smokin’ the beginning

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ok.  so like i’ve been down the road of my smoking habit of the past.  though having been born and raised here in the ‘valley of the smoke’ there’s probably more to the story.

in the sorta 1830’s the wealthy tapia family from the pueblo de los angeles began to plant grapevines in what is now known as the inland empire.  more specifically the cucamonga area.  in these more pc days of weird elections and stupid ballot measures it’s now know as rancho cucamonga.  in 1875 santa ana winds and a fire destroyed what had been built up in the cucamonga area.

the 1900’s brought more hard working immigrants to the valley of smoke.  one of those immigrants was a poor italian by the name of, secondo guasti.  secondo knew how to make wine.  he knew the grapevines.  yes, he knew things and he knew what visions were made of and more importantly he knew when the iron was hot and he knew when to strike the deal.  a process most of us are pretty much clueless to.

by the 1930’s secondo guasti’s wine making venture had blossomed into a vast vine and wine making kingdom.  more grapes on the vine than all of the euroland wine countries combined.  he had built his own city, guasti, at the western edge of san bernardino county.  at the time, guasti, was the wine making capital of southern california and the united states.  secondo, also owned the largest wine making organization in the world, ivc, italian vintners company.

gusati had everything any other normal city would have.  a church, post office, fire station, a school and more importantly a vast wine making organization.  homes were built for the workers.  many italians and mexicans lived and worked in guasti’s city.   the times being what they were the mexicans lived on the south side of the railroad tracks and the italians lived on the north side of the tracks.  regardless, which side of the tracks you lived, everyone was family.

the city and wine making prospered into the 1940’s.  most of my italian relatives lived and worked in guasti.  i spent the first two years of my life  living in the one of the company owned homes on pepper tree lane. 

a simple home where the walls filled with sand when the santa ana winds blew in from the east.  in winter the smudge pots from the orange and lemon groves to the north filled the air with their acrid black smoke.  smoke thick enough to make my baby nasal discharge black and sooty. 

yeah, i was a smoker from the time i came kicking screaming from the womb.  untimely ripped.  destiny hits you hard.  sorta like life.  thankfully, i’ve kicked the habit.  finally.

secondo guasti.  

a smudge pot at work in a cherry orchard.

jmh

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