IVANO FRANCO COMELLI
They called him Bronco. That, of course, wasn’t his real name. It was the name given him by the Italian ranchers who worked on the rugged north coast of Santa Cruz County. The ranches were known as rancios and the ranchers identified as ranceri. The coast was called la costa.
Bronco worked on the rancios from 1924 to 1931. Having saved $5,000, he decided to return to his native Italy. There, he met Valentina, a beautiful 17-year old maiden. After a whirlwind romance, Bronco and Valentina married.
Having stayed in Italy for almost a year, Bronco ran out of money.
Leaving his young bride behind, he returned to la costa to replenish his “stash”. In a year’s time he made enough money to buy passage for his young wife. Valentina immigrated to la costa in 1933. While living on the coast their two sons, Giovanni Primo and Ivano Franco were born.
The family’s journey on the coast takes them through the Depression and World War II when Bronco and Valentina were declared to be enemy aliens. The author attempts to explain why Bronco was not allowed to work on his rancio because it happened to be on the wrong side of highway and why his father was almost arrested for being a suspected spy. During this same period, the author takes us back to Italy and describes what it was like for Bronco and Valentina’s relatives to live under Nazi occupation. The author recounts the story of Valentina’s youngest sister and how she survived the war only to be wrongfully labeled a collaborator by Italian partisans, and how Valentina devised a plan to bring her to la costa.
The author in some detail and with numerous photographs describes how the people of la costa lived, worked and played; he also writes about their mannerisms, the way they talked, sang songs, swore, argued and made deals. He even narrates how some of the cookhouse meals were prepared for the ranceri. He further describes how certain events occurring on the coast influence him to become a police officer, changing his life drastically thereafter.
In writing this book, the author was fully aware that non-Italian families also lived on the coast. However, because of the many events and interactions that took place between his family and the other Italian families during this time period, he, as a boy growing up, came to believe that this was indeed an Italian coast. Thus ─La Nostra Costa (Our Coast).
WRITTEN BY IVANO FRANCO COMELLI - PUBLISHED BY AUTHORHOUSE - AVAILABLE ON LINE AT: WWW.AUTHORHOUSE.COM
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