My friends’ home on Corda Road in Gonzales is a haven for an injured Pilgrim like me. Susie and Robert Gularte have created a place of beauty, comfort and love in their authentic Victorian house. Brought over from Salinas in the 1980s, they transplanted the house onto the family farm in Gonzales. Susie has a gift for home making, and the interior of the house is warm and homey. Pictures of their three grown children, as well as of their relatives and ancestors on both sides, adorn the piano room. The living room is furnished with vintage Victorian-era pieces, and the walls are adorned with some of Susie’s own handiwork. One can feel the love and devotion to family in the calming energy of this place.
Rob’s great, great grandfather, by the name of Anselmi, an immigrant from the Ticino region of Switzerland, established a dairy on this site in the late 1800’s, in partnership with another Swiss Italian named Corda. Anselmi’s daughter was brought over from Ticino to be the arranged bride of Corda. The dairy was run by Swiss workers (most of whom also came from Ticino) and produced milk that would be turned into evaporated milk in the town of Gonzales, which would then be shipped all over the world. The need for feeding the soldiers in World War 1 was a boon for the business at the time. Here’s a picture of the original dairy barn:
The dairy went out of operation in the early 1970s and vegetable farming took its place. Asparagus, broccoli, lettuce and other vegetables became the cash crops that would sustain the descendents that stuck with farming, which included Rob’s parents. The Gularte name comes from Rob’s father, who married one of the Corda sisters.
Rob, after farming with a brother for many years, has chosen a new career of remodeling and managing rental properties in Gonzales and Monterey. He also teaches catechism in the local Catholic parish to a group of thirty teenagers each Sunday. In addition to home making, Susie teaches kindergarten in Seaside. (Testimony to the quality of Susie’s presence in her students’ lives came from one little girl this past summer, after her very first day of school : “Mrs. Gularte, I missed you before I knew you.”)
The Gulartes say they are happy to have me stay here until my ankle is better. I trust they are being honest with me. I am so grateful!
It’s peaceful here. Every window of the house looks out onto vast agricultural fields, stretching for miles before coming up against the Santa Lucia range to the west or the Gabilán Mountains to the east. This is Steinbeck country, and I’m tempted to read his East of Eden, which I’m surprised I have not read, living in Monterey County as I have for over forty years.
On her website www.walkelcaminoreal.com, Stephanie Dodaro suggests asking anyone you know along the Camino to put you up for a night or two, or to camp on their property. I have done so, and I’m so glad I did. Places to stay and/or camp are few and far between in this land of private farms and vineyards. I am fortunate in that I have lived in this area for so long that I do have friends and acquaintances to ask. That they are so kind and welcoming is a blessing, to say the very least.
I am seriously considering getting a Dixon Rollerpack or a Jogging Baby Stroller for my stuff. If I’m going to make it to San Diego I need to do something to prevent further injury. Shoes are another consideration. I’ve been wearing Merrill trail runners. They are very light and comfortable, but I may need more ankle support. Any suggestions?