gmhTODAY 15 gmhToday July Aug 2017 - Page 105

Don Manzo I met Don Manzo at Gilroy Presbyterian Church over twenty-five years ago. We were original members of a men’s group. Recently, we got together again. I found out that he was born in1929 in his house down a then country dirt road which is now Wren Avenue. He was the sixth of eight kids. His parents were from the Piedmont region in Northern Italy. They immigrated to San Jose where they married in 1916. They later moved to Gilroy. Don grew up as a rancher. He and his brothers and sisters helped their parents tend to pears and prunes. Their family ranch, along First Street, was self sustaining with a garden, milk and butter from their cow, and fat and meat from the pigs. All of this was done with no refrigeration until the 1930’s. Don went to Gilroy High School and graduated in 1944. It was almost the end of World War II, so he was required to register for the draft. After receiving papers to be inducted, his older brother went to the draft board and requested that Don’s draft be deferred until the prunes were picked and processed. The following December he went through training in the Navy and became a gunner’s mate. After eighteen months the war was over and Don came back to Gilroy to farm prunes. Among a Texas family who picked prunes was his future wife, Rhoda. They communicated by mail for about a year and were eventually married in 1962 in Cupertino. Rhoda and Don had four children and eleven grandchildren. Sadly, Rhoda passed away in 2007. Don and Rhoda had a Thanksgiving tradition. Rhoda made the crusts for pumpkin pies and Don made the filling. To this day when Don is involved in a dinner he is commissioned to make a pumpkin pie. Don, at 91, says he is too old to move from Gilroy. He does recall the small town atmosphere. In 1944 as a high school graduate there were only 3,000 people in Gilroy. Don walks regularly, and has coffee at Sandy’s cafe with some life-long friends. He occasionally journeys to the family home in Lake Tahoe but he always looks forward to home on the street where Henry Miller planted all those beautiful trees. Ann Barbero Jaszewski Ann was was born in Soledad in 1920. Her parents came from the Northern part of Italy. Their goal was to buy a heard of dairy cows and start a dairy in Soledad. Unfortunately, the cows became ill and the hopes of a dairy dimmed. Not long after that, they relocated to Gilroy. Ann graduated in 1938 from Gilroy High School formally Severance High School, located at Third and Church. Ann worked at the Woolworth store on the corner of Fifth and Monterey Streets. It is there she met her future husband to be, Dave Jaszewski. They found out that they both loved to dance and entered dance contests and even won a few. They married in 1941 and had four children. Dave and Ann operated the Polyanna Bakery for twenty-eight years. Their Danish, carrot cake and Pantone were legendary. For a while Dave and Richard Conrotto were in the ravioli making business together. Dave passed away in 1980. When Ann turned ninety, friends wanted to give her a party. She said “Lets do something with purpose.” Her friends organized a 5K walk and 128 people showed up and completed the walk. Ann was right there with them. The money raised went to the charity “Hospice of the Valley” for the great work that they did with her son during his final days. Each day she walks to the store. When I asked to do this interview, her response was, “Can’t do it until my walk is over.” Her group has walked from St. Louise Regional Hospital to Morgan Hill only using orchards and back-roads. She has walked in the Bay to Breakers and across the Golden Gate Bridge. Ann loves Gilroy and she attributes that to the people that she interacts with…from the staff at Nob Hill Foods to her walking group, to the people at St. Mary Church. On December 6, 2017 she will be 97. Save the next dance for me, Ann. Anita and Andy Zanardi Anita and Andy came from Mountain View to Gilroy in 1997. Anita was born in 1920 in Genoa, Italy and moved with her family to San Francisco in 1922. Andy was born in 1923 in San Francisco. They met some time after Anita’s first husband, Vincent, and Andy’s first wife, Norma, had passed away. Anita got to know Andy when she waited on tables at the Sunnyview Social Club in Mountain View. Andy played the accordion and had a band, The Andy Zanardi Group, that played there for twenty-five years. He started playing the accordion—and still has his first one—when he was eight years old. When David, Anita’s son, married, Andy’s band played. For many years, Andy and Anita went to the family home near Tuscany, Italy. They would stay for three months. The house was located on a hill from which you had clear views of the countryside and other towns. Anita loves Gilroy and the friendly people. Anita’s sons, Dave and Don, and their wives, Valerie and Sharon, make sure that Andy and Anita get to many Gilroy Elks events like the Tom & Jerry Party in December, the Lenten Fish Dinners, and Mothers Day Brunch to name a few. Anita and Andy are also regular members of the Italian Catholic Federation. During the interview, with help from daughters-in-law, Valerie and Anita, we determined that the Vanni-Zanardi family has 17 grandchildren, 29 great grandchildren and one great-greatgrandchild. I asked them if they rent a hall when they get together. Anita responded that the boys, Dave and Don, built a big party room at the Ranch. This November, Andy and Anita will celebrate 42 years of marriage. Written By Sam Bozzo GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN JULY/AUGUST 2017 gmhtoday.com 105 Don Manzo I met Don Manzo at Gilroy Presbyterian Church over twenty-five years ago. We were original members of a men’s group. Recently, we got together again. I found out that he was born in1929 in his house down a then country dirt road which is now Wren Avenue. He was the sixth of eight kids. His parents were from the Pied- mont region in Northern Italy. They im- migrated to San Jose where they married in 1916. They later moved to Gilroy. Don grew up as a rancher. He and his brothers and sisters helped their parents tend to pears and prunes. Their family ranch, along First Street, was self sustaining with a garden, milk and butter from their cow, and fat and meat from the pigs. All of this was done with no refrigeration until the 1930’s. Don went to Gilroy High School and graduated in 1944. It was almost the end of World War II, so he was required to register for the draft. After receiving papers to be inducted, his older brother went to the draft board and requested that Don’s draft be deferred until the prunes were picked and processed. 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