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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Bei-Tottino-Bei Picnic was a Blast

There's something about family reunions: you're not sure that you'll know folks anymore, or that they'll remember you very well, but then it always turns out to be more fun than you expected. All the names and faces come back in a flood, you can pick up right where you left off before, and everyone is genuinely interested in what you're doing in your own life. Must be that common gene thing.

The Bei-Tottino-Bei Family Picnic on August 5th was a huge success! Held at both Norman's and Esther's adjacent homesteads in Soquel, the day was gorgeous, with that special kind of feel in the air that only the Santa Cruz coastal hills can provide. I am always slammed with memories whenever I visit that place: long past days of dinners with home made bottles of wine on every table, men standing watch at huge outdoor barbeques emitting the most wonderful aromas of grilling chicken, or pork or beef. The eucalyptus trees on the hillside, the warm sun bouncing off the white linen table clothes, the women carrying large plates and bowls of made-from-scratch raviolis, pastas, ginormous salads, vegetable platters filled with the harvests from backyard gardens and family-owned fields, desserts to die for, wonderful loaves of bread, formaggio, wine, wine and more wine. The music has a decidedly Italian flavor, whether it's Dino, Frankie, or a Tarantula played especially to draw out the dancers.

This picnic was no different, and as always the eldest and youngest alike were there, playing, swimming, talking, laughing, getting reacquainted after months or years of not seeing each other. Something in the deepest part of me is rekindled when I go back home and meet up with my cousins, aunts, uncles, and long-time family friends. I ask, "why do we live so far apart? What is it about America that draws family members away from each other?" Well, there are lots of reasons and answers to those questions, but as long as we can find our way back to that place we all have in common, there is no way to get really lost.

Thanks and Grazie to our hosts, Norman and Esther, and to all the Tottino girls, too, for putting together better and better get-togethers all the time. We always have a great time, and my memory banks just keep getting richer and richer!

"Pics from a Fun Day in Soquel"

Norman's special "kitchen" behind the pizza oven/barbeque is perfect for food lines and cleanup. Claudi, Marci, Mark and Jon line up for chow. What a set-up!

It's good to see Hugo back on his feet after hip surgery last year. Doesn't he look great? I have huge respect for this man and the great family he and his wife, Delores, preside over.

Stacy did indeed have her hands full with four year old cousin Seth Bessiere. But he's still a charmer, and gets along with everyone he meets. He also has no fear of water and "jumping houses", as his Dad can attest.

Norman's hillside home includes quite a menagerie of rare animals and a wonderland of little scenes and garden sculptures that can only be likened to a cross between Disneyland, a natural history museum, and a zoo--with a bocci ball court, swimming pool, antiques barns, and rare car garages to boot. Here, cousin Donna (all the way from Pennsylvania) communes with the camel.

Gene and Marie look great! They live real close to Dad in Castroville. Been family friends for a gazillion years.

There are lot's more photos of this wonderful event, but I'll have to stop here. I wish our visit could've been longer, wish I could've talked to everyone longer. Your comments are welcome, I'd love to hear from you.


  • Hi Terry,

    I enjoyed reading your "BLOG", especially when the "Aunts" and Nonnie were in the kitchen making all the homemade Italian dishes. It brought to mind all the times I came home from work after a frazzled day dealing with 35 lively kids, and Nonnie would be at the door with a freshly made pizza, or one of her great apple pies. I'll give you her favorite phrase, "It didn't turn out so good."--When in her lifetime did she ever make something that was not delicious?!!!!

    I do so wish I had paid attention as she rolled out dough, cut it, hung it on the back of the kitchen chair, let it dry slightly, and finally rolled it into a ball. What wonderful pasta she made.

    I have fond memories of the whole Bei family. The little guy, Mikie, with those long eyelashes, who is now Mr. Mom, RN. The little girl who used to draw those horses that hung next to the salami in the basement--now a graphic artist.

    Thanks for including us with your BLOG.

    Love, Arline & Family

    By Anonymous Arline B, at 10/21/2006 10:56 AM  

  • Hello Terry and all,

    I forgot to mention the cheese bread that Nonnie made at Easter; Louie loved it, although it did smell pretty cheesy! Betty gave me one of Nonnie's aprons, I would like to think some of her great talent came with it.

    Louie & I get a good laugh when we think about the time that Moe was home on leave from the Marines, and was a bundle of energy. Nono asked him to cut down a sickly old tree behind the fence, instead he cut down a big, beautiful Monterey Pine tree. Needless to say, Nono was not happy, but it was only a tree!

    We remember Christmas Eve at our house for Tom & Jerry's, when John would play the "The Sting" on our piano, (was this the only song he knew by heart?), and he did a great job.

    We have nice neighbors in Kingsburg, but nothing compared to Cypress Circle. Castroville was a wonderful place to live and raise our kids, but it sure has changed. Keep the BLOGS coming, as we enjoy them so much. Love to all, and hello to Norma & John, glad to hear she is doing so well.

    Love, Arline & Louie

    By Anonymous Arline B, at 10/21/2006 11:16 AM  

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