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?

13 thoughts on “Corda Road

  1. Hi Jody,
    I missed you before I knew you. The innocent words spoken by the young student
    in your wonderful friend’s class room. I can say the same thing about the way I feel about you.
    I feel blessed to be able to know about your journey from the comfort of my own home.
    Can’t help but to feel a certain amount of anxiety about the unknown and what the future might
    present in front of you but I take deep breaths and remind myself that the Lord
    will always protect you as I see that He has this far. So glad you have all these wonderful caring friends along the way.
    Thank you for all the wonderful photos and stories you been sharing.
    My prayers continue as we are approaching Palm Sunday.
    Sending you love,

    1. Isn’t that the sweetest thing to say? It makes me cry to hear it, and that you are saying it about me makes it that much more special. You are a dear, sweet person, Dora. I feel connected to you because of my trips to Portugal, and our retreats together, and of course because of the faith we share. Thank you for being a good friend. ?

  2. Sorry to hear of your injury. What size shoe do you wear? Perhaps one of us has lightly used high top hikers.

    1. Hi Pauline!
      I am wearing a men’s size 10 1/2, believe it or not! Women’s shoes rarely come in sizes large enough for me. I will most likely order a pair of Merrill’s in this size, with more support.

      Hugs and blessings to you, Pauline ♥️

  3. Hi Jody,
    I loved this blog. I like to imagine you looking out the window at the farmland and the barn and feeling at peace. It’s not often I get to hear about the people who came over from Europe and brought their Faith and their hard work and their knowledge and applied them to America and California in particular. It sounds like they are still doing those very things today. I hope you are healing and know you will reason out what to do next.

    1. Hi Ellen,
      Yes, these are good people, generously giving of their time and talents to their communities in various ways, and I am one of the many lucky recipients.
      This family has mostly gotten out of the farming business, though one of Rob’s brothers does still work the family fields. Nearly all of the workers are from the state of México called Guanajuato; as with the Italian Swiss families of a century ago, one brother invites another to join him in the new land of opportunity. The Italian Swiss have mostly moved on to “better” jobs, including Rob and Susie’s three grown children.

      Yes, I am healing, slowly but surely.

      ❤️

  4. Dearest Jody, I am enjoying your adventure and wishing you well. I hope your foot is improving! Love to you!

    Sam from Esalen

    1. Glad to hear that you’re enjoying my blog; thank you for your good wishes, Sam. I hope your journey is proceeding as you would like. Call anytime you would like. ?

  5. Hi Jody! Just now caught up with your blog, hang in there, and remember (IMO) : Good weather is your best friend!
    Love, Susan and Rocky

    1. Hi Susan!

      There’s rain predicted for this Friday in these parts.

      Glad to hear from you! ♥️

  6. Hi Jody!
    I’m sorry you are injured but happy to hear of your safe haven. I love my Keenes! I got them 4 years ago for a backpacking trip in Yosemite… I never got blisters wearing them in and they have excellent ankle support! Maybe you can read some Steinbeck while you cuperate.
    xoxos
    Mary

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