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Sunday, July 31, 2011


While staying at the beach house we visited my wife’s brother in nearby Watsonville. It’s a few miles inland but a world away from the wealthy white folks that flock the coast. Most of the people in Watsonville are much more brown, working class, and speak another language.

I love it there.

It’s like going to Mexico in fifteen minutes, a border town without poverty, pickpockets, or drug wars. Watsonville produces almost all of the strawberries that we eat. They grow more than any other place in the world. And beyond those endless rows of berries are hills covered with apple trees.

The Martinelli family makes the world’s best cider there. Back in the 90’s when they needed more room for an apple press, they put their historic family home on the market. The sign out front said, “House for Sale. You Move. $1”. My brother-in-law, Antonio Violich, and his wife, Michelle, took them up on their offer. They gave John Martinelli a silver dollar and moved the 3000 sq. ft. structure three blocks west.

They have been

living there ever since.

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