Sunday, July 20, 2008


IL CAPITANO FRANK MICOSSI (right) WITH ZVAN DEL LOSC (center), IVANO'S GRANFATHER; AND A MICOSSI FAMILY RELATIVE (left) IN NIMIS, ITALY, C. 1945. [Photo courtesy of my cousins, Cesare and Anna Maria Comelli. Nimis , Italy.]






In my book 'La Nostra Costa', I write about the Micossi Family, Tony and Rosie and their children Frank and Rena. [Chapter 12: 'La Strada Per Pescadero (The Road to Pescadero), pages 131-134]. On page 137, I have a photo of Frank Miccosi [c.1945] who was then stationed in Northern Italy as a Captain in the US Army. As I write in the book, Frank or "Franchin" (fran keen') as we use to call him, was a boyhood hero to my brother John and me when we were growing up 'su per la costa'. Il Capitano Frank Micossi was also a hero in Nimis, Italy [his father's as well as my father's hometown]. In the book I write: "While there, (Frank) bought surplus U.S. Army supplies and food, and distributed the items among the war-lorn citizens." He is still remembered there today.

Because of the Internet and the LNOSTRA-COSTA Blog, Jolene Fusari, a cousin of Frank Micossi sent me the following e-mail and photos above:

Dear Ivan,

My name is Jolene Fusari. I do some family genealogy and last night as I was looking up some information on my cousin, Frank Micossi, I came across your (very) interesting blog. I also recognized some of the names that are mentioned.

Frank's Mother, Rosina (Fusari) Micossi, married Antonio (Tony) Micossi. In 1920. Tony and partner Charles Bergamini had a Hotel on Cooper Street in Santa Cruz. Rosie and my Nono, Luigi Fusari, were sister and brother. The Fusari family came from Castiglione, Massacarra, Italy. Nono Luigi married Rachele Piffero (my Nona).
My Nono, Luigi had a brother Edward. Together they had a ranch up on Vine Hill. There they planted grape vineyards, apples, pears, cherries, etc.. They also made Wine. I remember hearing that people used to come out from Santa Cruz to drink wine, eat bread and cheese; then when they left they would take a few bottles along with them to drink on the way home. When the bottles were empty they would just through them out along the way. It is said that if you search (hard enough) along the side of Branciforte Drive, you can still fine some of those old bottles. My father told me that when he was a kid and was in school, (I believe it must have been during prohibition), he saw my uncle Ed driving past….. going like a bat out hell, with the “revenuers” hot on his tail. (The old Vinehill School Is still there, but it is a house now. I remember living in it for a while as a child with my Nona. My cousin Louie still has property on Vine Hill, but it is a lot less than it used to be. I was raised there and I loved it. (I enjoyed) many happy times. )

Amadeo Piffero, my Nona's father brought her to this country; my Nono Fusari brought her brother Francesco (Frank) Piffero, her sister Leopoldina (Polda) Piffero, Vitale Adolfo Piffero and his wife Louigina (they were my Godparents) to this country. The Piffero's, were from, Spoccia, Novara, Italy. Polda married Pete Locatelli. They had two daughters Eva Locatelli (Pini) and Mabel Locatelli. Pete owned a hotel and restaurant on Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz, I don't remember the name of it, but I do remember going there with my Nona, when she would go to help out.

I (will always) remember the first time I saw my cousin, Frank Micossi. It was in the 1940's and was a little girl then. There was a big party at the Vine Hill School House Lots of people were there and they had music.( It may have been when he came home from Italy after the war, or maybe before he left.) There he was, this tall handsome man in uniform. I must have been bugging him so he finely danced with me. (There) I was, standing on his shoes as we danced and I totally fell in love with him and I have had a crush on him all of my life. No one ever knew but me …… until now. Now you know (my big secret).

Unfortunately, Frank died much too young. I know that he died in Monterey on April 7, 1967. He was only 49 years old.

I was born in Santa Cruz on June 21, 1942, My Father's Name was Joseph Louis Fusari, my mother's name was Dorothy Marie Blake. My Father's brothers names were Augustino (Sam), Adolfo (Dell), His sister was Palma. Sam work all his life for Big Creek Lumber, as did his sons Louie and Augie.

More about Frank: I believe it must have been his dream to become an actor as he attended acting school, 'Pasadena playhouse College of Theatre Arts'. He was in a play called 'Pillars of Society' February 13 to 18th of 1939. He played Johan Tonnesen in the play. I have been to the Holy Cross Cemetery(Santa Cruz) and have taken pictures of Family Head stones, I thought it would be a good way to keep tract of birth and death dates, I have Frank's. I haven't been there in a long time. I live south in a little town called Santa Paula, in Ventura County about 60 miles from Los Angeles. My brother Gary Fusari still lives in Santa Cruz, he a custom home building Contractor. I am sending you a couple photos, one is of my grandmother Rachele Fusari, it is a beautiful Photo, my Favorite. The other a photo of her and from left to right, my dad Joe, Dell, Sam and sister Palma Fusari. I may have one of Frank taken in Italy, I will send it also, maybe you can tell me if it is.

