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
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.)
Monday, January 21, 2008
IVANO SAYS: REMEMBER RUSS JONES?? FORMER SAN JOSE POLICE OFFICER AND NOW OUR 'LA NOSTRA COSTA' RESIDENT CHEF HAS COME UP WITH ANOTHER OF HIS DELIGHTFUL RECIPIES. ENJOY. THANKS RUSS. (PHOTO DIRECTLY ABOVE: RUSS JONES's BEAUTIFUL WIFE SALLY, SET TO ENJOY SPROUZZI ALLA JOUNZZI 2. PHOTOS COURTESY RUSS JONES.)
Sprouzzi ala Jounzzi #2
As a reminder, your book La Nostra Costa reminded me so much of growing up in the Los Gatos - Santa Cruz area, especially the large Brussels Sprouts farms such as you were raised on. I thought I would pass on the latest dish I served my bride over the holidays.
The Osso Buco is first braised, then slow-roasted with a zesty medley of shallots and oven-roasted garlic blended with portabello mushrooms, ripe Roma tomatoes, rosemary and thyme. Serve with Risotto alla Milanese. The vegetables, rutabaga, carrots, parsnips, cauliflower, sweet potatoes and, of course, Brussels sprouts, are tossed with thyme, sage and a little grated nutmeg, then oven roasted with a small amount of Marsala in the bottom of the pan.
Buon Appitito Russ
AND FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO PREFER A HOT BOWL OF SOUP ON THESE WET AND COLD WINTERY DAYS, GINO "D'BAFFI" CAMPIONI, SENDS HIS RECIPE FOR RANCERE STYLE MINESTRONE ALLA 'BAFFI'
Ho pensato di mandarti la ricetta per fare il minestrone. (1) Perhaps your mother made it this way. This is how Baffi preferred it:
Ingredients: Salt Pork
Pinto Beans (the pale colored ones with darker speckles. Baffi called them "Kentucky Wonders")
Cabbage (the dark, curly variety is preferred, but not available in Oregon)
Pasta (optional) (small like rosary beads)
Soak the beans overnight or longer. (2) On cooking day, boil them till tender and force them through a sieve. Discard the husks.
Put the resulting bean puree back into the water in which the beans were cooked.
Lo Sfritto (the fry-up) Cut the salt pork into very small pieces. Place in frying pan to render it. Use the hide part also. ( left in one piece It makes
a special treat for the youngest family member)
Chop the onion, celery, parsley, and carrots and add them to the pan with the salt pork. When all is properly sautéed, put all into
the pot with the beans. Pour in a can of tomato sauce.
Cut the cabbage into manageable pieces and add to the pot. (Baffi wanted it in very large pieces)
Continue cooking until the cabbage is tender.
Add pasta, if desired, during the last 8 minutes of cooking.
For his supper, Baffi would have a huge bowl of this. Ada made 20 pints at a time, which lasted him 6 days.
He would add a large slice of French bread torn into small pieces, and top it all off with olive oil, and some of his homemade vino rosso.
(I draw the line after the olive oil)
Proportions are left up to the cook's imagination. There are as many varieties of minestrone as there are people who cook it.
(1) Pronounced: "ME-neh-STRON-eh" Means: "Big Soup".
(2) I heard on TV that if the beans are soaked in just enough water to cover them and they are allowed to begin sprouting, it
will release the explosive power that they contain. I was never able to prove that.
Allora Ivano, mangiamo? Migliori auguri.
AND NOW FOR DESSERT. NANCY JACOBS SENDS US HER FAMOUS RECIPE FOR RICOTTA PIE. NANCY'S RECIPE MIGHT BE AS OLD AS 'LA COSTA' ITSELF. WHO CAN ASK FOR ANYTHING MORE??
1 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter,softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange peel
1 tablespoon orange juice
FILLING (The good stuff)
1 container 15 oz ricotta cheese in old days they used loose ricotta sold by the pound
1/2 to 3/4 cups sugar depending on how sweet you like your sweets
1 1/2 teaspoons flour, all purpose
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons finely chopped citron, optional
1 egg, separated
TO MAKE CRUST
Sift flour with baking powder and salt.
