Monday, December 27, 2010




La Nostra Costa Blog is in its Fifth year. As we enter the New Year, the 'Old Rancere' thought it would be appropriate to list some past articles that may be of interest to new readers of the "blagga" and perhaps to others, offer an opportunity to review them . To retrieve :


The "Blagga's" first year was 2006. (Coincidentally, "La Nostra Costa" (Our Coast) was published in 2006):

August 2, 2006 - CARABINIERE - "THE GHOST WHO WALKED" - A story about one of Davenport's most legendary characters and the mystery of what might have happened to him after his death.

Aug 8, 2006 - HUGO'S LETTER- Hugo Bianchini of Monterey, gives his best review of "La Nostra Costa" and links it to his own personal experiences growing up in a different locale.

Sep 6,2006 - THE RANCERE's LAMENT - BY RITA (FRANCESCHINI) GIANNADREA- Rita, who grew up "su per la costa" captures the true essence of the "Rancere's Lament", as it appears in "La Nostra Costa.

August 10, 2006 - IL FAMOSO BAFFI - A short bio of Guglielmo 'Baffi" Campioni by his son Gino Campioni - Describes the life and times of one of the most colorful ranchers "su per la costa".

Sep 4,2006 - A WHITE SPORTS COAT AND A PINK CARNATION - Carol (Costella) Swartz
remembers Santa Cruz and a certain fellow who went out with her sister Pat. A very charming story.

Oct 23, 2006 - FIGLIO DI SANTA CROCE LEN KLEMPNAUER- Len describes the efforts of his German American Family as they establish themselves in Santa Cruz. Not too surprisingly
they were very similar to those experienced by the Italian immigrants.

Nov 5, 2006 - FROM SANTA RADICCHIO TO SANTA ROSA- What starts out as a discussion of Chiogga Beets and Radicchio turns out to be a very interesting story of Italian World War II prisoners who settled in Santa Rosa.

Nov 11, 2006 - PETE PIANAVILLA VS FORREST McDERMOTT - The story of a colorful coastal "poacher" and a zealous Game Warden who confront each other "su per la costa".

Nov 21 and 27 2006 - FIGLIA DELLA COSTA NORMA (DINELLI) WILSON PART I AND PART II - The story of a little girl growing up 'su per la costa".

Dec 4, 2006 - FIGLIO DELLA COSTA LIEUTENANT ATTILIO JOSEPH DOGLIOTTI REMEMBERED - A remembrance of one 0f the first Santa Cruzans of Italian descent to be killed in World War II.

Dec 9, 2006 - FIGLIA DI SANTA CROCE - MARGARET GHIO-HARTMAN - Tells the story of Italian immigrant fishermen struggling in Santa Cruz under "Enemy Alien Restrictions" during World War II.

Dec 13, 2006 - DISASTRI DI SANTA CROCE - Robert Lemmon Jr. remembers certain disasters that befell Santa Cruz and request further info on same.


The following articles were published in 2007 :

March 22, 2007 - GINO'S OFFICIAL ITANGLISH DICTIONARY - Gino Campioni spent a considerable amount of time composing this dictionary of "Italianized" words. One of the "Blaggas" most favorite publications.

June 23, 2007 - AMICA DELLA COSTA CATHY BROVIA - REMEMBERS - Cathy tells the story of growing up in a small town in Minnesota during hard times.

July 4, 2007 - PRIMO CARNERA - FIGLIO DEL FRIULI - A short Bio by Doriano Degano of
Primo Carnera, former Heavyweight Champion of the World and a fan favorite "su per la costs".

July 12, 2007 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY FIGLIO DELLA COSTA - MARVIN DEL CHIARO - Marvin celebrates his 70th birthday with a bio of his family who lived and worked "su per la costa".