I don't know if you knew any of the people I have mentioned or not let me know. Waiting to hear from you .


IVANO SAYS: Thanks Jolene. What a wonderful story to remind all of us of Frank. Yes, he died much too young. I miss him a lot. Hopefully, my fellow 'blaggatori' will recognize the names you mentioned and will come forward with some additional information. Also, thank you for sharing your beautiful photos with us. 'Con un bacin d'mor'. Ivano

Jolene also sent the above photo, however, she was unable to ID the two persons in it. It was such a beautiful photo that I decided to publish it anyway. Perhaps someone might recognize the man and the women in the photo. First prize is a guided tour of 'La Nostra Costa' by that noted author Ivano Franco Comelli.


Ivano Franco Comelli said...

Jolene: Thanks so much for e-mailing me with this information. Growing up "su per la costa" Frank Micossi, your cousin, was one of my boyhood heros. My family was quite close to the Micossi Families Tony, Rosie, Frank, and Rina and also Frank, Pina, and Thelma. (Tony and Pina were my Godparents.)

I write about these families in my book, "La Nostra Costa". I have a photo of your cousin in the book when he was a WWII Captain in Nimis Italy. On the cover of my book is a photo of Rosina Micossi along with "Carabiniere" who was a part owner of the Hotel Italia in Davenport. My Cousin in Italy recently sent me another Photo of your cousin Frank with my Grandfather, taken during tlhis same time period.

BTW: I am in touch with Thelma Micossi. I will forward a copy of your e-mail to her and I am sure she will contact your cousin Rina who lives in Santa Cruz, but does not have e-mail.

The Micossi's I have mentioned above including Frank are all buried at Holy Cross Cemetary in Santa Cruz. I visit them often. Ivano

thelma (Micossi) Gill said...

Good Morning Jolene:

Let me introduce myself, I’m Thelma Micossi Gill and I am related paternally to Frank Micossi and Rena Micossi. My father was Frank Micossi and he was a cousin to Antonio Micossi. I grew up in Davenport, CA.

Ivano forwarded your e-mail to me last week and I found it very interesting because I’m in touch with Rena Micossi (Franks's sister) all the time. I sent her a copy of your e-mail and talked to her over the weekend and she would like to hear from you. She indicated that she knew you and lost track of where you are. I would very much appreciate your contacting her as she would be most anxious to talk to you., or you can give me information on how you can be contacted and I will forward it to her.


Jolene Fusari said...

Hi: Ivano. Nice to hear from you again. I know that my family were not from the same part of Italy (Friuli);however,we are all of the same family in this Country. The Santa cruz area was settled by mostly by Italians.

My Grandfather Luigi and his
brother Ed Fusari came to this country circa 1909. After working here for a few years, they bought land in the Santa Cruz mountains above Scotts Valley. This was before Hwy 17 was there. (When the hwy was built it went right through the middle of the ranch.)

They cleared the land, planted orchards and vineyards, made wine and it became known as the Vine Hill Ranch. That is how Vine Hill Road got its name. I believe some time during prohibition the wine making ended. Also my Grandfather Luigi past away in October 1928, from pneumonia, complications of an auto accident.

By The way, we could be called part of the La Nostra Costa family, as we could see 'la costa' from our ranch.

The photo of the woman is my Grandmother, Rachele Fusari (Piffero) Maiden Name. She is holding her first born child my aunt, Palma. Photo taken c.1913.

The group photo is the Fusari family: Front Rachele or Mollie as she was called. Back, left to right: her Four children: My Dad, Joe, Dell, Sam, Palma.

I'm sending you 3 more photos:

Photo 1. my Grandfather Luigi, and Grandmother Rachele Fusari, notice the backdrop is the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

photo 2. the Fusari Vine hill Ranch

Photo 3. Old Vine Hill School


ivano said...

Received the following e-mail inquiry from Len Klempnauer, former Santa Cruz Sentinel Columnist and Chief Organizer for the Santa Cruz High School Class of '54 Alumni.

Hi, Ivan,

Is the Frank Micossi mentioned in your July 20 blog the same Frank Micossi who owned Micossi's Restaurant on the West Side of Santa Cruz?

One of the best ways I've found out to determine whether someone grew up on the West Side of Santa Cruz -- and, of course, all the way up the coast -- or not is to ask what the name of Facelli's Restaurant was before Louie Facelli took it over.

Those who grew on the West Side will always answer Micossi's.

