LaNORMA (IN FRONT) WITH (L-R) UNCLE QUINTO NERI, MOTHER DIANA AND FATHER DANTE DINELLI AND AUNT ELVIRA NERI
THIS PHOTO TAKEN IN FROM OF SERAFINA'S [BELTRAMI'S] 'SU PER LA COSTA', C. 1946
I was born in the old Sisters Hospital in l940 although then it was the Handley Hospital
(the Sisters bought the hospital in l94l).
Now it is gone – it is the Dream Inn parking lot. Where the Dream Inn is now was a cliff
with paths that we walked down to Cowell’s Beach. We always parked on Bay St. by the
big barn – where the condos are now. I am sure many of you remember how it was.
There are so many things to remember and so many things have changed and with us
all sharing – so much comes back to our minds – how cozy and laid back Santa Cruz and surroundings were.
One high school – SCHS – buses coming from everywhere in the county –
north from the Summit, south from Aptos and from Davenport, Bonny Doon
and from Felton and Ben Lomond. In l953 San Lorenzo High School was opened
(before that it was in Boulder Creek). There was Holy Cross but it was a small school.
Our big rival for football was Watsonville.
We walked everywhere even at dusk and nighttime without worrying as we do today.
I remember Madeline Perrona Crews telling me that she and a friend worked at
the Boardwalk in summer and after it closed they would walk home to Encinal Street –
think she said that sometimes they walked through the tunnel under Holy Cross!!
In those days there was no highway from Mission Street to River Street behind Holy Cross.
Some of the houses that were located where the intersection of Mission & Chestnut Sts are
were moved to the corner of Mission and Chestnut. It is worth checking out photos at
Covello & Covello (which was Vester Dick Photography years ago)
One big change to Santa Cruz was the l955 flood. Our town was never quite the same
after that and then l0 years or so later in l965 the University was begun and changes really escalated.
The flood was sad and devastating. We lived up the Coast (where I grew up after we moved
from Davenport). On Dec. 22 (I think?) we were visiting my aunt and uncle on Dufour and
we left later that night driving the old Coast Rd. – when we got to Wilder’s Ranch – it was all
flooded. My Dad was really brave and took a chance driving slowly through the raging water.
My Mom and I and my Dad were really scared and probably did more praying getting through
there than all our life combined!! Luckily we got to the other side safely and home. It was a
treacherous night of rain. The next day my Dad and I drove his big 4-wheel drive from the
ranch as he had to bring something to the packing house in Santa Cruz. After that we decided
to drive down to Lincoln Street Bakery for a treat --- lo and behold as we came off the hill by
SCHS everything was under water almost all the way up to Chestnut St.
Cars were topsy turvy - it was tragic! We drove a little further and we could see debris of all
kinds rapidly going down the river – it touched me so as I saw Christmas trees and gifts among
other things going down the river. Of course we didn’t know anything about what had happened
in the night as our electricity had been out all night and we did not have a phone in our house –
the nearest phone was in our cookhouse across the street. Also there was no TV – only a few
people had TVS especially up the Coast as reception was bad. But it wouldn’t have mattered –
we were without electricity.
We just couldn’t believe what we were seeing---was it the “beginning of the end” of
Santa Cruz as we knew it?!
Guess we all could go on and on with so many memories. I know I could
but we’ll have to stay tuned for the “rest of the stories”………………………