In average size bowl with egg beater (old way) now use electric mixer, beat butter with sugar and one egg until fluffy. MIX in vanilla,orange peel and orange juice. Add half of flour mixture. With a wooden polenta spoon or just wooden spoon mix until well blended.
TO THIS add remaining flour mixture. Using your hands mix until the now dough leaves the side of the bowl and can hold itself together. On the wood ranch table I used to knead this until it was all blended in together. Now set it aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
MAKE FILLING the good stuff
Put the ricotta cheese in a bowl and beat with hand beater until creamy or use electric mixer.
NOW add sugar, eggs, flour, almond extract and if you choose to use the citron, the citron.
MIX until all ingredients are well mixed.
CUT PASTRY IN HALF.
You can use waxed paper to roll out pastry or do as I do which is to use flour on the wood table and moisten the dough lightly before rolling out with rolling pin. Fit the pastry into a 9 inch pie tin or glass pyrex pie plate. Once the pastry crust is in place in the pie tin, trim the pastry to the edge, leaving about 1/4 to1/2 inch extra pastry around the edge. LIGHTLY brush the bottom of the pastry layer with an egg white.
ROLL OUT the other half of the pastry either on the wooden table or between wax paper. The pastry should be no more than 1/8 inch thick. NOW cut with a knife which is what I used but a pastry cutter can be used to cut this, go ahead and cut the pastry into strips that are no more than 1/2 inch wide.
PLACE FILLING on top of pastry in pie plate.
NOW place strips across the top about 1/2 inch apart. Design a lattice or some other design with the strips and with a fork turn the extra pastry at the edge of the pie tin upwards and with the tines of a fork press down to seal the edge.
REMEMBER THE EGG WHITE? Well now it is time for the egg yolk. Mix the egg yolk with one tablespoon of water. Now slowly brush it on the crust.
Years later I saw a similar recipe in McCall's magazine. In the McCall's recipe they used aluminum foil to go around the edge of the pie plate. I am of the opinion that this prevents too much cooking on the edge. It did get somewhat brown on the edge but not all of the time when cooked the old way.
PLACE in the oven and cook for around 50 minutes, more or less. Check it when it gets to forty five minutes.
This is a wonderful low calorie dessert and tastes good cold. So, I would let it cool and then refrigerate overnight and eat. You can serve it with various berries. Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, etc.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
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
Friday, January 11, 2008
Photo: Fernando Moro (forefront) sitting atop his 'Angry Beast' with side-kick Joe Alves, in Santa Cruz, c.1950. (Courtsey Fernando Moro Family Collection).
FERNANDO MORO, THE LAST OF ‘THE FIGLI DI FERRO’ (SONS OF IRON) PASSED AWAY LAST TUESDAY. BELOW IS HIS OBITUARY AS IT APPEARED
IN THE SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL:
Services will be Monday for Fernando Moro who passed away January 8, 2008 at a local hospital. He was 86.
He was born in Tulare, California and moved to Davenport as a child. He grew up in Davenport where he attended school. In 1958 he married Gloria Lippi and the couple moved to Santa Cruz where he has lived since. He worked many years for Lonestar Industries in Davenport as a brick mason and retired in 1981. He enjoyed camping and was an avid motorcycle enthusiast. He was a longtime member of the Marconi Club.
He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Gloria Moro of Santa Cruz; two sisters, Yoli Chavez of Santa Cruz and Mary Brown of Santa Cruz. He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Fred Moro. Services will be held Monday January 14, 2008 at Benito & Azzaro Pacific Gardens Chapel, 1050 Cayuga St, Santa Cruz, CA at 2:00 pm. Viewing hours will be at Pacific Gardens Chapel on Sunday from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Entombment will be in Holy Cross Cemetery, 2271 7th Ave, Santa Cruz, CA.
