Adam S. Eterovich
Like in the 'Old Country' on the Island of Vis, Augustine Felando and Aneta Stanojevich-Felando carried on the family tradition of making and repairing their own nets for fishing in America.
They spent hours making nets right in the dining room of their house on 456 10th Street, San Pedro, Calif.. Even the children, George the oldest, Anthony (Tony), Margarita (Mary), August and Cvijeta (Florence) helped by threading the needles which 'Nuno' Augustine made from wood. 'Nuna'Aneta\Annie-Marija was noted as a mender and sewer of cloth and even when carrying on a conversation she continued to patch or darn. It came naturally. (Dec. 14, 1995 related by Annette Felando from her mother Mae Felando) Also, during these first years in America, Augustine and Aneta will have three more children and they will be born in San Pedro, Calif. Catherine Felando was born on September 30, 1907 and two years later on April 25, 1909 Nicholas Gerald Felando was born. Finally in 1912 on November 15th Ann Cecelia Felando came into this world and the family was complete.
By 1907 Augustine Felando had his first of three fishing boats, and named it "Oceana". His second vessel, "Annie", was named after his wife Aneta\Annie-Marija. The third fishing vessel was the 'Nightingale'. All of these vessels helped bring income to the family. (June 2, 1996 related by AugustJohn Felando from his father August Felando) Later the "Nightingale" was skippered by Tony Felando who had been promised by his Dad that it would be his. But later, Augustine decided to sell it. (Dec. 14, 1995 related by Annette Felando from her father Tony Felando)
In the backyard of their home on 456 10th Street, San Pedro they had a 'Gabina",or cabin, that provided sleeping quarters for the fishing crew that worked on Augustine's three boats. They only stayed overnight and then went out fishing the next day. The 'Gabina' consisted of two bedrooms and four beds and allowed the men to store their fishing gear and belongings. These rooms also allowed 'Nuno' Augustine to provide room and board for those coming from the 'Old Country'. New immigrants had to have proof of such accommodations in order to get into the United States and Augustine would therefore be responsible for guaranteeing such conditions.
Fishing was apart of the family life and it even prompted younger son August, at 12 years old (1911), to skip school to go out fishing with his Dad, Augustine. He remembered catching rockcod by setting a line with a float. This approach was called a "Christmas tree" which consisted of a straight line with a single float and then lines fanning out with hooks. "Nuno" Augustine and his son August used this fishing technique off of "Tanner Bank" approximately 70 miles from San Pedro, and about 30 miles from the North end of San Clemente Island. During the summer months, when the Albacore run was happening, they would use gill nets to catch the fish.
Home Made Wine
Augustine also continued to make good wine, having had to pay $200 for a permit. He crushed the grapes with his bare feet along with three to four other men, usually the boarders from the 'Gabina', in a big wooden round barrel with a spigot. As the grapes were pressed the juice would drip out and be gathered in smaller barrels to ferment in the cellar.
Till this day, Annette Felando remembers her experience as a child when her mother Mae left her at Augustine house when they were crushing grapes. Annette recalled being picked up and put into the crushing barrel. When Annette's mother, Mae came back at the end of the day she asked "Where is Annette, my daughter? The men from the "Gabina" pointed to the open barrel and there standing in among the crushed grapes was Annette whose arms and legs were stained purple and any place else that was bare. The purple stain of the grapes lasted for weeks. (Dec. 14,1995 related by Annette Felando)
From the grapes, wine was made as well as a type of brandy called 'Grapo' or "Rakija" in Slav. Nuno Augustine would "mix the old wine from the previous year with the stems of the new mashing and add water and let it ferment again and then he drained it, and pressed the mash and distilled the liquid to make brandy", nothing was wasted. (Dec. 10, 1995 the making of 'Grapo'related by John Mezin)
Food and Cards
At Home at 456 10 th Street San Pedro, California. Augustine Felando, who read and spoke fluent Italian, was probably educated in Komiza by Italian priests. Many Italians would walk pass his house in San Pedro on their way to the fish market and stop to talk to him since he spoke the language so well. (Dec. 7,1995 related by Ann Felando Rosner) Nuno Augustine believed in the "Golden Rule" and said to all the children not to be disrespectful to any person of race, color or creed because by the grace of God it could be us Such a lesson was practiced by the first born, George Felando who saw a black boy being beaten by a group of white boys down at the Pacific Electric Train Depot where they sold newspapers. George stepped in and stopped them from beating up the black boy and probably saved his life. (Dec. 7,1995 related by Ann Felando Rosner)
Augustine as a father never raised his hands to his children, he only had to speak or look at them to have discipline. Both Nuna AnetakAnnie-Marija and the children treated their father Augustine like a king because he spent so much time fishing and when he returned they looked forward to being with him. Aneta\Annie-Marija always shaved Augustine in the dinning room and trimmed his mustache but she would not bathe him, that he had to do himself which was very seldom since he believed taking a bath too often was unhealthy. (June 13,1996 related by Nick Felando son of Augustine Felando) He believed in a power stronger than himself that helped him and his family. But religion was never discussed in the home. (Dec. 7,1995 related by Ann Felando, Rosner)
