Monday, October 13, 2008


I WANT TO THANK ALL OF YOU WHO ATTENDED Ivano's presentation at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History last Saturday morning. Ivano told me that you were a great audience and kept him going for over an hour and half. Wow!! That's great.
Unfortunately, I could not be there. I had heard that King Hussein II of Jordan was touring Alaska on his Harley. I wanted to "catch" him before he left. I still haven't caught up with him, however; my trusty Harley, "Laskan Scaduie" (photo above) is pretty darn fast. I read on Ivano's 'blagga' that His Majesty liked to stop at small out of the way places for 'rest stops' (like the Whale Street Bakery in Davenport). I am going to speed up to 'Nomie" to see if I can catch up with him there. Wish me luck and thanks again for coming to see Ivano and 'The Old Rancere' recreate Historical "Nostra Costa" events. Maybe I will see you next time, if I'm not too busy (wink-wink) with other "Foreign Events".
IVANO SAYS: I also want to thank everyone who attended. I also want to thank Researchers Anonymous and the staff of the The Santa Cruz Museum for having me at their Beautiful Museum.
BTW: The Museum is now carrying my book. Stop in and buy a copy (or two) of "La Nostra Costa (Our Coast). The book makes for a great Holiday Gift and it is a great way to support the fine works of the SC Museum. Thanks again e Sempre Avanti.
Ivano Franco Comelli is the author of "La Nostra Costa" (Our Coast), A Family's Journey To And From the North Coast of Santa Cruz, California (1923-1983). Please visit Ivano's website at :


Ivano Franco Comelli said...

I have re-published here several of the comments that I received from those who attended the event. Thank you, all. ivano

Subject: Great to See Your Presentation

Thanks for the invitation, it was great to see you in action. Nancy and I have seen you on TV several times, nothing beats the real thing. I am attaching a rather badly scanned photo graph of myself and Carlene Modena daughter of Mrs and Mrs Charles Modena of the Coast Road. Photo was taken in 1961 at their residence on Dimeo Lane. Charlene is a successful Fine Artist and educator living on the coast above San Francisco. You didn't know I also have connections to the La Nostra Costa.
Again, great to see you say HI to Mildred. Lets do lunch.

Walter Young

8:58 AM

Ivano Franco Comelli said...
(Walter Young, who e-mailed the above comment, was my neighgor in Scotts Valley for twenty years. He still lives at the same address. ivno)

Thanks Walt and thanks for the photo. So what happen between you and the pretty Modina girl? Didn't she like your crew cut??

I should do an article on the Modinas. Charlie's wife was a Dimeo. Her sister was Margret Dimeo Fambrini . Her brother was Fred Dimeo. I write about the Fambrini Family and Fred Dimeo (who was a great friend to my Uncle Joe Gemignani)in the book. I also have two great photos of Fred with my uncle, in the book.

I visited the Modinas last year. They still live in the same place (on Dimeo Lane). Their house was originally the Dimeo Ranch Cookhouse. Before Dimeo Lane became Dimeo Lane, it was known to us as "La Strada del Dompo" (The Dump Road), since it ended at the City Dump.

Charlie, who is in his early 90s, proceeded to tell me all the stuff I got wrong in the book. After he finished criticizing me, I said to him, "Well Charlie, at least you read my book." His answer, "Oh no, I haven't read the book, I just heard about it."

Knowing the Modinas for so long, I had a good laugh at that one. Needless to say I left them a copy of the book. Unknown if they read it.

Yes need to make it for lunch. Maybe your neighbor across the way, Marvin Del Chiaro (my old college roommate) can join us. Will make him pay.

Again thanks for being there (at the Presentation). I usually go for about 40 minutes. You guys kept me going for 1 hr and 40 minutes. See you soon. ivn0

9:13 AM

mike kuffel said...
Subject: soooooooooooo

how did it go & how many books did you sell?

10:10 AM

Ivano said...
(I think it was) A very successful presentation. I was suppose to go for 40 minutes; the group kept me going for 1 hour and 40 minutes. Sorry, you missed it.

Fortunately, (perhaps unfortunately for the Museum) most of the people there had already purchased the book (not all were Italian either) and were there to listen to me re-create the events that they had read about (my fans).

The most important part is that the Museum Staff seemed to be very pleased with my presentation and they are now carrying the book. I think along the way, tourist who will be visiting the Museum may buy the book. Any way I was happy with the way things went. Sempre Avanti. Ivano

10:15 AM

Bill Cleveland said...
Hi Ivan,
Your presentation was very entertaining and I'm glad I went. Forty minutes would be too short, that's for sure. I think for those women sitting in front of me it was a trip down memory lane. It's no wonder they keep coming back.


10:23 AM

ivano said...
(Bill Cleveland,another one of my College Roomates is married to Marcie [Williams] a Santa Cruz High School, class of '55 Grad. Bill is also a SCHS Class of '56 Grad. Bill always liked 'older' good looking women.