July 26, 2007 - SPROUZZI ALA JOUNZZI - Russ Jones a former San Jose Police Officer recalls some boyhood memories of Hwy 17 and Santa Cruz. He also sends along a recipe for one of his favorite dishes featuring Brussel Sprouts. His follow up article on January 21, 2008 - SPROUZZI ALLA JOUNZZI 2 - features his favorite recipe for Osso Buco (w/Brussel Sprouts)
and much more. Buono Appitito .

July 30, 2007 - COLLISION COURSE: THE DELUCCA ACCIDENT - A dissertation by Ivano Comelli as to how one of the worse traffic accidents in Davenport history happened and how it might have been avoided.

August 5, 2007 - RICHARD HUERTA - FALLEN OFFICER - REMEMBERED - A remembrance by Ivano Comelli regarding his best friend, San Jose Police Officer Richard Huerta, killed in the line of duty Aug. 6, 1970.

August 28, 2007 - "LA STORIA DI ADA" BY GINO CAMPIONI - Gino tells the story of his beloved mother Ada (Berti) Campioni. Ada and her husband 'Baffi' lived in Santa Cruz for many years.

Oct 1, 2007 - RAMANDOLO/NIMIS/FRIULI CON FOTOS - Prof. Derrill Kerrick and wife Kathy send us some interesting photos taken during their trip to Friuli.

Oct 5, 2007 - FIGLI DELLA COSTA - SUPREME SACRIFICE - A remembrance of Amadeo Lucchesi and Atilio Dogliotti who were killed in World War II.

Oct 14, 2007 - LaNORMA: O DIO CHE TRENO LUNGO - A little girl's memories of the Old Train that used to travel to and from Santa Cruz and Davenport every day.

Nov 5, 2007 - LOU MORO: FURLAN, AMICO DELLA COSTA, AMERICAN - A remembrance of one of Santa Cruz's best loved man.

Nov 17, 2007 - ITALIAN FAMILY NAMES - 'LA NOSTRA COSTA' - A list of family names associated with the 'La Nostra Costa' story compiled from memory by Gino Campioni and others.

Dec 7, 2007 - THELMA (MICOSSI) GILL - EYEWITNESS REPORT TO THE BURNING OF THE HOTEL D'ITALIA - Thelma tells of her memories of the night in 1945 when one of the famous hotels in Davenport burned to the ground.

Dec 25, 2007 - HATCH MAP - THE 'OLD COAST ROAD - Bryan Robinson sends a copy of 1859 Hatch Map that depicts La Nostra Costa as it once was.

Dec 29, 2007 - DAVENPORT- A MOMENT IN TIME - A delightful story by Patty Morelli based on her memories growing up in Davenport in the 1940s -50s.


The Following articles were published in 2008:

Jan 5, 2008 - ADDIO MI BELLA GILDA- A remembrance of Gilda Stagnaro of Gilda's Restaurant, 0ne of the best known and best loved women of Santa Cruz.

Jan 9, 2008 - THE 'DAVENPORT DESTROYER' HAS A BENCH- Cathy Brovia describes her successful quest in getting a BENCH in memory of her beloved husband, Hall of Famer, Joe Brovia 'The Davenport Destroyer', established in 'La Barranca Park' in Santa Cruz.

LaNorma -recalls more of her memories including story's about the DMV in Santa Cruz.

Feb 8, 2008 - THE FAMILY QUILICI BY NANCY (QUILICI) JACOBS - Nancy Jacobs writes a bio of her family who lived and worked on a ranch just north of Davenport. Nancy recalls some of her memories as a little girl growing up on that ranch.

Feb 20, 2008 - WELCOME GABRIELE CARMINE FALVO-CITRIGNO - Gabe tells us about his family who used to own the Napoli Cafe in San Jose.

March 15, 2008 - AMICO DELLA COSTA: LUIGI 'MORO' DEGLI ESPOSTI - Roberto Degli Esposti writes a bio on his father 'Moro' Degli Esposti and tells the story of his family's immigration from Italy to "La Costa" shortly after World War II.

April 21, 2008 - DAVEPORT JAIL: PHOTOS PLEASE - Alverda Orlando announces that the "Old Davenport Jail" is open for business (for tours, I mean). She requests old photos to display.