Published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel on 1/11/2008.
AS FAR AS I KNOW FERNANDO, THE ELDEST SON IN A FURLAN FAMILY (SILVIO AND ELENA MORO OF DAVENPORT), WAS THE LAST LIVING MEMBER OF “THE FIGLI DI FERRO”, A LOOSE KNIT MOTORCYCLE GROUP THAT RODE THE HIGHWAYS AND BYWAYS SU PER LA COSTA. AS I WRITE IN ‘LA NOSTRA COSTA’ (P.178) THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE GROUP WERE JOE GEMIGNANI, (MY UNCLE), FRED DIMEO, AND ALBIE ROSSI. ALL ARE GONE NOW; ONLY THE MEMORIES ARE LEFT FOR US TO REMEMBER THEM BY .
FERNANDO WAS ALSO A MEMBER OF THE ARMED FORCES DURING WWII. IN 1944, HE WAS CAPTURED AND MADE A PRISONER-OF-WAR BY THE GERMANS. HE REMAINED THEIR PRISONER UNTIL THE END OF THE WAR IN MARCH 1945.
WHAT FOLLOWS BELOW IS WHAT I WROTE IN ‘LA NOSTRA COSTA’ ABOUT FERNANDO MORO (LNC: P 180):
“I thought that Fernando had the best motorcycle of the group, and he always kept it in pristine condition. His motorcycle was also one of the loudest. You could hear Fernando coming from a very long way off. He usually started his journey from his home in Davenport and came south on the Coast Road. I can still remember the vibrating sound of his motorcycle approaching the gulch, then quickly descending into il buco before roaring up the steep grade. Rushing to the side of the road, I would see Fernando, perhaps for only a split second-hunched over on the handlebars, dressed in a black leather jacket and black leather pilot’s hat with the goggles pulled over his eyes -flashing by with
a burst of speed. On his trip back from Santa Cruz, I could hear the roar of his motorcycle as it approached the bend near the Rodoni Ranch. Whoosh! Like il vento, Fernando and his motorcycle blew by the house, going down into the gulch and up the grade on the other side. All the while his motorcycle’s engine roared like and angry, attacking beast. I continued to listen to its loud growling sound until it faded completely away, su per la costa. I swear that, on a quiet evening, I could hear that “angry beast” all the way up to Davenport.” *
ADDIO FERNANDO MORO. MAY YOU RIDE ONCE AGAIN CON IL VENTO.
*Copyrighted by Ivano Franco Comelli, and appears in his book “La Nostra Costa” (Our Coast), ‘A Family’s Journey To And From The North Coast of Santa Cruz’, published by
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
CATHY BROVIA,THE LATE JOE BROVIA'S WIFE, WROTE THIS E-MAIL TO ME SOME MONTHS AGO. IT DESCRIBES 'LA BARRANCA PARK' IN SANTA CRUZ.
La Barranca Park is dedicated to the Italians who did something and are recognized for their contributions...
This is a park along side of Bay St., from California to Laguna St. and is dedicated to those famous Italians...
As I was driving on Bay street on my way home from a little detour from the store, I noticed a new stanchion where Centennial and Bay st. intersects.. I immediately stopped and made a U turn, and walked across, hopefully thinking Joe (Brovia) would be on that new stanchion.... LO AND BEHOLD.... he was there!!!!!! Recognizing him for his Long Home run!!!!!! Nice picture with some other very important people such as John Battistini, Julia Stefani, Lido Marietti, Al Castagnola, Judge Scoppettone, and many others...including Freddie Moro...and the committee making this all possible... I immediately called Alma Ellis, and thanked her for including my Joe, and she said the city would not allow any more, so I was so happy to think Joe got in, although Freddie Moro had told me he would be included. I believe there are 4 stanchions in all.... It is a very nice dedication to all those beautiful Italians who did so much for Santa Cruz. (I am so proud that Joe was included) Wouldn't he be proud?????????