Thanks Bill for attending my presentation. I enjoyed having you there very much. Let's have lunch real soon, maybe at Harry's Hofbrau. You Pay. ivn

10:33 AM

carolina cariola said...
Ivano: I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your presentation. You were so animated and you made your stories come to life. And I loved your singing. It brought back great memories for me.

I wanted to come up and have you sign my book but I thought you would be too dissappointed in me, after hearing all those stories (some true and others not)about me.

Still, I won't have missed it for the world. Please keep on doing what you are doing. You were wonderful. Loved your outfit with the hat and shavola. Carrie

10:54 AM

Anonymous said...
Hi Ivano,
If you have Sarah at your next talk I'll come to that one too (but I won't vote for her.)

8:46 PM

Walter Young said...

Very funny, Charlene and I were good friends. The photo was taken while I was on Christmas leave. It was one of the last times I saw Charlene and my Model A Ford, my mother sold it while I was in Europe. Several of my friends and I dated some Holy Cross Girls for a time, until several fathers put an end to it. A friendship between Charlene and I grew out of what was the end of our teenage years. I should have known you would know the family. I recall her father hauled sprouts. I don't think her father ever said more than 5 words to me. Her mother, Mrs. Modena to me,was about the kindest women I have ever met. She made the best coffee in the world. We I went overseas she gave me a coffee maker and come coffee. I still have that coffee pot in my camping gear. She is one of those people you never forget. I recall their home as the warmest place I had ever been in spite of its simple nature. I was in brief contact with Charlene a number of years ago. I got the impression she was doing well.
Enough of my Coast story, it was the time of times.

(You were mistaken in your presentation) I was on the Scotts Valley Planning Commission for a year or so. I did not run for City Counsel.

Ivano said...

Walt: With all the stories the 'Old Rancere" has in his head, he is going to make a mistake or two. However, I remember that you also ran for Santa Cruz County Sheriff a while back. Easy to confuse the two. BTW: I believe that Mrs. Modina's first name is Theresa. You are absolutly correct, she is a wonderful person.

kernel korn said...

Hey Kap,

I thoroughly enjoyed being there too; always enjoy your stories, and also enjoy seeing all the old gang; I wish I could have
met Walt; maybe I know him by sight; but regardless, yes, let's see if we can get together for lunch someday; I really enjoy
Gilda's (on the Wharf), but I'm agreeable to whatever works for you.

I do have to remember to get one of your books for Gary Marietti, a local dentist, who's grandfather, Luigi (Louie) Marietti
did some farming up the coast during the war, and later was the owner or part owner of the old Santa Cruz Hotel. Gary's
mom was a Canepa, one of the fishnig families. I have to find my notes re: the personalization of the book.

Ciao. KK

ivano said...

Kernel: Thanks for being there. Actually Walt was sitting right if front of you. You probably didn't recognize him because he isn't sporting his crew cut any more.

Thanks again for being there.

norma cantarutti reiter said...

So sorry we missed this great event time just did not permit for us to attend.Please ,please keep us in mind for future gatherings.
P.S. Is there a toxic study going on in Davenport? I also heard that Erin Brokovich was getting involved...

ivano said...

Norma: Missed you. Maybe next time. Supposely the old cement plant is spewing Chromium 6. Same chemical Erin was involved with. Unknown if she is getting involved in this. Man how did your brothers Reno and Lido (Cantarutti) and the rest of us survive when their were no environmental controls on the plant. That was the time when everyone thought that all the buildings in Davenport were painted a grayish white.
Of course it was the result of all the cement dust from the plant. Keep in touch. Ivano

lanorma said...


The presentation on Saturday at the Santa Cruz Museum was really great!

You did a marvelous job as usual. It was so interesting to see so many “Americans” There and just a handful of Italo-Americans. They all seemed so interested and The questions they asked were great – they seemed to especially want to know about The WWll events with the Italians and the Coast.

On the first comment about the Harley and the King of Jordan in Alaska. Who is that By and who is in the picture with the Harley and the log cabin in the background? Also When are they talking about the King being in Alaska? Very interesting. I did not see a Name and wondered who is responding.

Also would have liked to have met some of the people in the audience at your event.

Did I understand correctly – Carrie Cariola was there? Have heard so much about her in Your blogga – would have loved to have met her. Also some others that are mentioned such As Walter Young and Bill Cleveland.

The Italian couple from your region in Italy were really interesting. I enjoyed so much speaking Italian to them. Miss speaking it now that our parents and oldtimers are gone and do not wantTo lose the language. We must get together and speak it occasionally. Flora Anecito loves to Speak it and misses it – she is a wealth of information about years ago on the Coast and so is
Lola Aliberti.

Let us know when the Italians come back to California in April – hope that works for them.

Good to see Marvin – hope he e-mails some of the fotos he took. He always takes great ones.

Again – thanks for a great presentation. Keep us all posted.

Ciao per ora - LaNorma

Ivano Franco Comelli said...

