Saturday, June 20, 2009


['Clicca' on photo for enlarged image]
IVANO SAYS: IN 'LA NOSTRA COSTA' I write (LNC: p. 35) about Il Buco (The Hole) on the Gulch Ranch. This was the place where the ranceri (Italian ranchers) worked in the 'old barn' and eat their meals at the 'old cooka housa'. When I was describing the ranch compound in 'Il Buco', I did it (mostly) by memory. Now, Gino d'Baffi Campioni, sent me this excellent black and white photo he took in the early 1950's. I was very happy to discover that my memory of 'Il Buco" was pretty good. (Please 'clicca' on photo. The enlarged image is really something.)
The 'old barn' (still stands today) where my mother cleaned all those 'sprouts' (LNC: pgs. 57-60) is the big building on the left. In the front of the barn are some sheds where the tractors, etc. were stored. (Some of these sheds still stand today, although at a different location.) The small shed forward of the barn is the washroom, where the ranceri washed up before entering the 'cookahousa' for their meals. Across (left side of photo) from the wash room is the shed covering the dugout where the Gulch Ranch stored their homemade wine.
Unfortunately, the 'cookahouse' is barely visible at the right hand corner of the photo. The tree in front obstructs the view. The 'old cookahousa' burned down in 2002.
I want to thank Gino for sending me the above photo. It brings back a lot of memories about how things were back when. Visible in the photo is a small wooden bridge (gone now) which crossed a small stream. As a young boy, I spent many hours on that bridge dropping 'rock bombs' on imaginary 'enemy ships' sailing below. Thanks again Gino. Sempre Avanti.
BTW: 'Il Buco' today is home to the Santa Cruz Mushroom Company owned and operated by Andrew and Jean Hsu.
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Anonymous said...

Ciao Ivano,

Thanks for posting that old photo, and relating your memories of Il Buco.

At some point in time I think the front of the barn was covered with corrugated metal. Perhaps it was only the barn door.

I vividly remember playing in front of that place with my boomerang. On one hefty fling, I was too close, and the boomerang hit the metal with a loud "Whang!" Where it hit was obvious, as a new fold was left in the metal. I looked all around, hoping that Dante Ramacciotti* was not around. He might have had some strong words for me.

(A boomerang does not have much forward energy, but the spinning motion is fierce. That's why if trying to catch one, it is best to clap it between one's hands, so as not to break fingers. Yes, they do come back to the launch point. I used to have black and blue shins to prove it.)

Saluti, Gino

*Ivano says: Dante Ramacciotti was one of the working partners on the Gulch Ranch. He and his wife 'Sunta, lived in the foreman's house (not in photo)in Il Buco'. Andrew and Jean live in that house now, although it is located in a different location.

Anonymous said...

Ivano- I'm the son of the Furlan from Zoppola who worked in the "nostra Costa" back in the mid twenties. I told you I would read your book to get a feel for what my father experienced. I did get some feel but of course he was before your time. However I enjoyed your description of the life of a close family and the closeness of all the Italian families, especially the furlans. I grew up with many of the same experiences you had. My mother had to postpone her citizenship hearing in november 1941 because she was sick so she was an alien after Pearl Harbor so she, my younger sister and I had to leave home during that infamous "storia Segreta" period. Your book brought back many memories, mostly pleasant. Reading your book and comments from the Canadian Furlan reminded me that I am proud of my American Citizanship, my Italian birth and heritage but I'm most proud of my Furlan family.
Thanks for the memories.

Ivano Franco Comelli said...

Anonymous Furlan: Thank you for your comments re: La Nostra Costa.
I am trying to rack my brain to come up with your family name. Alas, age has taken hold and it just won't come to me. Please contact me at: . Thanks again for your delightful comments. ivano

Anonymous said...

Your memory is not as bad as you think. Refer to my comments as "Dave" back in December 2008.I wasn't sure how to add my father's experience regarding "la Costa". (so I tagged on to " The Porter Memorial Public Library-Soquel Ca")
I doubt anyone is still around that remembered my father. Looking forward to reading of other Furlans and their experiences growing up in California (or any other location) I am sure they are proud of their struggle and heritage.


Interesting. It would be great to find out who he ("Dave") is !! I know many people from Zoppola that is in the Province of Pordenone or short for PN as noted on their licence plates. Many refer to Pordenone as Piccola Napoli because of the huge emmigration of Neopoletans after WWII.
Ciao e Mandi

andrew and jean said...

Hi Ivan,

Thank you so much for forwarding your old ll Buco picture. It looks so vivdly the same as it stands there today, except the bridge. I am so happy to see it.

Best Regard, Andrew and Jean