I am sure his mother and dad would be so proud of their Guiseppi Giovanni.... (Joe's name on his Birth Certificate.)
THE STORY CONTINUES:
FOR THE LAST SEVERAL MONTHS CATHY HAS BEEN WORKING ON HER OWN WITH THE CITY OF SANTA CRUZ TO HAVE A BENCH INSTALLED IN THE PARK IN THE NAME OF HER LATE HUSBAND JOE BROVIA, THE DAVENPORT DESTROYER. 'LO AND BEHOLD' AS CATHY WOULD SAY, THE BENCH HAS FINALLY BEEN INSTALLED. I KNOW THAT CATHY DOES NOT LIKE ME TO MENTION THIS,BUT I THINK THAT IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT CATHY PAID FOR THE BENCH HERSELF. " IT IS SOMETHING I WANTED TO DO FOR MY, JOE" SHE SAYS. CONGRATULATION CATHY. A JOB WELL DONE. JOE BROVIA, 'THE DAVENPORT DESTROYER' WOULD HAVE INDEED BEEN PROUD....
PHOTOS: THE INSCRIPITON ON THE BENCH READS: "IN LOVING MEMORY OF JOE BROVIA 'THE DAVENPORT DESTROYER' 1922 - 1994 SEMPRE AVANTI LOVE CATARINA" (LNOSTRA-COSTA ARCHIVES)
'SWINGING JOE BROVIA', PHOT0 OF PICTURE WHICH HANGS IN CATHY'S LIVING ROOM. (LNOSTRA-COSTA ARCHIVES C. 1950)
CATHY BROVIA RECEIVING JOE BROVIA'S PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE HALL OF FAME INDUCTION CERTIFCATE WITH MARK MACRAE (CATHY BROVIA COLLECTION SEPTEMBER 2005)
TOP PHOTO WAS TAKEN FROM A GROUP PHOTO (C.1929) AT LAGUNA, JUST SOUTH OF DAVENPORT.
A VERY YOUNG JOE 'PINO' BROVIA CAN BE SEEN AT THE CENTER ON HIS 'HAUNCHES'. JOE'S BELOVED FATHER, PIETRO 'PETE'BROVIA CAN BE SEEN AT EXTREME RIGHT HAND SIDE OF THE
PHOTO KNEELING ON ONE KNEE. CATHY SAYS THE 'SEMPRE AVANTI' ON THE BENCH IS IN HIS MEMORY. (ALVERDA ORLANDO DAVENPORT COLLECTION).
Saturday, January 05, 2008
IVANO SAYS: WHAT FOLLOWS BELOW IS AN ARTICLE PUBLISHED IN THE SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL REGARDING THE LIFE AND DEATH OF GILDA STAGNARO. THIS WONDERFUL WOMEN WAS ONE OF "LA NOSTRA COSTA'S" BIGGEST FANS. WHEN VISITING HER RESTURANT SHE WOULD CALL ME 'BELLO' AND I WOULD CALL HER 'BELLA'. THE PHOTO DIRECTLY ABOVE IS OF GILDA TAKEN FROM THE SENTINEL ARTICLE.
THE PHOTO AT THE TOP WAS TAKEN LAST YEAR AT "GILDA'S" BY MARVIN DEL CHIARO. GILDA HONORED ME BY POSING WITH THE 'OLD RANCERE' AND FRIENDS INSIDE THE 'STAGNARO HALL OF FAME'. GILDA IS ON THE 'RANCERE'S' RIGHT, 'LaNORMA' (NORMA DINELLI WILSON) IS ON HIS LEFT,AND ALVERDA ORLANDO,SANTA CRUZ AUTHOR AND HISTORIAN,IS ON THE END HOLDING A COPY OF 'LA NOSTRA COSTA'.
January 5, 2008
Gilda Stagnaro, 'queen of the wharf,' dies outside her restaurant after coronary incident
SENTINEL STAFF WRITER
SANTA CRUZ -- Gilda J. Stagnaro, the beloved matriarch of the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf who for more than 35 years ran the landmark family restaurant that bears her name, died Friday morning after collapsing in the driving wind and rain just 90 feet from the business. She was 83.
