Saturday, May 20, 2017
Comillo Morelli, Happy Birthday Aunt Etta's Jones husband
Some more Swiss lines to play with. No wonder our Dad, Aunt, and Uncle could stand in the old kitchen of their home a do a yodeling event. Wonder if Granda Ricioli could yodel and I have forget it?
Yes, some people do not remember their early years, but our children (Fred's and mine) need to be aware, I am a bit like my Dad and many early year events are very stuck in the battered grey matter of my brain.
I thought it odd Dad could remember train ride from Iowa to Wyo. But then I started thinking back to what I could remember. O I wish I could remember some of the intriguing stories my parents said I did at age 2. Ie like took my dog to the River, a very large River. Scared them both half to death.
It was in our back yard area. I was fenced in and dug under fence with dog and we went for a walk.
I remember the results of that digging and walk but not the activity. Another story some day.
So when we arrived in California, (no I do not remember then) we settled on Uncle Comillo's dairy in the ranch house next to my Aunt and Uncles' house.
Uncle Comillo and Aunt Etta had two boys when we arrived, Robert (Bobbie) and Donald (Donnie), were a few years older than I.
We were welcomed into some of Uncle Comillo's family since all our family was in WYO, IOWA and other places. The War had started and Dad came to help on his brother in law's dairy since the workers were drafted to serve in the War.
My Uncle's brothers were off serving in the War, When one of the units were within our area they would bring their airplane over the house and wiggle their wings and buzz us to say HI. Yes Bob and Don I remember those events. Mike had not arrived until years later.
Uncle and Aunt had a huge house. It had a large basement. I recall them butchering deer and other animals there and we had a section that had an old row boat we would set in and sing about sailing away and the moon rising, etc . The crazy songs of the day. Some times they still pop into my head.
Of course you remember. "Row, Row, Row your Boat gently down the stream."etc. Harvest moon in the late fall when the moon was so huge, (it seemed back then). We were out in the country and the stars and sky was like right there to almost touch.
I need to do some research on this family a bit more. But I will share what I recall.
Uncle Comillo had some brothers, Alvin and Vernon and I think a Clarence. I only saw them when they came to see their family, some times. I recall one lived in the Sonoma Mountains after the war.
The boys and I had chores, we fed the calves & chickens. The boys gathered the eggs.
When Don was older he had Bantam chickens in many colors and types. Bob had calves and heifers that he showed in FFA and not sure if he did 4-H but he could have.
Uncle Comillo was a lot of fun if you could just get him to stop long enough to share time with you.
He told us great stories and I wish I could remember them.
One when he met his bride he started something very special. WE hope Joan has the special now and has passed them down to Jeannie. He bought Aunt Etta a salt and pepper set. Two Robbins setting on a fence, hoping she would get a clue. Obviously she did and each big date and marriage and event in their life brought my Aunt another Salt and Pepper set.
When they remodeled the kitchen he bought narrow shelving around the top of the kitchen /dinning area for the collection. Aunt always kept them in order of what they were given. She could tell me the boys if they would listen what each one represented. I thought it was a great way to remember ones life's major events.
Uncle had a Dam on the back side of the barn, They milked lots of guernsey cows. It was generally,
Uncle and Dad and one other hired hand, he whom slept in the bunk house. On hot days we could as a group go over and play in the water and ride the raft and swim and chase tadpoles. Those later became good size frogs and we would have frog legs to eat. Uncle's Bulls were kept away from the main part of the ranch and not near the other members of the herd. So we had animals all over this huge acreage. I suspect a few hundred acres or larger in size. It had a creek that filled the dam that then went down the creek to the other end of ranch where we picnicked in the summer because it was under the trees and much much cooler.
They grew and cut hay, Everyone cut weeds, we all had gardens. I carried water to the workers when Haying was near the house. Wagon was very handy to use and Don and I took turns pulling it. Some times Bob helped too.
The had a thistle that was very invasive and we were always having to let the adults know where we seen them start up. Alas, that brought about the use of DDT, which then killed the weeds(thistles) but ultimately caused Uncle to get cancer and even later that is what he died from.
Uncle loved to eat Limburger Cheese and tease us with giving us a kiss afterwards.
50 years later I finally tasted that smelly stuff and it is very mild flavored and really is quite good.
It was like his snack before milking and he had it with good Italian bread some times a soda type cracker. Generally a glass of milk to rinse it down. Wine was always served at the dinner meal.
It was a dark, heavy wine. When I became an adult I was allowed to drink it at events.
I remember his twinkling eyes when teasing me and his serious eyes when the occasion was needed. He and my Dad got along really well. He spoke more than English being with Italian and Swiss parentage I thought he was lucky to learn those languages.
We lost our Uncle when we were stationed in Hawaii in 1968. He spent much time in discomfort from the situation he was dealt.
He was in the Air Force when he met my Aunt Etta. It seems at that time frame in the world, almost all peoples children joined the service whether there was a war on or not. It was a civic duty. He was in Cheyenne, WYO area at the time.
They had their last son much later in life. I helped babysit him when he was young. Yes, Mike we have already shared those stories with you when Mom was still with us.
Uncle's oldest boy Bob was in the Air Force, Don was in the USN and had interesting tours of duties.
Mike worked as a photographer for National Geographic for a time. Then he went to work on his parents ranch that was turned into a Olive Farm by a lady that bought it from Italy.
Don took the dairy to the valley and then turned it over to his son. NO idea if still working it would be nice to think so. Bob worked with the Peace Corp and family was out of country after his Air Force tour.
We lost Aunt Etta in 1988. I still miss them so very, very much.
Names affiliated with these people are Jones, Foulk, Myers, Respini, Traversi, Ricioli and many more.