to make it easier. And for those of you who wish can set it into Italian. This gives you a very good thorough over view of the Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia. As most of you will note the Furlans are a different breed and certainly once you analyze the historical aspects of the region and the people you will know why...
Ciao e Mandi

ivano said...

Thanks Doriano: We Furlans need to get the word out about Friuli and its great history. Last week I attended an Italian Event in San Jose,CA. An older lady (older than me) asked me where my family was from. When I answered, "Friuli", she remarked "Where's that?".

Of Course She was of Sicilian Origin. That's a long way away (in more ways than one) from the "Land of the Furlans". ivno

LaNorma said...

Caro Ivano:

How is everything going? Don’t forget to let me know when you are going To be at the winery…..don’t want to miss it.

Talked to Rosa and told her to send in a story to the blogga. She has some Good ones too (as we all do). She has a good story about a landslide on the Road to the quarry where she lived and couldn’t get home from school.

Carrie (Carolina Cariola) send me a sweet message about the foto you put In the blogga with my last story. It was really nice of her. Would like to Acknowledge it and thank her for it – don’t have her e-mail – could you relay
The message? You can just forward this one to her – that will be fine….she

Says she used to wear glasses at a very early age. I can relate to that, tell her,I started first grade at Laurel School at age 6 with glasses and did not know one
Word of English!! Somehow we survived it all….and did pretty well!!

Grazie - LaNorma

Ivano Franco Comelli said...

Norma: The Wine Event is on Sat Feb 23, from 10:00 a to 3:00Pm at the Guglielmo Winery in Morgan Hill. I will send you a reminder later.

Unfortunately, I don't have an e-mail address for Carolina Cariola. The only way I can communicate with her is through the Blagga. I will post your message. Let's see if she responds. She is a pretty good 'Blagga" fan.

That's great that Rosa may submit an article. This weekend or early next week I will be posting an article by Nancy Quilici Jacobs with rare old photos.
Make sure you see that one.

Hope to see you soon< Ivano

Carolina Cariola said...

Oh LaNorma: We have so much in common. We are truely 'soul sisters'. Only girls who had to wear glass back when we were young could possibly know what it was like then. Do you remember the old taunts: 'Nyah, Nyah, Nanyaha', Here comes four-eyes, here comes four eyes." Or,"You look just like Miss Griffin".
Miss Griffin was my 4th grade teacher and,poor soul, she was skinny as a rail and not very good looking.

One time I left my glasses on my desk when I went out for recess. When I returned, they were gone. Some 'brat' stole them. I went all day without my glasses. I couldn't read or write a thing. Later someone found them in the Boys bathroom. I was simpy mortified. Should have heard the jokes and snickers then.

Well, I had the last laugh, Later in High School when I got contacts, all those boys who were snickering at me, were coming aroung to say "Hi, there, good-looking. What's cooking". Of course, it was something more than just me losing the glasses, that caused them to come around.

Take care, LaNorma. Keep writing those beautiful stories. carrie

Canadian Furlan said...

This message is to Ivano, LaNorma and Carolina Cariola....As I mentioned in my past comments, since meeting Ivano via Friuli Nel Mondo, and his article regarding "La Nostra Costa" and reading it in less than a week I feel as if I grew up with all of you on the Northern California coast ! And as La Norma states about starting school and not knowing a word of English... that is exactly what I experienced as well. We lived in little Italy in a small town called Welland, Ontario in the Niagara Region Canada. Here all the newly arrived Italian immigrants did not have to learn English because all the local stores and people spoke to them in Italian. My parents who are still both with us... Father 84 and Mother 81 still speak to me in Italian ... and they expect to be spoken to in Italian. Amongst themselves they speak "Furlan" which as I mentioned is an official language, recognized by the Italian government. And as Ivano mentions the Furlans are a group all on their own and much different than the remainder of Italy. In both language customs, and heritage...
I thoroughly enjoy reading the Blogg... keep the comments flowing and I will continue to keep on adding them. A couple of years ago I visited San Francisco we stayed right on the warf looking over onto Alcatraz we cycled over to Sausalito, we went for a hot air balloon ride over Napa Valley and toured the entire city of S Francisco... also we drove along the coastal Cabrillo Highway #1 to Carmel... we wanted to visit Clint Eastwood, ha ha... As always mentioned by Ivano .... this is beautiful country..
Ciao e Mandi

Anonymous said...