Hei LaNorma: The young lady in the photo is actually Sarah Palin, the Commander and Chief of the Alaskan National Guard. The photo came to me via e-mail from someone.
Of course the article that goes along with the photo is done tongue n'cheek and goes along with the "Buon Giorno - Six-Packers" article (also done 'tongue 'n cheek') below it. BTW. The young lady on the cover of the magazine is a model and not the real Sarah Palin.

The King of Jordon being in Alaska is a figment of my imagination (done in jest) and goes along with the article you provide me "The King of Jordon Visits the Whale Street Bakery" also posted on the Blagga. (I probably should edit the article to clarify.)

Carolina says she was there and I was sadden that she didn't come up and introduce herself. I am sure she would have been the hit of the presentation. Maybe next time. I certainly hope so.

The Italian couple, Prof. Danilo Toneatto and his wife Guiliana, were from Flambro, Italy, just south of Udine. That's not too far from Nimis, where Bronco and Valentina (my father and mother) were born. They promised to visit my cousins when they get back to Italy. I am sure they will have a lot of stories to tell about the presentation and La Costa. BTW: I took them to Gildas on the Wharf, for lunch and they were really impressed with their Photo Hall of Fame depicting their family history in the fishing industry. I also took them su per la costa to see 'il buco' and Davenport. I took them all the way up to "La Slida" (Waddell Bluffs Area). They were very excited to see all the wind-surfers and kite flyers. It seems that one of their sons is into that. Guiliana took much video and said it was her favorite spot to date on her visit.

Since Flora does not do the internet I need to send you on assignmet (again) to interview her and get a bio of her family, plus any other interesting stories she might have. Remember to get old photos for the Blagga.

Yes, I have found many non-Italians to be very interested in the "La Nostra Costa Story". Sometimes they seem to be more interested than the off-spring of those Italians who actually created the History (present company excluded of course).

LaNorma, thanks to you and Al for your continued support and "Sempre Avanti" Ivano

Ivano Franco Comelli said...

I thought I would share these e-mails from Norma Cantarutti Reiter, Alverda Orlando and myself.
They shed light on a little bit of Davenport and "La Costa History".

I wanted to let you know that I never had the pleasure of living along the coast like the rest of you but feel such an interest in Davenport, I can't figure out why so strong. Anyhow
having said that Randy and I visited that area a few months ago and met the man who lived in the tiled roof, stucco home right on the main street, very Italian. Is or has he ever been affected by the cement plant, such an interesting/independent person, I cannot though remember his name? Can you share more about this person and what part of Italy is he from if you know about him?

Alverda: I received the (above) e-mail from Norma Cantarutti Reiter (The Cantarutti Family used to live up the Coast before she was born). Do you know who lives in the house in Davenport that she describes ? Thanks. Ivan

Norma: Here is your answer. I thought Erminio (Orlando) was the guy you were talking about. I think that the Olrando Family was from the same part of Italy that your parents were: Zoppola and they knew them quite well. I see Erminio every once in awhile at the Holy Cross Cemetery when I vistit my parents' vault. His wife is in a vault near-by. He is the last of his kind. And as Alverda says a "Furlan thru and thru. ivno

From Alverda Oralndo(Davenport Historian)


Main street?? Could she (Norma) be talking about off of Hiway 1. If so that is my brother-in-law Erminio Orlando. He is from Zoppola, a Fruilian to the core. The house was formally owned by the Dorillo Morelli family.

Norma: Arminio has lived in Davenport practically all his life. He and his brothers along with their mother immigrated to Davenport after WWII. The father had immigrated before the War. Arminio was in Davenport when there were no (or very little) environmental controls on the Cement Plant. I am sure if (after he passes on) they were to do an autopsy, they would find cement dust in his veins. A little Chromium 6 isn't going to bother him. Right now the plant is temporally shut down, so Davenport isn't getting dusted. According to what the Plant is saying they will make the necessary changes to eliminate the problem before resuming operations. Will see about that.

Arminio's brother Elio Orlando was a member of the Davenport Fire Department, and was known as the unofficial Mayor of Davenport. Elio was married to Alverda Orlando (The Davenport Historian). I believe that they had two daughters. Both of Arminio's brothers have passed on.
Arminio is the last of the Original Orlandos who immigrated to Davenport.

I believe that your mother and father Guido and Evelina Cantarutti) knew the Orlandos quite well. After all they were "Furlans" and there weren't many of them (Furlans) in the area. They pretty well knew one another.

ivano said...

I received the following e-mail from Marion Pokriots of the Santa Cruz Genealogy Society (Santa Cruz Library, Santa Cruz):

Hi Ivano,
I enjoyed your talk. You gave some new info.
I'm so glad you are gathering the stories of the Italians. We have tried to interest local Italians in researching their genealogies. I guess most of them know their family trees, since they are fairly new immigrants. It wouldn't hurt to record their knowledge on pedigree charts and family group sheets.
You are doing a good work!
Marion P.

Thanks Marion. It was nice having you there. And thanks for the good advice. Sometimes we Italians take our Genealogy for Granted. Ivno