Tuesday, January 05, 2010


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IVANO SAYS: Out of the ashes (so to speak) rises the ancestral home of the LOSKS. (My grandfather GIOVANNI COMELLI, was also know in Friuli as GIOVAN DEL LOSK). Located in Nimis, Italy (Friuli), the photo at the bottom depicts the condition of the home prior to renovation. The top photo shows the house as it nears completion in 2010.

The renovation is being done by my cousin, LUCIA (daughter of ANNA MARIA and CESARE COMELLI, grand daughter of GIOVANNI AND LAURA COMELLI, and great-grand daughter of Giovan del Losk and his wife CAROLINA) and her husband GIANNI SCHENA. As you can see this renovation took a great deal of time and money. And, I would think, a lot of patience.

For those of you who have read “La Nostra Costa”, you will know that I write about my father ‘Bronco” and my visit to the “old house” in 1977 (P.370- 371). This was just after the death of my mother Valentina. The following is from my book “La Nostra Costa”:*

“Although the Friuli region had just been hit with a major earthquake a year earlier, in 1976, the house of my grandfather (Bronco’s father), although damaged, was still standing. Bronco’s brother, Giovanni, and his wife Laura, were living there now. Also standing, and still in reasonably good condition, was the second-story addition Bronco had built way back in 1931 with his hard-earned American dollars. Bronco was able to use it as his sleeping quarters during our stay. “Isn’t it amazing, Ivano?” Bronco said to me in Italian. “After all those years su per la costa, I am once again back here in Nimis, sleeping in the very same room where your mother and I spent our wedding night.” He added, in a very sad tone of voice, “But this time, I will be alone.”

Well done Lucia and Gianni. I think many LOSKS are smiling their approval from above.

Sempre Avanti. Ivn0

*La Nostra Costa (Our Coast), A Family's Journey To And From The North Coast of Santa Cruz, by Ivano Franco Comelli, published by Authorhouse (2006): http://www.authorhouse.com/


Speaking of 'restoration', Doriano "The Canadian Furlan" sends this ancient Furlan New Year Tradition.

Ivano Mio Caro Amico

Just a quick summary of the 6th of January, The Epiphany as celebrated in Friuli ... "Il Pignarul"
This ancient pagan ritual takes place throughout Friuli but most effectively in Tarcento!!

This event takes place on the mysterious Twelfth night – Epiphany - the last one of the Christmas season. The celebrations for this night have ancient Celtic origins and can be traced back to rites for the pagan god of fire and light.
Not just one bonfire but tens of them can be admired in every village in the foothills and central plains of Friuli. The main one is in Tarcento . Here people walk up Coja hill where a huge bonfire, made of branches of pine, sheaves of corn, is set up. The Venerable Old Man (Vecchio Venerando) then lights the bonfire - Pignarûl Grant, or Great Bonfire - which is the signal for all the other minor bonfires around the area to be lit as well. From the direction the smoke takes, predictions are made about the fortunes of the region in the coming year: smoke blowing east predicts a year of abundance while smoke blowing west is a bad omen for the crops:
(Old saying in the Friulian language).
"Se il fum al va a soreli a mont, cjape il sac e va pal mont", - translation: "if the smoke goes towards where the sun sets grab your sack and go away immigrate throughout the world"
"Se il fum invezit al va de bande di soreli jevât,cjape il sac e va al marcjât» - translation "if the smoke goes where the sun rises grab your sack and go to the market".
Refer to the following site for more detailed information www.epifaniainfriuli.com/tarcento/index_tar_uk.htm

Ciao e Mandi e Sempre Avanti. Doriano


Lucia E Gianni said...

From Friuli, I received the below e-mail from my cousin Lucia and her husband Gianni:

Caro Ivano,

abiamo visto che hai pubblicato sul tuo sito le foto della vecchia casa dei Losk, con le immagini del restauro quasi completo.
In realtà l'interno non è ancora completato, ma la gran parte è fatta!
Siamo molto ansiosi di entrare e cominciare questa nuova vita a Nimis, nella casa di famiglia.
La nonna Laura sarebbe molto contenta di sapere che la casa non è stata abbandonata, come lei pronosticava, anche se io la rassicuravo che l'avrei sistemata io!
E anche il nonno Giovanni e tuo padre sarebbero felici di vedere che la loro casa paterna è ancora in piedi, con il guscio originario, almeno in parte!!
Grazie per i tuoi auguri

A presto

Lucia e Gianni

Loose translation by Ivano:

Dear Ivano: We have seen that you published on your site (the Blagga) the photo of the old house of the “Losk” family. You might have thought the restoration to be almost complete.
In reality, the inside of the house is not yet complete, however, the biggest part is done.
We are very anxious to move in and begin our new life in Nimis, in the Family House.
Grandmother Laura would have been very happy to know that the house was not abandoned as she predicted, even though I kept assuring her that I would put it in order myself. And even Grandfather Giovanni and your father (Bronco) would have been happy to see that their paternal home is still standing, with its orginial shell still in tack, at least in part.

Thanking you for your congratulations,

Lucia and Gianni

IVANO said...

Received the below inquiry from Doriano, "The Canadian Furlan".

There is a lot history there.. and you should be thankful for everything you have done to maintain this via La Nostra Costa!! Now ... just a clarification Nonno Giovanni is your paternal Grandfather correct ? What year was he born in ? You mention also the work you father (Bronco) conducted at the Homestead in 1930's ... do you recall how much time and money he would have spent??
This is unbelievable information...

Ciao e Mandi

Doriano:The Giovanni that Lucia is referring to his her Grandfather, my Uncle and Bronco's youngest brother. My Grandfather (Lucia's Great-Grandfather) was also named
Giovanni, however, he was better known in Friuli as 'Giovan del Losk". In "La Nostra Costa" I have a photo of my Grandfather (p.238). I identified him as Giovanni Comelli "The Contra-Bandiera Bandit". BTW: That photo was taken in the family courtyard. A partial view of the old house can be seen in the background.

As for my father, all I know was that he had $5,000 when he returned to Nimis in 1931. Most all of it went to pay-off family debt and the construction of the second story addition to the old house. (Of course he spent some money courting and marrying my mother.) At the time, he was a hero in Nimis, because he was the only one with money for construction projects. The 2nd story addition provide much needed work for the citizens of Nimis. He spent a year in Italy before returning to the US sans my mother who came a year later.

Sempre Avanti Ivn0

THELMA said...

Buon giono Ivano:

You must be hard at work these days. I liked the "Epiphany" memo, quite interesting, especially the quotes in Friulan.
I'm planning a trip to Nimis in March. Hopefully we will be able to stay at the Ramandolo Club. I'll give you details when I return.

Take care, sempre avanti.