At times friends would come to the house at 456 10th Street to play cards, usually pinochle, and in the morning would leave a little change for the children to have. The youngest child, sister Ann, would save her portion and start a bank account and save over a hundred dollars. (Dec. 7,1995 related by Ann Felando Rosner)
The family raised much of their own food as well as a goat from which the children had goat's milk. Ann Felando remembered that Nuno Augustine once had to go to court to claim ownership of their goat and he swore before the Judge "That's my goat. By all the spaghetti in heaven he's mine." He won back his goat. All the meals and food were prepared at home and in the morning Nuna Aneta Annie-Marija would fix Nuno Augustine eggnog by using just the yoke and a shot of bourbon. Also, Nuno Augustine loved a special treat from the vegetable garden where Nuna Aneta\Annie-Marija would select snails from the spinach and vegetable leaves and place them in a netted bag where the snails were cleaned by feeding them corn meal. When the snails were purged they would be boiled in the shell and taken out and oil and garlic put on them. Nuno Augustine would have the snails with French bread as a snack before lunch time. He was the only one to get this special treat, his favorite along with soup bone with gristle and marrow. (Dec. 7,1995 related by Ann Felando Rosner)
In the afternoon Augustine would have an orange or some wine and toast. Nuna Aneta\Annie-Marija would give Nuno a small serving of wine in a cup and cover it with a piece of toast and cloth to warm the wine. (Dec. 7, 1995 related by Ann Felando Rosner) Also, chestnuts would be baked and placed in the wine. Another simple dish was made of tomatoes, onions, garlic and a little parsley which made a sauce and then Nuna would break whole eggs into the sauce and with only a gentle shaking of the pan, the mixture would be served. (Dec. 8, 1995 related by Catherine Felando Sponarich) On Fridays they would have Pasta Fuzoul since no meat could be eaten on that day. But during the week the family had soup for lunch which usually consisted of short ribs and brisket with cabbage and potatoes. Nothing was wasted and if there was left over meat from the soup Nuna Aneta would make a meat salad by combining the meat with freshly sliced onions, and adding vinegar and oil. (June 4,1996 related by Ann Felando Rosner)
"Kolendat" "To Sing" on Christmas Eve
On Christmas Eve Nuna Aneta'LAnnie-Marija Felando would get together with others of the family and walk from one house to another She would carry a cow's bell and lead the festive group and when they stopped at a friends or a relative's house they began to sing Christmas songs in Slav. Aneta would ring the "cow's bell" as they approach or at the door and every one began to sing, one song after another. Some of these songs were about "opening the door" or "Dogli smo Vam Kolendati da narn date parsurati" "We came to sing to you so you could give us parsurati". Songs followed songs until the door to the house would open and allow everyone inside. People would wait till the singing stopped before they opened the door. Once in the house the singers were treated royally with dried Smokve (Dried figs), several kinds of cookies such as Parsurate, Hrustule, Baskotine, and homemade wines such as Rakuja (Brandy), Prosek (port wine) Ruzuline a liqueur made out of Dandelion flowers for Christmas and Kurskovic a brandy made out of pears. Every one helped themselves. Then the group would go on to another house and another & repeat the same thing, this festive period sometime lasted into the early morning. (related by Catherine Felando Sponarich, Susie Felando, Nick & Anka Bogdanovich, John Felando & Bartula Bezrnalinovich (Lena) Dec. 8, 1997)
Every Sunday the family would gather for lunch and a large meal would be cooked by Nuna Aneta~Annie-Marija and usually consisted of macaronoda, with pot roast, and sauerkraut. The children were not allowed into the dinning room where all the adults were, but ate in the kitchen. The food and the dishes were placed before Nuno Augustine and he portioned out the food on to each plate and it was passed around the table. This initial serving emphasized his position as being the head of the family. (Dec. 14 1995 related by Annette Felando)
Fishing Skills Carried on by the Children
The children of Augustine Felando continued their involvement with fishing by becoming boat owners and fishermen in the fishing industry that developed in San Pedro. Augustine lead the way by owning the fishing boats "Oceana", "Annie" and "Nightingale". He taught his offspring the skills and knowledge he had learned in the fishing town of Komi2a on the island of VIS. Now that heritage was to bear fruit in the port town of San Pedro in America where in 1892 the Southern California Fish Corp. established a cannery. In 1903 this Cannery started to experiment in the preparation and canning of albacore tuna in place of sardines. Within seven years more tuna canneries were developed. The result was that San Pedro was slowly becoming a principal fishing and processin ort on th W t Coast of the United States.