GILDA J. STAGNARO
BORN: March 31, 1924.
DIED: Jan. 4, 2008.
EDUCATION: Santa Cruz High School, 1941.
SURVIVORS: Sister Yolanda 'Lindy' Stagnaro Dunn, brother Robert 'Big Boy' Stagnaro, numerous nephews, nieces and cousins.
SERVICES: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Benito & Azzaro Pacific Gardens Chapel,
1050 Cayuga St. Private interment.
The official cause of death was not immediately available Friday, but family members said her cardiologist determined Stagnaro suffered a coronary-related incident outside Gilda's Restaurant shortly after arriving to work about 9 a.m. Stagnaro, who had a history of heart trouble and two hip replacements, was pronounced dead at Dominican Hospital a short time later.
"It is how she wanted to die," said nephew Geoffrey Dunn, a Santa Cruz author and historian. "She told everybody she wanted to die with her boots on at the wharf."
Dunn said several people reported seeing her fall near her parking space outside Gilda's, but it was not clear if the high wind from Friday's severe winter storm contributed to her death. Ironically, Stagnaro told the Sentinel in May 1971 that she loved spending stormy days at the wharf, much like the one that caused widespread power outages and numerous traffic accidents Friday.
"I love these days," she told reporter Wallace Wood for an article about Gilda's, which is known for its breakfasts and sandwiches. "The trouble is that the wharf makes me seasick, it moves so much."
After a brief career as a school secretary, Stagnaro, the ninth of 11 children born to an immigrant Italian fishing and market dynasty whose first business opened in Santa Cruz in 1884, launched Gilda's on the site of her family's former Sport Fishers Coffee Shop. Gilda's is the last holding of the family corporation, C. Stagnaro Fishing Co., that she and brother Robert "Big Boy" Stagnaro, 79, have headed for several decades. The company is not connected to the Stagnaro Bros. Seafood Inc., also on the wharf, or the former Stagnaro Liquors in Santa Cruz, run by other Stagnaro families.
Stagnaro's older sister, Yolanda "Lindy" Stagnaro Dunn, 92, was the last to see Stagnaro alive Friday when she left the house the two women have shared for two decades on the family compound near Bay and Laguna streets. Dunn said her sister, who had been complaining of heart problems in recent days but seemed in good spirits, looked "beautiful" as she left carrying Dunn's Burberry tote bag.
"I asked her, 'Are you sure you can make it,' because it was quite stormy this morning," Dunn said. "She was very anxious to get to the wharf. She lived a life on the wharf -- that is where she was the happiest."
Besides her brother and sister, Stagnaro is survived by numerous nieces and nephews, and more than 100 cousins. She never married and had no children.
Relatives, friends and civic leaders remembered her as "queen of the wharf," where she continued to work 40 hours per week as a hostess, cashier and sometime waitress and table busser who knew customers on a first-name basis. She was a longtime advocate of saving the wharf when piling replacement and other costs associated with maintaining one of California's oldest wharfs threatened its closure numerous times.
"It's a total tragedy -- she is definitely going to be missed," said six-term Santa Cruz City Councilman Mike Rotkin, who has dined at Gilda's regularly. "She is an institution in the community."
Nephew Malio Stagnaro said he and brother Dino will continue to manage the restaurant with their father, "Big Boy," but said it will be impossible to fill his aunt's shoes. The restaurant was closed Friday, along with the rest of the wharf, because of the storm, but will reopen whenever the wharf opens.
"We are kind of in the grieving process, but right now we are planning on holding down the fort," Malio Stagnaro said. "She basically was the caretaker of the family. If anyone was sick or in trouble, they came to Gilda."
Noting that Gilda's didn't close during the Loma Prieta earthquake or 1982 flood, Geoffrey Dunn said, "She would have been livid that they closed the wharf on Friday."