May 30, 2008 - LaNORMA: MORE 'LA NOSTRA COSTA' FAMILY NAMES - LaNorma submits additional Italian names to augment Gino Campioni's original list.

July 2, 2008 - THE STORY OF 'BONZO' DA DEERHEAD' - Patty Morelli subits a charming story of 'Bonzo' the deerhead that hung on the wall of Charlie Bella's Ocean View Hotel in Davenport .

July 20, 2008 - IL CAPITANO MICOSSI AND THE FUSARI FAMILY- Jolene Fusari sends us a bio (with photos) on the Fusari Family and La Nostra Costa's Frank Micossi whose mother, Rosina, was a Fusari.

Sept 6, 2008 - MAL OCCHIO BY LAWRENCE DISTASI- A bio of Prof. Lawrence Distasi, Project Director of "Una Storia Segreta", and a review of his book, "Mal Occhio" (The Evil Eye)

LaNorma submits a true story regarding a visit by the King of Jordon as told to her by Bakery employees.


The following article were published in 2009:

Jan 27, 2009 - MRS. HELEN SONNEBORN'S CITIZENSHIP CLASS - 1945 - The re-production of an article appearing in the Santa Cruz Sentinel announcing the newly made US Citizens (including my mother, Valentina Comelli) of Santa Cruz County.

April 7, 2009 - FIGHTING FURLANS OF WW II BY DORIANO DEGANO - A true story of bravery and hardships endured by Furlan and other Italian soldiers fighting for Italy during WW II.

July 16, 2009 - NANNETTE MORGAN'S FAMILY STORY- Nannette writes a bio on her family including her own memories about growing up in Salinas, Ca.

July 23, 2009 - AN OX'S TALE - ANON FURLAN - An amusing, yet true, story of a Furlan, his wife and two Oxen.

Sep 2, 2009 - A 'LA NOSTRA COSTA' SOLDIERS STORY - NANCY JACOBS - A bio of Guliano Quilici (Nancy's brother) who served in the Pacific Theatre (including Iwo Jima) during WW II.

Nov 6, 2009 - STORIES OF THE 'OLD COAST ROAD' BY LaNORMA - Once again LaNorma digs deep into her bag of memories to recall some amusing stories (some about the CHP) that occurred on the Coast Road.

Nov 16, 2009 - MICHAEL NANNA REMEMBERS SANTA CRUZ - A bio and boyhood memories of a former Santa Cruzan.

Nov 28, 2009 -'PANE AMARAO' (BITTER BREAD) FOR THANKSGIVING - A synopsis and review of Gianfranco Norelli's documentary film about the struggles of early Italian immigrants upon their arrival in l'america.

Dec 12, 2009 - COAST ROAD BLOG - The 'blagga' finds Anneliese Agren's new Coast Road Blog on the net:

The following articles were published in 2010:

March 3, 2010 - THE GREAT POLENTA CONTROVERSY - A re-print of Santa Cruz Sentinel columnist Donna Maurillo's article on 'quick and easy polenta'. This article caused great controversy among the 'traditional slow-cook' polenta lovers.

July 18, 2010 - FIGHTING FURLANS (CONT'D) - BY RENO DI CISTERNIA - An incredible but true story of hardships faced by Italian soldiers fighting on the Russian Front during WW II.

Aug 28, 2010 - LA NOSTRA COSTA DAYS REVIVAL - SPECIAL GUEST - LIDO CANATARUTTI - A bio on Figlio della Costa, and Director of the Italian Film Festival of Marin ( ) who braved the rain all the way from San Raphael to be our very special guest at LNCD Revival II. Thanks again, Lido.

Sep 20, 2010 - AN AMERICAN STORY BY GINO CAMPIONI - A story of hardships faced by the Okamoto Family of Portland, Oregon under 'Enemy Alien' restrictions during WW II.