Len Klempnauer

--- Yes indeed Len. Frank, along with his father Tony, mother Rosie (Fusari) and sister Rena, owned and managed Micossi's in the 1950s. (LNC: page 136; footnote #45) Lou Facelli later took it over and the restaurant renamed Facelli's became extremely popular in the 1960s and 70s. ivn0

Anonymous said...

Buon Giorno Ivano:

Just heard that Joe Aliberti just published his book “Joey.” I’m going to try to find out where I can buy it. Do you know anything about it? I guess he’s writing about his days growing up in Davenport. Should be interesting.

Sempre avanti - Mandi Thelma

Ivano says: Joe Aliberti book can be obtained by going to the Authorhouse bookstore at:

Ivano Franco Comelli said...

Received another interesting e-mail from Len Klempnauer

Hi, Ivan,

A couple of days after I asked you about Micossi's Restaurant, I happened to be in Gayle's pastry-and-sandwich shop in Capitola when Al Fehn, Class of '55, meandered in, and we began reminiscing about Facelli's on West Cliff Drive (formerly Micossi's).
Al worked there, and so did the late Chuck Gill, also Class of '55, and Bob Pinkham, Class of '54, according to Al. I think all three were bartenders, at least Al and Chuck were. Can you think of anyone else from SCHS classes of the mid-1950s who worked at Facelli's?
I can remember going there for the wedding reception when Don Bargiacchi got married. There were probably other special occasions, too, but none seems to come to mind.
Len Klempnauer

Thanks Len for bringing up some names of our Schoolmates. I remember Al bartending at Facelli's; however, I don't recall seeing the others. Since I was living mostly in San Jose at the time, I only frequented Facelli's
on a few occasions. I remember attending Lou and Ines Moro's
(25th??) Wedding Anniversary there in the 1970s. (As you know they both passed away this year.)

I also remember Lou Facelli greeting us at the door with a handshake and smile and without missing a beat going into his familiar routine of telling us one of his famous jokes. He was quite a guy.
He loved that Restaurant. Later, when he had retired, he would always remind us (he was a member of the Santa Cruz Elks of which I was also a member) that no one believed that he could make a go of a Restaurant located in the middle of a Sprout Patch. He certaily proved them wrong.


Canadian Furlan said...

Thanks Ivano
I am grateful you can you use my inserts. Reading the Blagga I can relate with a lot of the experiences because no matter where in the world the Italian immigrants locate to they have the very same mannerisms. Yesterday while visiting my father (who will soon be 85) a friend of his Bruno came over to bring us fresh eggs, well Bruno Infanti a Furlan, has a small hobby farm outside of St Catharines Ontario he was a Brick Layer by trade during his younger years, but always maitained about 10 acres of land for his love of being a "contadino". Well Bruno has been providing our entire family with fresh eggs for many many years, my daughters will not eat an egg purchased from the grocery store, they can always identify how rich and large Bruno's eggs are. Bruno also has some vines on his property making a fine batch of wine every year. I mentioned to Bruno about the Blagga and how one paesano used boots to crush the grapes with foot power. Well Bruno started to tell us a story back in the early 30's in Fruili how that was the only way to make wine... we had a good laugh.

Gino (Campioni) I am certain will relate to a lot of these recollections.

Ciao e Mandi
And thanks again Ivano for including my pieces in your Blagga

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I am from Nova Scotia and I've recently been doing some family research. I discovered that my great grandmother was a Micossi (born in Nova Scotia) but her sister Noemi Micossi born in Udine, Italy. Their parents were Protassio & Theresa (Tubetti) Micossi. Just wondering if you have heard of these names and if they are somehow related to the Micossi's you speak of in your blog?

Krystal (

Krystal said...

Hi there,

I previously posted a comment a couple years ago but recently came across a border crossing document that mentions a Cesare and Protassio Micossi (my 2nd great-grandfather) crossing into St. John New Brunswick, Canada, in November 1913. Just wondering if this Cesare could be your cousin that you referred to providing the photograph in your blog??

Ivano Franco Comelli said...

Hi Krystal: The Cesare I'm referring to is married to my cousin Anna Maria Comelli and lives in Nimis, Italy. He was born after 1913 so it wouldn't be the Cesare you are referring to. I'm not familiar with Protassio and Theresa Micossi (Tubetti) although the Micossi and Tubetti names are quite common in the Nimis Area. If you give me your e-mail address I will put you in touch with Thelma Micossi who would have more infor.

Anonymous said...

Hi, my name is Angelia Hill. My grandmother's name was Palma Fusari and my grandfather's name was Victor Kehrberg. I am very interested in learning more about this side of my family! I'd love to get to know any of my family! I can be found on Facebook as Angelia Hill and my email address is
I am looking forward to hearing from any and all family that is willing! Thank you very much!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jolene, I think we may be related! Palma was my grandmother. She married Victor Kehrberg. Their son Mathew Kehrberg is my dad! If this really is how the line goes, I'd love to speak to you some time! ~Angelia Hill