"Gilda was the queen of the wharf," said Bill Tysseling, executive director of the Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce. "She ran the restaurant like it was her own kitchen, welcomed everyone like they were the next-door neighbor, treated the regulars like they were family."
Born in March 1924 in Santa Cruz to Cottardo Stagnaro Jr. and his wife Battistina Loero, she graduated from Santa Cruz High School in 1941. She was named after a sister born before her who died of pneumonia at age 2.
In the 1940s, after working at Mission Hill Junior High School, Stagnaro joined the family's wharf businesses begun by her immigrant grandfather Cottardo Stagnaro Sr. She managed the coffee shop that later turned into her own restaurant, where relatives said she was not above performing any job, including seating diners, taking orders, cleaning tables and keeping the books.
"There was a point in the 1970s and 1980s that she worked 16 to 18 hours a day," Geoffrey Dunn said. "It was pretty phenomenal. She did whatever needed to be done."
After she suffered a heart attack about 12 years ago, he said, "We all tried to caution her to slow down. Quite frankly, she didn't want to."
Rotkin, whose son used to worked at the restaurant, said, "These are working class people who, although they own their own business, never saw themselves as anything other than salt-of-the-earth workers. They were incredibly gracious hosts."
Brother "Big Boy" called his sister's death "a great loss" for the family and the community.
"There wasn't a person that she never met that she never loved -- that was her great trait in life," he said. "It was the Santa Cruzans that gave the family the chance to become successful."
Assemblyman John Laird, D-Santa Cruz, a former mayor and longtime councilman, said, "It's hard to imagine the wharf without her." She was "always a leader of the wharf" whose "life was her family and the restaurant."
Contact J.M. Brown at 429-2410 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
LEN KLEMPNAUER SAYS;
I copied your photo of Gilda Stagnaro et al and re-posted it to the Class of '54 web site.
Incidentally, one of our SCHS teachers from the
1950s, Sharmon Nash, is a daily customer at Gilda's.
Al Mitchell, former lifeguard, board surfer and Mission Hill Jr. High teacher, who was a member of the Class of '54, is also a frequent customer. Caro Ivano:
Our dear friend and fellow Italian Gilda Stagnaro has passed away….
She died on the wharf by her restaurant as she had always said
how she wanted to go.
We all feel so sad and she will be sorely missed by all….she truly
Was a great lady and proud to be an Italo-American.
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM IVANO FRANCO AND HIS LOVELY WIFE MILDRED, TO ALL THEIR FAMILY AND FRIENDS AROUND THE WORLD.
WE WANT TO THANK ONE AND ALL FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT AND HELP IN SPREADING THE ‘GOOD WORD’ ABOUT THE RICH ITALIAN HISTORY OF SANTA CRUZ AND IT'S NORTH COAST. WE ESPECIALLY WANT TO THANK THOSE OF YOU WHO PURCHASED ‘LA NOSTRA COSTA’ AND ALSO THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE CONTRIBUTED ARTICLES AND COMMENTS TO THE ‘LNOSTRA-COSTA’ BLOG. THIS BLOG WOULD NOT BE AS SUCCESSFUL AS IT IS, WITHOUT YOUR PARTICIPATION AND HELP. SO WHAT’S IN STORE FOR 2008?. LET’S START IT OFF WITH A GREAT BIG ‘SEMPRE AVANTI’. MILDRED AND IVANO
'LA NOSTRA COSTA' (OUR COAST), 'A FAMILY'S JOURNEY TO AND FROM THE NORTH COAST OF SANTA CRUZ,CALIFORNIA' (1923-1983),IVANO FRANCO COMELLI, AUTHOR, IS PUBLISHED BY AUTHORHOUSE AND IS AVAILABLE ON LINE AT:www.authorhouse.com , OR BY TELEPHONE AT 1-888-280-7715. OTHER SITES AND LOCATIONS AVAILABLE ON THE LA NOSTRA COSTA WEBSITE: AT:www.lanostracosta.com-a.googlepages.com