Last year a delightful article appeared in the BBC Magazine recounting the experience of a group of grandmothers from Daone, a hamlet in the Val del Chiese, which in turn is part of the Valle Giudicarie. Several of our club members have origins in Daone with last names such as Bugna, Nicolini, Ghezzi, Corradi and Leonardi. In 2015 Daone merged with Bersone and Praso to form a larger municipality called Valdaone with a population of nearly 2,000.
These grandmothers, average age 80, belonged to the Rododendro (Rhododendron) Club of retirees. Their dream was to go to the seashore for a vacation. Most had never even seen the sea. They married soon after the war. They raised children and toiled in the fields while their husbands worked building the valley’s dams. Vacations were considered frivolous, a waste of hard earned savings. Some had never even ventured to the city of Trento,f only 35 miles away.
The word for women in the local dialect is “funne”. Well, these “funne” created a calendar, and each month one of them was featured in a photomontage based on some dreamlike wish. The idea was to sell the calendars and make enough money to go on vacation to the seaside. The calendars did not sell that well, and their hopes were dashed. Then one of their grandsons suggested crowdfunding on the Internet. The results were phenomenal. Donations flowed in from all over the world. They had more than enough money to go on their dream vacation last year. They chose the Croatian island of Ugljan, with the same patron saint as Daone, La Madonna della Neve (the Madonna of the Snow). They arrived just in time for the August 5th feast day celebration. Of course, none of them knew how to swim, but that made no difference. Their dream had come true.
Katia Bernardi chronicles this captivating story in a book and documentary film both entitled Funne, le ragazze che sognavano il mare.
These women have been featured in the media and were honored guests of the Pope.
This year, for our annual Spring Luncheon, we met at “El Terun“, an Italian restaurant in Palo Alto.
Maico, the owner, and his staff were the perfect hosts. Maico was responsible for a video of our wonderful Dolomiti; He took the time to search youtube, record the video and set it up for us. He told us that being a part of our festa made him feel at home (he lived in Trentino for a couple of years). It was a delight to see all the kids and the club members enjoy a wonderful lunch together. During the lunch the club board also rewarded Gregory Eugene Tafner McGarry aka Greg with our first “Trentino Roots Award” , that has as a goal to promote the participation of young members of our club in the Summer Exchange Program sponsored by The Province of Trento.
Thank you to Maico and all the club members for the amazing lunch and company.
and Maria Mortati
The governing board of our club recently established the “Trentino Roots Award”, a monetary gift of $500 to encourage members of our club to participate in the “Summer Exchange Program” promoted by the Province of Trento, and help defray some of the costs. Gregory Eugene Tafner McGarry aka Greg became the first recipient of the “Trentino Roots Award” at our spring luncheon in Palo Alto. Congratulations Greg! Buon Viaggio in Trentino!
What is the Summer Exchange Program?
The Province of Trento each year funds a summer exchange program for youth aged 18 to 35. This year club member Gregory Eugene Tafner McGarry aka Greg has been selected to participate along with Trentini youth from Latin America, Australia, Canada and elsewhere. Greg lives in San Francisco. He currently teaches high school English and is completing his Master’s in Education from Stanford University. Greg’s great-grandfather was from city of Trento and his great-grandmother was a Pedri from Cagnò in the Val di Non. His family is related to the current president of the Trentini nel Mondo Association, Alberto Tafner. In the US their last name was changed to Daffner. A Trentina family will host Greg for 3 weeks while he engages in a series of activities organized by the Province; in turn, Greg will host a member of the family here in California.
A picture of Greg at the Spring Luncheon
It is a very sad moment for our Trentino club. Padre Efrem Trettel passed away at the age of 95 on Friday, January 20th. Padre Efrem was a pillar in the community. For years he broadcast Italian TV and radio programs from his studio in San Francisco. His achievements are numerous. He was an iconic figure both here and in Italy. The news appeared on TV and in print in Trentino the day after his passing, and on a blog produced in his birthplace of Predazzo.
In 2010 club member Christine Bologna visited Padre Efrem and wrote a captivating article chronicling the history of this extraordinary man. Click here to read that article. Around the same time Vincenzo Mancuso of the Trentino Historical Museum created a short subtitled documentary based on interviews with Padre Efrem and other club members. Padre Efrem donated his collection of writings, tapes and film footage to the Museum, and some of this historical footage is included in the documentary. Click here to view the documentary.
Father Efrem was an accomplished writer, poet and musician. In 1960 “Fiumi-Risaie-Anime, Ricordi Della Mia Missione in Cina” was published, an autobiographical account of his years in China. In 1965 the book was translated in English, “Rivers, Rice Fields, Soul: Memoirs of My Mission in China”. He also wrote a book on St. Francis of Assisi and one entitled “The Life of Mary”. In 2011 an anthology of his poetry was published under the title “Son of Francis”. In 2004, in honor of his outstanding life and career, the Province of Trento presented him with the “International Award”
A special thank you goes out to club member Marco Di Ianni, who visited Father Efrem frequently and assisted him as his health failed. Father Efrem will be forever grateful.
Father Efrem was buried along side his brother, Father Flavio, in the Franciscan Cemetery in Colma, south of San Francisco. Father Flavio tragically passed away in a car accident in 1994.
Father Efrem, we thank you for your friendship, support and spiritual guidance over the years. May you rest in peace.
Addio, caro amico.
Circolo Trentino di San Francisco