Augustine's son Joseph Felando, by his first wife Domenica Borcich, owned the fishing vessels "Luce", Minnie" & the "Minnie F." all fishing out of San Pedro before 1918. Joseph's sons continued the fishing tradition, with first born August becoming a fishermen on many boats, and second son David Felando becoming a skipper and part owner along with his brother Robert Felando on the fishing boat "St. Ann of the Sunset". By 1920, there was a large fleet of fishing boats and methods of fishing such as purse seine, lampara, jig, live bait, gill net, mackerel scoopers and long line were used. Los Angeles Harbor with San Pedro as its center became the largest fishing port in the nation. By 1935, 6,000 people were directly employed in the fishing Industry and reached its peak during World War 11.
Augustine's sons by his second wife, Aneta Stanojevich, also contributed to the expansion of this fishing industry. The first son, George Felando owned and operated along with his brother Anthony Robert Felando (Tony) and Star Kist Cannery the fishing vessel "Oakland". Brother Tony even skippered his father's boat "Nightingale" and worked on the boat "Adventurer" in 1930. The third son, August Felando, will become owner and Captain of the fishing vessels, "Adventurer", "Olympic", "Treasure Island" and the "Western Sky" and during World War 11 was in command of the fishing tender "Robin". His son, August John Felando became General Manager of the American Tunaboat Association in San Diego from Nov. 1, 1960 to August 31, 1991. Second son Philip Felando started as a fisherman at age 13 yrs. in 1943 on the fishing tender "Robin" and went out fishing on the "Western Sky" and later became its Captain. Philip also worked on the fishing vessels: "Treasure Island", "J.M. Martinac", "Marsha Ann", "Maurader" and the "Elsinore" which he became the owner and Captain. Augustine's fifth son Nicholas Gerald Felando fished as a young boy on his father's boat "Nightingale". Also, he fished on the "Magellan", the "Western Sky" and became part owner and Captain of the fishing vessel "Treasure Island" and President of the Fisherman Cooperative Association. Later was a buyer for Van Camp Seafood Co.
Augustine Felando's brother Ante Felanda's offspring also became involved with the expansion of the fishing industry in San Pedro. Ante's son Anton Felando (Spike) became owner along with Luka (Mikasa) Mardesich of the fishing vessel "Venus", which was the first ice-machine refrigerated purse seiner & the fishing vessel "Sunkist". Spike's son Matthew Felando fished for 12 years for August Felando on the fishing vessel "Western Sky" & then Maholovich's fishing boat "Maurader". Ante Felando's son Vicko\Vince Felando became a commercial fisherman when he arrived to America on March 23, 1937 & for 40 years was a crew member on many fishing vessels including the "Venus" & the "Progress". Vicko Felando's brother Frank Felando also was a commercial fisherman for 30 years on various vessels. Frank Felando's son Tony Felando was also a fisherman & fished on the fishing vessel "Progress".
Augustine & Ante Felanda's brother Josip Felanda's son Blaz (Bob) Felando became a commercial fishermen when he immigrated to the America and a partner with Robert Felando in the small boat "Vin Mar". Blaz continued being a fisherman on several boats. Also, Bob Felado's brother Agustin Felanda married to Fjura \ Florence Stanojevic' became a commmercial fisherman on the fishing vessel "Vagabond". Josip Felanda's grandson Sveto Felanda also immigrated to America and fished out of San Pedro. Sveto became a commercial fisherman in Alaska & Washington State. He owned the fishing vessels "Fearless I", "Elka' and "Komita" out of Alaska.
In 1992 the Fisherman's Fiesta Committee of San Pedro planned to erect a Fishermen's Memorial. In 1995 a new volunteer Committee of fishermen's descendants and fishermen was formed to see this Memorial completed. On April 25. 1999 the dedication of the Fishing Memorial took place in San Pedro.