The American spelling for cardone is cardoon.
This from the green grocer of old!
Nancy Quilici Jacobs

Anonymous said...

My mother knew how to make cialde even though she was from Lucca. Also, in regards to the cardoon, it is dipped in batter and fried but it is quite a process. My mother was a good cook and did it well. It is different and very tasty!
The cialde is probably difficult. I knew she made it and I wish I could just remember how!
Nancy Quilici Jacobs

LaNorma said...


Great blogga info and stories from everyone!!

Thanks to Carolina Cariola – was great to hear about her Glasses at school story!!

Thanks to the wonderful “new” friends in Canada. It is so
Interesting how many of us did start school and did not know
How to speak English – only Italian – our first language. It is nice To meet fellow Italians in Canada – what a wonderful thing the Blogga is and thanks to the modern technology of internet – what A blessing to be able to communicate at such speed and detail!!

I am not sure of the Canadians name but thanks for such great input on Your part. Hopefully you will visit San Francisco and the west coast soon Again and we can all meet. Your last visit sounded very interesting!!!

You are blessed that your parents are still with you – I know we all miss Our parents so very much and speaking Italian with them.

Ivano lost his Beautiful Mom at a very early age. We must keep up our heritage in all Aspects – especially the language.

I am Toscana from Lucca but Italian is Italian no matter where our ancestors were from. We are very blessed that They immigrated to North America.


Canadian Furlan said...

Hey LaNorma... this is the Canadian Furlan my name is Doriano and thank you for the input. I thank God every day for the very fact that my parents are still with us and living on their own with no help. My Mother and Father still live in their own home, my Father still drives and my mother just recently, a week ago, had hip replacement surgery...They are both unbelievable. I hope to ensure their traditions and ethics are carried on. I am amazed at the amount of Italian Americans out there in the West Coast. We live just over the border of Western New York and as everyone knows New York has a very strong Italian background. As a matter of fact many Italian American restaurants have become legendary in the city of Niagara Falls New York. We drive over quite frequently it is about a 20 minute drive. The border crossing has become more stringent since 9/11 however it has never been a problem for any of us, we have never been detained for any reason. LaNorma we will keep the comments on the blogg and yes I would definitely plan another trip to California. I have promised my parents that I will take them as soon as Mom recovers from her hip surgery...
Take care Ciao e Mandi

Anonymous said...

I am surprised to read that La Norma is from Lucca. My parents also were from Lucca.
Each province in Italy is definitely a little bit different only because they have different histories.
Italy is like a patchwork quilt. All the different provinces are what makes it interesting. If I am not mistaken they all have their own dialect as well.
Nancy Quilici Jacobs

Debra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debra said...

I am writing to you all to Thank you so much for having this website my parents were so happy to hear familiar names from the old days. I have ordered the book for them. I am the daughter of Louie and Doris Lazzarini my father is the son of Adolfo and Madeline Lazzarini they farmed on the coast for many years. They would love to hear from you. They are doing well and still living on there own. They reside in the Dell Web community in Lincoln Calif. They would love to hear from you I know miss those days. Thank you Debra

Ivano Franco Comelli said...

HELLO DEBRA and welcome aboard the LNostra-Costa Blagga Train. I remember Mario Lazzarini. He used to hang out a lot at 'Serafina's' "su per la costa" He was at my mother's citizenship party held there in 1945 (LNC: P.223). His name also appears on page 234 re the Italo-Americano BBQ held at Laguan in 1949.

Also if you scrutinize the list of newly made citizens in the article that I posted on the 'blagga'
www.nostra-costa.blogspot.com you will once again come across his name.

As for your torta, there are couple of recepies for it on the 'blagga'. Type Torta in the search space at the left hand corner of the front page. Hopefully this will bring them up for you.

Sempre Avanti. Ivano