IVANO SAYS (CONT'D): There are many others of course. To view all articles in the LNostra Costa archives, simply click on the year (right hand side of the blog page),
then scroll down the retrieved page. (You may have to click on "Older" at the bottom of the page to continue.) I want to thank everyone for submitting their aritcles - without a doubt -the reason for the 'blagga's" success. Sempre Avanti and Happy New Year.

BTW: You can also retrieve many articles pertaining to "La Nostra Costa" by "googling": la nostra costa blog

Thursday, December 16, 2010



How many of you Italo-Americans remember your first time seeing Sani Closi (Santa Claus).
I remember so well: I was 6 years old and had just started First Grade at Laurel School. I did not speak English very well. I think I knew about 10 words. As the photo above shows I had just gotten glasses (for a crossed eye) when I first met Santa at Woolworth's on Pacific Avenue (next to JJ Newberrys.)

I sat on his lap and then he asked me what I wanted for Christmas – I was so excited.

I said, “Voglio un caretino rosso” (I want a little red wagon).

Santa said, “A what?”

According to my Mom, (Diana Dinelli), my face got as red as Santa's suit. I remember thinking, “Horrors – Santa Claus doesn’t speak Italian or understand it either!"

I did not know how to say "a red wagon" in English… I blurted out one of the few words I knew – “ dolly”. Of course that is not what I really wanted – I so wanted that wagon!

In reminiscing about Christmas years past with Ivano, we recalled how different it was years ago from today. At least we thought so. Still it was a magical time and I remember going to sleep after we had bought a Christmas tree. About 10 o’clock that night my parents woke me up and said, “Come see -Santa Claus was here and he helped us put up the tree”?

With a look of disbelief on my face I asked, "You could understand him?"

They said, "Oh yes. He was a nice Santa and he spoke Italian very well . In fact he told us to tell you to be a good little girl."

"Where is he now?" I asked.

"Oh", my mother answered, "he had to get going so he could help some other people put up their trees".

I was disappointed of course, but I could understand that. Besides the room was awesome with the lights on the tree in the dark and the Nativity scene under the tree.

"Well", I thought, "even if he didn't understand me when I saw him, it certainly was nice of him to come by and help my parents put up the tree. And he learned Italian so fast."

That was the magic of Christmas for a small child.

Still, I was disappointed that he didn't wake me up and I never did get the red wagon. But, I did get a "Dolly". All in all it was a good Christmas and I forgave Santa for not understanding my Italian.

Other memories of Christmas Past:

Christmas Eve was spent at the Neri’s on DuFour St (in Santa Cruz), with my Aunt and Uncle and Cousin.

Christmas Day was spent with a huge dinner in the cookhouse at the Pietro Bargiacchi’s. So many of us were there and we had turkey and so many wonderful things to eat including ( you guessed it) home made ravioli made by Ida Bargiacchi with some help from Zia Elvira and Emma Bargiacchi.

Everyone – BUON NATALE and Buon Anno Novo – many blessings for the New Yea 2011!

As Ivano always says "Sempre Avanti."
'La Norma'
Norma Dinelli Wilson


Hi, Ivan,
I just read Norma's Christmas story and thought you might be interested in reading about the day I learned that Santa Claus is not a real person.
It's a piece I wrote three years ago for a web site called The Columnists. The Columnists site, as I may have informed you previously, is made up mostly of retired newspaper people. Ron Miller, a 1956 Santa Cruz High grad and a Pulitzer Prize nominee when he worked for the San Jose Mercury, was one of the site's founders and administers it. Another columnist you probably know is Chuck McFadden, from your SCHS Class of 1955 and a former reporter for the Associated Press. All three of us were on the SCHS Trident student newspaper.
My 2007 piece, titled "Learning The Awful Truth About Santa Claus," is at:

Ron and Chuck also have numerous Christmas stories on the web site.

-- Len Klempnauer - SCHS Class of '54

P.S. The Columnists annual Christmas edition this year will be on the web on Dec. 20.


LaNorma and the "Old Rancere"